In a previous blog post I made mention of a French writer’s quote regarding dogs and humans. That writer was none other than Anatole France ( 1844-1924). Anatole received the Nobel prize for literature back in 1921 and the true quote was: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” And so it is we read now about the ill treatment of bobby calves on our NZ dairy farms, as their owner operators strive to produce higher and higher profits from ever increasing dairy herds. It was Mahatma Gandhi who wrote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Without being too simplistic, isn’t it greed for money that has become more of the main driver in terms of how we farm our animals such as sheep, pigs, hens & now cows and their calves?
A French philosopher whose name I can’t recall, once wrote that to understand fully one’s soul, you need to first love & understand a dog. I often ponder this view, as Martine & I move onwards with Kara, our new Scottish Terrier. Here at Le Petit Hotel, we look at our Juscot Scottie, her physical disability, and her ability to surmount the difficulties it presents her; and then ponder her unmistakable happiness at the thoughts which obviously flood her mind, when she anticipates being taken for a simple walk by either of us. It’s a constant reminder that the simplest things in life can & should be enjoyed.
And so it is with an American NY Times contributing writer Dana Jennings. Dana’s New York Times Health blog is an ongoing story of one man’s brave journey with cancer. It’s an exemplary human story of adaptation, courage, gratitude, resilience, and the ability of the human spirit to rise above adversity…and well well worth a read.
Lessons from a dog’s life ( See Dana’s posts about his 13 year old dog Bijou)
It’s been some months since we last reported on our ex Juscot Kennels Scottish Terrier.
Our beloved Kara has now learnt to trot slowly on her lead, so much so that she can now keep both back legs doing what they are supposed to do rather than bouncing along. Most of this significant improvement has come about by taking her for deliberately restrained walks around Sumner village, and keeping enough tension on her lead so that she has a chance to place her inward turning leg on the ground. There is no doubting the sheer pleasure she gets from these daily outings, to the point that she is very insistent that we do take her!
In much the same manner as our dearly departed Maggie, Kara has grown into a real social icebreaking individual, taking great delight in meeting incoming Le Petit Hotel guests, then rolling onto her back for attention. She is due for her little op next month so we will be taking the opportunity of having fresh Xrays taken of the impaired back leg.
As per a previous blog, our new Scottie Kara unfortunately acquired a genetic condition loosely and variously labelled as Dachshund type tibial torsion, chondrodysplasia, pes varus deformity etc.
Essentially, she has an unusual bilateral hind limb gait in which she throws her right limb inwards as she walks, which we all hope is of a mechanical nature rather than a painful one…although with Scotties you can’t easily tell. Standard Xrays have not shown precisely where the tibia is twisted.
Current thinking among the experts is that we wait and see how the condition progresses as she develops and then perhaps have a CT (computed tomographic) scan of both hind limbs carried out.
Our concern is not so much the cosmetic appearance of the disability, but whether the condition may be a future arthritic nasty for her and in that situation we would have to look at the possibility of surgery to straighten the tibia.
In the meantime there’s no one who likes going for walks more than Kara, & her true Scottie – mile a minute dashes around the confines of Le Petit Hotel, have us wondering when the inevitable crash is going to happen. She must have heard about Maggie’s big shoes, because she has developed very respectable terrier paws, assisted no doubt by the furious digging which sometimes takes place in the hotel car park.
Kara is one super lovable scottie, a real character with quite a vocabulary.
Hi folks I’m Kara – Le Petit Hotel’s new black staff member. I arrived here ex Juscot Kennels, Hamilton, in early January, after being flown via Air NZ in the dog standard crate and picked up by Bruce & Scott at Christchurch Airport. I’m adapting real fast to the busy hotel life here, and when new guests arrive at the door, I usually manage to be first to greet them, check out their shoe laces, luggage straps, and anything else that I can try out my new pearly white toofies on. If I think they are going to growl at me, I just roll over on my back and play helpless. I know Maggie left big shoes for me to fill but I’m going to do my very best. Unfortunately tho’ I’ve given Bruce & Martine a fair bit of worry already, because I inherited a strange uncommon( in Scotties) genetic problem from my parents. Essentially what happens is that my two back legs turn inwards, especially my right one, when I walk, and the effect is to make me hop when I try to run. I have to say that lots of white coated people have inspected my hind legs, they have taken lots of photos as well, and now I have just got to wait until I’m a bit older before we can have another assessment. However I know I’m in a good place here, I’ve got 24 hr TLC and I can still get from A to B very fast.
I’ve grown a lot since this day one photo was taken so keep an eye out for more pictures.
Le Petit Hotel’s well known & truly loved Scottish Terrier finally succumbed to liver cancer in the early hours of Monday 28th September 2009.
Although we had been expecting it, when the final hours came, it was truly heart wrenching stuff. As the old saying goes, she died with her boots on. I let her outside at about 2am for a little slow walk. She came back into the hotel, sat down by her water bowl for about an hour, with me beside her. About 4am I picked her up gently and made her comfortable on a rug on the floor, alerted Martine that the end was very near..and with us both beside her, after a few gasps, she gave up the fight……[ Insert: volumes of huge tears]….in her own way, her final parting gift to us…was for us not to have to call the vet.
Maggie was “huge” in spirit, determination, & courage; sensitive to all those who had the privilege of meeting her, and above all an unlimited giver to those humans she had bonded so well with. Maggie was a dignified, exceptional character, no bite dog, who took time out to smell the flowers, taste the grass, look at birds with interest, and who could always see a cat at 1000 paces. Her joy at going for walks knew no bounds until age limited her outings.
Maggie’s departure from this world has left a huge gap at Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, and irreplaceable memories with Bruce, Martine, Scott, & John. Bless her soul, Maggie was a dog apart, she lived happily with us, fought a good fight, and is at peace now.
Maggie Whitfield; a Scottish Terrier, Born 13 December 1995, Died 28 September 2009 at Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, NZ. Pedigree of Greenock Mallaig, Sire: MacPrain Mintmaster & Dam: Shortbread Briar Rose. Black with some Brindle, her breeder was Adele Willis, 97 Soleares Avenue, Christchurch, New Zealand. She will be remembered.
Sumner B & B, Le Petit Hotel, has recently launched a mobi site, which presents a concise rendition of information about the French style B & B accommodation on offer, in a suitable format for a range of PDA devices such as iPhones, Palm, Nokia and other WAP enabled handheld devices.
Le Petit Hotel’s mobi site also offers a Click to Call option.
Le Petit Hotel B & B Sumner, is ideally positioned to provide comfortable and affordable long stay accommodation for visitors wishing to bird watch on the hills and coastline of Banks Peninsula. Sumner is a choice starting point for the many easy walking tracks along the coastal cliffs and for viewing the estuary wild life habitat at Ferrymead, & also South Shore, the destination & departure point for the long range (11,000 kms) migratory Godwits who breed in Alaska each year. Satellite tracking has confirmed they fly 8 days non stop from NZ to Alaska. Email : [email protected] for more information & bird watchers special accommodation quotes.