Thursday, April 16, 2009

MARCH - Mark worked with us

I was so happy when Mark agreed to come to Spain for five weeks, and help Nigel during the week, and us at the weekends. It was great to spend time with my son, at 25 years old, mums can’t always do that! He worked his socks off bless him, and only had one or two days off during his stay. We didn’t get into any deep meaningful discussions, or anything like that, it was just lovely spending time with him. 

Below are some of the projects that Mark worked on, and also other projects that were coming to an end whilst he was here. I hope you enjoy the photographs!

This is the work process of our 'Indoor outdoor garden'

Final photographs next month!

Geri's operation

Geri had ruptured her cruciate ligament two months ago. The vet did not want to operate on her immediately, as she is 10 years old and a little over weight (aren’t we all), and therefore we played a waiting game to see if the knee would repair sufficiently on its own. Unfortunately the knee did not heal as well as they hoped, so an operation was needed to give Geri the best chance of enjoying life again.

The day the decision was made, the vet immediately set to work and x rayed the knee and hip, monitored her heart and tested her blood, for which the results were known 15 minutes later! Our vet also described in great detail the three types of operation that could be used to fix Geri’s ligament and why he was using the specific technique that he was. The appointment was made and we took her back the following week. Our young vet that translates for us, has been with us all the way, so she changed her plans to be there for the operation, so we all, including Geri understood what was going on. 

The appointment was made for 10.00am. When she got in she was given an injection to relax her we waited and chatted for half an hour, to be certain this had taken effect. I then thought we would go…………. oh no! Alan went to check on the car, as we were parked right outside for ease with Geri, and waited in the car. I thought I would be following him soon after ………. er no! The young lady that translates told me in no uncertain terms that it would be far better, and less stressful for Geri if I was with her until she was asleep! 'What about me!' I am a coward! I did not want to see my little dog, that was brought home a tiny bundle go through any discomfort. It was not up for debate, I was staying and that was it!

Wow I actually felt quite honoured to be there, FOUR vets, and a vetinary nurse, fussed around her, and chatted to her in English and Spanish telling her to be 'tranquila'. Within a minute or so her tongue was out and she was asleep. They even asked if I would like to stay and watch the operation. No thanks! Thank goodness, I could run away now! Alan and I got toast and hot chocolate to cheer ourselves up, and we had to go back at 1 pm. We arrived back to be told to come back 15 minutes later. I thought that maybe she was just coming around, and they wanted to give her a little more time…. errrrr no! When I walked in, they were taking a rather large tube out of her mouth and her tongue was still out, basically they wanted me there as she woke up too! Again so very different from a trip to the vets in England.

The main vet who lead the operation telephoned our vet Andres to ask him to check Geri the following day, for swelling etc. This was also the day that Arthur’s stitches were coming out so it was all timed very well. Alan collected Andres who was very happy with Geri, he felt no swelling and so was happy with her, and Arthur was a big brave boy, so all was good there too. Carlos however felt rather left out and lay on the floor doing his party piece 'showing his willie' to the vet, which he used to do, when he was being bathed after his castration. Andres took the opportunity to describe using Carlos, the different techniques used to castrate a male dog. So everyone was happy!

Just home!

Trying to get about
Sunbathing with CarlosHaving a cuddle
The bandages are off
Sunbathing together again
Best friends!

Arthur's no longer a 'he man'

Poor Arthur… we had decided to have him castrated as it was a far less difficult operation than having Blue sterilised. As he is such a huge great lump, plus gets so travel sick in the car, Andres the vet was happy to come here to do the operation. Of course we had to be on hand to help, and he was not a happy Mastin! He was given a sedative first of all to relax him whilst Andres set to work giving him a little trim. That was ok! Then came the time to put him to sleep, and he needed an intra muscular injection, he was not having that without a huge fight! He was so scared, and did not like the injection that he put his mouth around Alan’s arm, just to prove a point…. So Arthur got muzzled! Andres managed to get most of the injection in, and the decision was made to let him go to sleep then give him the remaining dose.

Mark, Alan and Andres lifted him onto the table and I was happy not to be around whilst the surgery was happening, and disappeared off somewhere. I was called when all the gory stuff was over and came down to look after Arthur. It was horrible when the poor big boy was coming round, Andres did explain to me that sometimes they hallucinate after the anaesthetic, and if he began howling or crying, not to be alarmed, he was not in pain but just hallucinating. He was not too bad, but was shaking badly as though he was in shock. He obviously had to have a large dose of anaesthetic being around the 50 kilo mark, and he did not really start to come round for about five hours, when he dragged himself along the floor for a while… aww bless him.  He managed to get up on his long legs and stagger out like an old drunk man. Alan spent the night down in the bottom apartment and kept Arthur inside to try and reduce the risk of any infection. They both slept soundly and Arthur was like a new dog the following morning. Alan bathed Arthur’s little bits three times a day and the incision healed perfectly.

