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46. Traveling

Sir Oliver's Granny

We had to travel to visit family and we decided that it was a great moment to introduce a different home to sir Oliver. So far he only has been in our home and only a few people came over to see him, therefore it was time to expand his world, and see how easy he is with traveling.

The day we took him home things were quite confusing for him. All of a sudden he was with strangers and in a car. Then we travelled a bit by car with sir Oliver all within a 10 to 15 minute travel time. We really didn’t know how he is on longer car trips.

Last week at the vet’s we bought some car sickness pills. So an hour before traveling we gave him the pill with a bit of food. I took him for his afternoon walk while the rest of my family packed the car. It’s almost like traveling with a baby. We took his dog bed, blanket, toys, food bowls and food, his leash and harness. My daughter was already joking that she needed a diaper bag for all sir Oliver’s stuff.

After exactly an hour that sir Oliver had taken the pill we left for an hour and 15 minute drive. On the way there he wasn’t able to sit in a comfortable way and he was panting and trembling a lot. Even though he did decide to lay down after a while. I knew he wasn’t car sick, but he isn’t used to long car drives either. He’s never trained as a pup to be in a car and to learn to enjoy it.

When we arrived we let him out on a lawn next to the parking lot, to make sure he would not pee in the house out of anxiety or being overly excited. Just to be sure he would not do any thing on the wooden floor of my family. The first time I brought my first kitten home, he climbed the lace curtains and basically destroyed them. So that memory had come up, now I was bringing home my daughter’s dog. Even though I knew nothing bad could really happen.

Sir Oliver was really relaxed in this new environment, he already knew the smell of the family that lives there, maybe that helped. After exploring the entire penthouse he slept on his dog bed and ate his dinner like normal. We took him for his evening walk in this unknown city, sir Oliver was really excited to be able to sniff new scents, following new trails and he was pulling the leash as never before.

I did not do the stop and stare to the sky method, he is doing very well on it at home, now he was just so overwhelmed with new things and excited that I didn’t want to stop after each few steps we did.

An hour before we thought we would leave we gave sir Oliver his car sickness pill, to make sure his car drive back home would be as nice or nicer than on the way there. With again a bit of food he had no problems taking the pill. And it almost seemed that he got a picture of what was going to happen. He jumped into the elevator and didn’t seem surprised about the feeling of going down. He almost jumped into the car as if he new what the drill was, but the car is a bit too high for a Beagle.

On the way back he didn’t pant and almost no trembling, he slept in between my daughter and I in the back seat. I really would love it if traveling by car would not be a problem and be able to take him to places.

After coming home we went straight onto his night walk. When finally home, he went to bed in his own dog bed with my daughter and he slept through the entire night and was even a bit sleepy the next morning. Although he had been having fun, it was as well a lot of new experiences he had gone through. I really enjoyed bringing him along and gradually expose him to more and more things. Sir Oliver is quite a social dog, so he deserves it to expand his world step by step. And we expand with him on his and our journey to life.

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45. Vaccination time

Sir Oliver's Granny

Today we went to see the vet with sir Oliver to get his annual vaccine. A combination shot that contains: Parvo inactivated, Parvo live, liver disease and leptospirosis, that should prevent him from getting really sick. I Googled vaccines for dogs, to reassure myself that most dogs will not get really bad reactions from the vaccine. As with human vaccines there are large groups for and large groups against it. The information available is most often not enough to really make a well balanced choice, a choice not based in fear nor ignorance, which leaves me still a bit indecisive. And to fill that void of knowing, we did get sir Oliver his shot today.

Sir Oliver has been having his vaccinations throughout his entire life, in the laboratory and outside. He never has become dangerously sick of it, so that made me decide to vaccinate. Last week we postponed it, since sir Oliver had diarrhea. His stool has been solid for over 5 days now and another examination of the vet told us that his health is fine.

We had some questions about other things for the vet as well, so she asked us if we wanted to do the shot first or the questions. We choose the questions first, since we had no idea how sir Oliver would react to getting a shot.

Since we are going to travel by car for over an hour this weekend, we wanted to buy some anti-nausea tablets and ask if that is a good idea. We do not know if sir Oliver has car sickness, but when finding that out during our travel, it will be too late to medicate him. The vet agreed that it is best to prevent the nausea and give him a tablet an hour for departure. It also gives me some peace of mind, knowing that he at least will not become nauseous. Whether he will enjoy the ride, that is still questionable.

Another question we had was about sir Oliver, is rubbing himself against fences and walls when walking outside. He isn’t doing it always, but on some walks it seems he has to rub every fence, and we mostly walk by gardens with fences. Lucky enough for us he did it as well inside the vet’s practice, so she could observe how he rubs his shoulder first and then his first part of his back. Doing this very slowly and pressing himself very firm against the fence, wall or sometimes hedges.

My idea was that it is a way to release stress. Outside there are many city noises and new things that can be overwhelming from time to time. Sir Oliver seems to be immune for those noises, although his hearing is perfectly fine. So who knows, maybe it is his own reward after blocking out the noises to get himself a positive reward. The vet says that sir Oliver enjoys the rubbing, due to his facial expression. So stress might be one of the dimensions together with rubbing his scent on the fences, or taking other scents with him, or not being comfortable with the harness to simply enjoying the rub.

When she saw sir Oliver rubbing himself, she said he is one of a kind, a funny dog how he rubs himself. Well we do call him the clown, and there are reasons for that… At least it is not something to really worry about, unless he becomes obsessive with it.

So after our question time, I lifted sir Oliver onto the table, to get his shot. He had been more nervous than the 2 other times we went to the vet’s practice. I was almost certain that he felt our energy of: today is the day, and our not yet clear stance with vaccinations. It was not that I was noticeable nervous, though in the background I could feel there was a bit of energy going on. I tried to stabilize myself for the sake of sir Oliver.

He reacted to the shot just as we and the vet had expected, he simply stood there and let the vet do whatever needed to be done. She took a small needle which would cause less pain, just in case he would not visibly react to it.

In a year we have to go back for sir Oliver’s next shot. Lets see who I am within the whole vaccination point next year. A whole year to prepare and investigate, to figure out what is best for sir Oliver and his surroundings.