Hounds and Hooves Norfolk is one year old!
I can’t actually believe I am writing this blog, it seems so surreal that I should be saying that my little business has been running for 12 whole months!
I have seen and worked through all four seasons and have loved each and every one of them, for different reasons! I have watched puppies grow up from 8 weeks to now over a year old! I have learnt so much and have met some amazing dogs and owners a long the way!
First, some puppy- adult comparison photos (because we all love a puppy!) I have been lucky enough to help ‘raise’ 5 puppies this year, transformations below 🙂
I thought I would write a little bit about my experience of my first year as a dog walker, as a source of information (and laughter/despair probably!) for customers, friends, family and even other dog walkers/ potential dog walkers.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this business. All I knew was that I adored dogs and loved spending time with them and, after 7 years of sitting in an office after graduating from university, I desperately needed a change and to work within an industry or environment that I was truly passionate about.
I took the plunge at the end of August last year and luckily it didn’t take too long for me to start getting customers. I soon learnt though that my expectations definitely didn’t quite live up to reality 😉
I’m afraid (and please don’t take offence customers as I love all of my ‘charges’ very much, even the naughty ones 😉 ) before starting out, I had visions of me walking 3 perfectly behaved dogs all at once, visions of us all serenely floating about the countryside in a calm, civilised and obedient manner. Unfortunately, I was basing this expectation on my experience with my own, impeccably behaved and trained gun dog.
What actually happened was that I soon learnt that not everyone’s dog walks perfectly to heel at all times and has perfect recall. Not everyone’s dog will sit politely whilst you pick up poo, wait at junctions, put their lead on etc. Not everyone’s dog will leave other, unfamiliar dogs alone when you tell them to, nor will they sit patiently and wait for you to tell them when to get in and out of the car. Therefore, the reality was often me giving the general public around areas that I walk a good chuckle, with me being hauled down the road by groups of dogs, hauled about whilst trying to pick up poo, frantically chasing dogs to get them back on their leads before we passed other dogs etc. I was often a fraught, sweaty mess, with dog/s looking very pleased with themselves as a result!
Thankfully, a few months in, through a lot of hard work, determination and building up a relationship/ routine with the dogs did order start to restore and it slowly started to feel like I had originally pictured it! (Though I am still a fraught, sweaty mess some days :-p)
I don’t really know where to start or what to say about the dogs really (I have so much to say, we would be here until Christmas!) I honestly never expected to love and care for other people’s dogs the way I do. In 12 months I have built up bonds and relationships with so many utterly wonderful and gorgeous dogs, they honestly have all got their own little personalities, which I have come to know so well. They are kind, funny, clever and never, ever fail to make me smile. It’s amazing how each and every one of them has grown so familiar with myself and the routine that comes with me/ our little groups. They all know the sound of my car and are nearly always turning themselves inside out with excitement when I arrive. They all know exactly where they sit/ go in the car and promptly place themselves there(!) They know their playmates, who they greet with the same level of excitement now as they did the first time they all met! They all know to ‘wait’ patiently whilst I get them out of the car or pick up poo and they know to ‘sit’ before I let them off their leads.
I now love the feeling of comfort and familiarity that I get when I am around them, a bit like putting on a pair of old, comfy slippers. I love how often we get to explore some of the most beautiful and isolated walking routes/ countryside in Norfolk and how we all get to experience the changes in season on these routes throughout the year.
I started at the end of summer, and it was a typical ‘Indian’ summer in that the September saw some pretty hot weather, so I was lucky enough to have my first month of work in the blazing warmth and sunshine.
Autumn descended and I must say it was lovely seeing it unfold, watching all the leaves change colours and fall, that lovely autumn smell that I can’t quite define, but is a bit of a mixture of earth/ leaves and bonfires. Walking the streets and seeing all of the houses decorated for Halloween! It was nice to have some cooler days too so the dogs didn’t get so hot running around!