I was very worried when the stitches were taken out a week later and we dragged Mark and Nigel to help pin Arthur down, (whilst I decided Blue needed a walk, and made a hasty exit) but the big fella hardly flinched, good boy! Phew that’s over!

Arthur gets pampered

Blue wants to be next

Getting a big kiss from Mark

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rafa's x ray

This month seems to have flown by.  We have spent a huge amount of time either working or at the vets. The month began with a trip to Cordoba vetinary hospital with Rafa the alpaca. After the tragedies that Nigel and Ginny Cobb have faced, we all felt it would be in a good idea to have an x ray done on Rafa before he left Ronda, to come up to us. When this was done there were a few little marks on his lungs, that the vet was a little unsure of. Therefore when he came up to us he was on a course of antibiotics and after the futurity we arranged a follow up x ray as a precaution.

We began preparing him, by halter training him, this was the best thing we could have done. After just a week of putting the halter on him for about 10 minutes a day, he was walking comfortably outside of the paddock without a care in the world. Cassandra his mum however, was much more concerned and watched him intently from over the fence. When the day arrived Alan managed to scoop him up, and get him into the back of the car. He did not particularly like the journey and hummed rather loudly the whole way. We found the hospital, parked up, and got Rafa out. As we walked down the road, with Rafa on his halter and lead, to the entrance. He was really causing quite a stir. As Alan and I stood outside talking, Alan told me to look at the entrance there were about eight people all standing outside the doors, some in vets 'greens' looking at us, with our dear little alpaca. Everyone was smiling, alpacas seem to encourage people to smile!

All ready to go

We were welcomed by the vet who doubled up as radiographer, and we made our way to the x ray department. In and out of doors, and up and down corridors, Rafa was a star! At one time I looked around the x ray room and I counted 12 people, all in there with us, many taking Rafa’s photograph and asking if they could touch him. As you can imagine Rafa started to get a little nervous and so the vet suggested Alan and I both put on the protective wear to help hold him, whilst he stood on the platform by the machine. That was fine by us, as long as it helped Rafa become less stressed. After the x ray was finished we all waited in the room with the computer and we were explained every nook, cranny, and any other bits too!

The x ray department

We waited outside in the sunshine with Rafa ,whilst the x ray’s were then put onto a cd for us, again Rafa caused quite a stir. Lots of people were coming up and asking to take his photograph. Many of the people there were vets in training, that would never have seen an alpaca before. There are only approximately 350 in the whole of Spain, so there are a rare sight here. We were asked if we could provide the hospital with the original x ray that was taken, so the vet could compare it. When he saw the x ray he said there was no change so that was the way his lung should look. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Waiting for the cd

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The British alpaca futurity

Alan and I had decided a few months back that we would like to attend the British Alpaca Futurity. This is the alpaca show/ competition for the elite alpacas in the country. It was held near Birmingham, so we took the opportunity to attend and advertise our holiday apartments, with our new brochures. We flew into Gatwick and spent the night in Brighton, after meeting up with our families, for a lovely meal. Then off to the dentist for me, the following morning, as I had a little problem earlier in the year. The appointment was at 8.30am, not a favourite time of the morning for me, let alone visiting my lovely dentist (I have to say that, as I think he may read this ) However we forgot to change the time on our phone and got in the car at 7.15. So we had an extra early start!

Off we went up to Birmingham and booked into the Travelodge which was home for 3 nights. We thoroughly enjoyed the futurity and were not bored for a second, seeing the different age groups and colour competitions of the alpacas. It was all rather similar to a dance competition with the grades and age groups and I enjoyed the buzz! It was great to catch up with alpaca friends, and we also made new friends from Australia, who were there simply for the show, then off to Germany, for a competition the following week.

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was to meet up with my very good friend Ian. Ian and I were brought up like brother and sister, his mum was my dear Auntie Mabel. Ian and his family live very close to where we were so we arranged to meet up for a meal. I had a really lovely evening and I hope we did not bore Alan and Julie too much as we reminisced. What a lovely night!

The second highlight for me was the fact that Mark was coming back with us for 5 long weeks. He was working for Nigel during the week, and for us at the weekend. How was he going to cope! Would he get up in the morning, or would it be like getting him up for school again? Would he run out of cigarettes and be really grumpy? Plus would he miss his girlfriend so much he would want to go home early? All this to consider, but his mum was having him to herself for five whole weeks…. well if he could cope he in the middle of nowhere!

Thanks Mark and Louise

To enable us to go to the futurity Alan’s auntie and uncle came out to chill for a few days and to baby sit all our animals. As I had said in the previous blog, we all had a great barbeque in beautiful weather for their first day here. Louise was found every morning in her pyjamas, and with a cuppa in her hand, feeding the alpacas. We basically left them to it, whilst we returned to the UK for a quick break. All the animals were spoilt rotten I'm sure. I loved their email of thanks to us after they returned home. They said how nice it was to 'Step off the planet for a while!'  I think that sums up perfectly where we live.