Harry is a Border Terrier. He was born in July 2000, and was named after Harry Potter. His pedigree name is Bramble Keeper. He enjoys walking, and playing games with golf balls and sticks and doing this blog.
Harry went to the vet today and was X-Rayed and had an Ultra Sound Scan. Everything now makes sense: his difficulty breathing, being so slow on very short walks, the hollow coughing and sickness, the limping, and swollen tummy. He is not very well at all. It is not just his heart but also his liver and lungs. The change has become noticeable over the last week. Tumours have spread. It is beyond treatment I'm afraid.
Harry went on a nice walk this morning. He met some new dogs including one that the owners thought was going to be naughty and jump. But he didn't jump so they went away very happy with their young dog. Harry also kicked up lots of fallen leaves, and smelled lots of interesting smells. He is now asleep and could be reliving the highlights in dreamland.
Like Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility. there are places where it is hard to see where the living room rug begins and Harry ends. The power of the rug grows with age, and one day Harry may be hidden completely.
Sometimes he can be a little slow. At one point I realised he was no longer following me and went back and found him laying down in the sun, next to a tree stump - as though that was the most natural thing in the world to do.
So I said 'Come on Harry' and encouraged him to walk further.
The picture shows him bright eyed and ready to follow a few moments later.
In the mornng I had to entice Harry to keep going over quite a short walk. He just wanted to be back home fast asleep.
In the afternoon everything had changed. He might dawdle for a short while, sniffing a patch of particular interest, but then the next he put in a sprint of joyful speed - running is such a joy to a dog.
A lot of new cats have moved into the neighbourhood recently. We now have two cats - not just the one Harry has known for years.
The new cat dashes around madly and often goes up the chimney.
A lady over the way had three kittens left on her front door step which have now grown up. So Harry spends more time on cat duty in our garden than ever before. He will get excited and bark at cats that don't belong, and sometimes by mistake even barks at cats that do.
From little noises uttered in sleep - half barks - it appears that there are cats there too - in dreamland.
A strange thing happened the other day. Harry and me were out walking when we realised we had lost Harry's lead (leash in US parlance).
I asked a couple with their dog if they had seen a red lead.
They said they had not, but they too had lost their dog lead and were looking for it, and they'd never ever lost a dog lead before. (I must admit we have, several times.)
Later that day my wife went to a friend's house where there were two dogs near each other tethered with leads. A little while later the dogs were heard and seen bounding round the house. Both had managed to chew through each other's lead.
We drove Harry down to Honey Bottom Kennels, between Steventon and Hanney, for his annual strip and trim. Being a border terrier most of his old fur just pulls out this time of year to reveal the newer sleeker Harry underneath. He now looks very smart.
Harry will very soon ruin a good football but while a football lasts it provides Harry lots of fun and games. We got Harry this ball for £1 a couple of days ago, and he never tires of playing with it - as the video shows.
Harry started today by eating Pushkin's special diet food - prescribed for cats with overactive thyroid gland. I don't think it did him any harm. I just cut back on his Baker's dog food as an antidote.
Harry then went for a walk over the other side of the River Thames, chasing sticks, until we came across a lost and broken dogs' toy. It looked up with sad entreating eyes saying "Be my friend! Play with me!"
But Harry just looked the other way.
I'm sure there will be other dogs that will be interested.
Ugly notices have appeared all along the Back Street saying "Area Under Surveillance - £50 penalty for dog fouling."
Most dog owners are very conscientious in picking up their own dog's crap nowadays. But apparently there is one particular dog owner that is letting the side down.
There is a BBC Radio 4 programme called The Manifesto where people came up with ideas to make their area better. When it came from Bridport in Dorset last week the second favorite idea was "anybody walking a dog should pick up any dog crap they pass."
Don't let your felllow creatures down. Clear up after yourself. Worse thing is the plastic that comes with alcohol cans. I have seen it strangling a duck.
There was unexpected snow last Sunday and again today.
My wife has started trying to do joint dog walks with a friend, but noticed that Harry has started sulking when they spend a long time talking together. My wife wonders if this could be an old age thing. I think sulking is more a babyish thing.
Our daughter returned home this week bringing her kitten cat. The ironing board causes Harry to worry at the best of times, but this morning the kitten cat tried leaping onto the ironing board, and knocked it over. The kitten cat ran upstairs and Harry crept very very slowly out of the kitchen, at half his normal height, with tail between legs.
On her return, our daughter said that Harry must have been slimming. But he has not been on a deliberate diet. I think we are all looking slimmer since she was last here - at Christmas.
It is Mothering Sunday (LAERTARE SUNDAY) here in the UK. The day when humans traditionally give daffodils and cards to mums
Harry hardly knew his real mother. All we can tell from looking at his Certificate of Pedigree is that she was called Listener Girl. That was her pedigree name and may have differed from what they called her on the farm. If Harry could send her something nice it would probably not be a daffodil or card. It would be far better to send a nice stick. Harry could have got his love of chasing sticks from his mother, or maybe his father - quite possibly both.
It is not every day that a female dog rolls on its back in front of Harry wagging her tail. Harry did sniff her to make sure she was OK, as any dog would. When she got up still wagging her tail Harry sniffed her once more before the owner led her away in the other direction.
I took this picture in the Albert Park earlier today. Harry's attention was taken by something but I could not see what. He met quite a few dogs on the way, some familiar some not. A grey hound kept wanting to see him but the owner pulled it away from us, maybe worried about the encounter. We played catch stick for a bit then I put Harry on the lead as we approached some small children not because Harry is dangerous but because they or the parent might worry. You never know. Later he ran excitedly catching me up on a couple of occasions when he had got left behind. When we got home there was no food to be had and I went out to get him a new box of dog food sachets. He skidded on the floor running to greet me. Now he is fast asleep, dreaming doggy dreams, sighing doggy sighs.
Harry's dad and mum lived on a farm about ten miles from Stanstead Airport.
His dad was a working dog who followed his owner round the farm.
As we drove back home with the puppy from the farm near Stanstead Airport we tried out various names, and it was Harry that stuck. For one reason, our children liked the Harry Potter books, but for another our new puppy's dad was called Harry round the farm.
Harry sometimes wears an overcoat when it gets very cold - like last week - but I'm not sure he really needs it.
The other dog is a Chinese Crested dog, who has no natural coat, and so definitely needs an overcoat.