“How’s the auld mannie?” A question I am asked often when Eivor and Pearl are zooming around the far end of the beach.
“He’s taking it a lot easier these days,” I’ll say. “He goes on a separate walk during the week, so he has more energy when we are walking a bit further afield.”
“Oh, you mean like an auld mannie walk?”
“Yes, that’s nice way of putting it.”
I enjoy the auld mannie walks with Seamus. It is a leisurely stroll, usually along the beach. He sometimes bursts into a canter, just for the fun of it. When I watch him stride out and glide over the sand I am so grateful he can still do this at his age. He is thirteen years old now and all bar one of his pals have passed away.
Many of our friends who have sighthounds younger than Seamus can no longer take them out for a walk. They sleep most of the day, eat, do their business in the garden and sleep again.
Seamus is still full of life. The vet was very pleased with his latest check-up. He is not on any medication, eats a healthy natural diet and wears a magnetic collar to support his joints.
There have been times it looked doubtful whether he would be able to stay medication free and arthritis free in old age.
When he was five years old he was zooming around a field with one of his lurcher pals at forty miles an hour when we heard an almighty scream. Seamus’ right hind leg was stuck in a mole hill. He had burst blood vessels and torn ligaments in his hock.
It was a long slow road to recovery. After a week’s rest he was allowed three five-minute walks a day and we had to build him up very gradually over an eight-month period. He tried to hop on three legs and was reluctant to put any weight on the injured leg.
We decided on a programme of hydrotherapy to build up his fitness without having to carry any weight. He was a strong swimmer and loved the sessions. We started out twice a week, then once a week, once a fortnight, once a month, every other month and so on and kept it up a little longer for good measure.
He made a full recovery and had strengthened the supporting muscles through swimming. Ever since then, he goes in the water when his legs feel tired. He will walk into the sea, into lochs and streams. His favourite loch is the green loch. The minerals in the water seem to really help him.
There was another occasion three years ago when he sustained a more mysterious injury. He was standing on the sand bar, looking out over the sea, when his hind legs suddenly collapsed underneath him. He could not get up and seemed paralysed.
A couple walking their dog saw what happened and rushed over. “One of our neighbours has a wheelbarrow,” said the woman. “I’ll ask him to come out here and help bring your dog to the car park. I’ll drive my car right up to the path and I’ll take you to the vet.” Her husband waited with me, Ruby and Seamus.
The vet was not sure what had caused the paralysis. The x-ray did not show anything abnormal. One possible explanation was a blood clot on the spine. It was important he moved as little as possible and the vet insisted on giving us a lift home.
Seamus had to stay as still as possible and rest in one room. I had to support him with a towel sling for going to the toilet and that was the only movement allowed. We said a lot of prayers, played him a lot of Mozart and the vet was happy with his progress.
The kind people who had come to help were all keen gardeners. I bought them some pansies and went over to thank them for their help. I also planted some pansies in our own garden out of gratitude and to remind me of those who helped Seamus in his recovery. The vet loves chocolate and she got a nice box of those.
Seamus was back to normal within a month. He went on to climb many crags and hills and had many more runs on the beach.
When I watch him stroll on his auld mannie walk without a care in the world there is so much to be grateful for.
With much love to you all,
Daily Prompt: Stroll