Then came Winter. I was incredibly fortunate in that last winter really wasn’t very bad at all. It was exceptionally dry and warm. Apart from most of the walking routes being like mud baths by the end of November, winter really wasn’t too bad and it was lovely having the build up to Christmas with the dogs, walking past homes all lit up and decorated for Christmas, and of course, it was nice to finally have some time off over the Christmas period! By the time February was upon us though, I was fed up of the cold and mud, and longed for…
Spring..which was so warmly received, the air getting warmer, the evenings getting lighter and nature springing its way back into our lives. Flowers, leaves and shrubs slowly started to emerge again, lambs were leaping about the fields on some of my more rural routes and the dogs were enjoying not having to be wiped/ hosed down after every walk due to the mud!
And then along came summer again and here we are! I would just like to say, thank you so much to all of my customers, all of the people that have liked and followed the Facebook page and to everyone that has ever promoted/ recommended me, it really is so, so appreciated.
A FEW COMMON DOGGY ILLNESSES
Hello, and welcome to my first blog 🙂
I thought I would start a weekly blog for customers, potential customers or just the general ‘doggy’ public! I will try and make them as helpful, fun and as informative as I can. If you would like any particular topic or subject blogged about, please feel free to email me at Houndsandhoovesnorfolk@hotmail.com
I have decided to kick off with the not so nice subject of 3 common canine illnesses in the UK. This blog was inspired by the, seemingly prevalent cases of illnesses such as Parvovirus at the moment.
We all love our furry friends and it can be very worrying to hear of cases of harmful diseases occurring locally, however there is a lot that can be done to prevent your furry friends from becoming ill; please read on for more information….
This highly contagious virus can unfortunately take hold quite quickly, with infected dogs displaying symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and acute vomiting and diarrhoea (the latter of which can sometimes be bloody)
This virus can be easily spread by any person, animal or object that comes in to contact with an infected dogs faeces and it can unfortunately live on surfaces and inanimate objects such as food and water bowls for months.
You can greatly lessen the risk of your dog contracting Parvovirus by ensuring that your puppy/ dog is properly vaccinated and is kept up to date with it’s vaccinations.
Until your puppy or dog has received all of its necessary vaccinations, avoid areas that are likely to be populated with unvaccinated dogs, such as parks and public footpaths.
If you have an unvaccinated puppy or dog, and regularly come into contact with other, unfamiliar dogs, always ensure you change your clothes and shoes before interacting with your puppy or dog again.
If your dog or puppy displays any of the above symptoms, get them to your vets to get checked out ASAP.
Parvovirus is usually treated with a mix of fluids through drips, antibiotics and probiotics.
Letting dogs drink out of a puddle, pond or lake on a hot day is something a lot of dog owners are guilty of, however, carrying fresh drinking water and a small travel bowl is definitely safer all round.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection, caused by the bacteria in the urine of wild rats and also pigs and cattle. It can make a dog very unwell and is mostly caught through dogs drinking out of infected puddles and ponds etc.
Symptoms include (but are not limited to) sore muscles and a reluctance to move, a lack of appetite, shivering and sudden fever and illness.
You can lessen the probability of your canine friend becoming infected with the disease by ensuring that your puppy or dog receives its Leptospirosis vaccine (please note, the vaccine will not cover all strains and therefore will not totally eliminate the risk of infection) and also by ensuring you don’t let your dog drink out of any puddles/ stagnant water.
Also, be aware that humans can also contract this infection from both contaminated animals and water.
The treatment for Leptospirosis is usually treated with a course of antibiotics.
Highly infectious and contagious, Kennel Cough is an airborne disease, usually contracted in densely populated doggy areas such as a dog show or boarding kennels.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough include (but are not limited to) a dry, hacking cough, a loss of appetite and nasal discharge.
To lessen the risk of your furry friend contracting Kennel Cough, it is important that they receive their Kennel Cough vaccination and if they are unvaccinated, avoid densely populated doggy areas until they are.
The treatment for Kennel Cough is usually rest, a course of antibiotics if needed and even cough medicine!
I hope this blog has been informative and has provided a quick overview of some of the preventative measures and symptoms of these horrible illnesses.
For more information, please take a look at my sources below
Thank you for reading 🙂