Hello! I’m Ernie and i’m 10 (well, in my body, not in my brain!) I have just arrived to stay in a fab foster home with Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation because my previous guardian was unable to keep me. I’m not at my best at the moment and needed to be moved quickly to get the help I need which is why I have gone to a foster space rather than straight to a permanent new home which will take more time to arrange to make sure it is exactly the right spot for me. I’ve had a couple of weeks to settle in and am now feeling well enough to tell you a bit more about myself and the things that Aunty Lisa has said we are going to work on together.

So – this is me snoooooooozing away in a mountain of blankets:

I have perfected the sweet, gorgeous older boy look to conceal my inner mischief-maker, but it’s getting harder to contain now i’m feeling a bit better, so make the most of this photo!

You can see I’m not quite looking at my best – and this is after my big day out at the vets for my MOT!! I had to have something called an anaesthetic because there was so much to sort out and it would have been very stressful and painful for it all to be done when I was awake and when I woke up I was like new but didn’t know a thing about what had gone on! The little shaved patch on back leg is where I had my drip put in (I was worried about having it in my front legs and so Aunty Lisa helped the vets to get me settled and pop it in my back leg instead which was much nicer) and you can see my eyes still have a lot of staining around them where they were very weepy and icky (more on this in a bit).

The vet said it was a good job I was asleep because there were a long list of things to look at! My coat was in a dreadful state with lots of matts, grass seeds in the fur on my legs and paws (which can be very dangerous if they penetrate the skin and it’s one of the reasons grooming is so important) and worse still, poo matted around my bottom – and nobody needs that, so the vets clipped everything off for me and now I feel amazing. My ears were also really dirty and uncomfortable and they were properly flushed and cleaned and the vet said my anal glands were very disgusting indeed and were part of the reason I must have been feeling so yucky. The vet also took some xrays of my back legs because I have some pain and mobility issues, but there isn’t anything that wouldn’t be expected in a dog of my age but I need some good pain relief and physio and hopefully I’ll be moving much better very soon. My teeth have had a clean and a thorough check as I was having problems eating on one side (but all good and the physio will help with any stiffness in my neck and jaw which might be affecting my eating). I have cataracts coming and my vision is a bit impaired but nothing more serious and the nasty weepiness around them is probably all related to diet (like the itchiness I struggle with elsewhere too and those horrendous anal glands) so with a good diet plan and the right supplements, then over the next few weeks and months I should start to feel a lot better indeed. The good news is my heart, liver and kidneys and things are all in good shape – I could have told the vet that as I am awesome and whilst I might be 10 in theory, in my head I am definitely only 2!

So I had a full MOT and now have a plan to get me back to tip top shape physically: a special diet which is going to start testing which things make me feel icky and itchy; some ongoing pain relief to help my sorely bits (and I will need this forever now, but that’s not surprising given i’m just on the other side of middle age)!; a carefully planned set of supplements to help get my insides feeling fabulous and to provide some additional support for my joints and skin; and a physio plan to help me get rid of the stiffness that has crept in, shift the pounds I shouldn’t be carrying (and there are quite a few of those, i’m just over 13kg and I should really only be somewhere between 9 and 10), and build my strength, flexibility and stamina. I might need a nap now actually, having written all of that down.

But physical health is only one part of my plan. I am, apparently, a VERY lovely boy indeed and a pleasure to be around, but whilst I am pretty much no trouble to anyone, I don’t feel quite as happy and content as I should do. There are things which worry me and because I try to be really good, these haven’t been recognised and I’ve had to do a lot of things that I find hard. Now i’m getting something called ‘choice’ and I have taken to my new routine wonderfully! There are two really big areas which will really help me feel as amazing in my head as I’m going to in my body….

  1. Helping me feel really relaxed about being touched for things like grooming, looking after my teeth and toes and going to the vets (Aunty Lisa calls these caregiving activities)
  2. Helping me feel much less sensitive to noises that I hear. Some just make me bark, but others make me really distressed.

Aunty Lisa has explained that physical health and feeling happy and relaxed are really closely linked and I have to say, I already feel happier and this is because I am in less pain and discomfort. This has even reduced how many noises I react to – amazing, isn’t it? Apparently we need to do some ‘actual work’ on these things too – not sure what this is yet, but i’m pretty sure it comes with treats, so that’s fine, but we are going to take things nice and steadily at a pace i’m happy with.

So, I’ve seen Aunty Lisa a couple of times already and me and my foster parents now have lots of exercises for us to do together to help me feel relaxed about being groomed (which is a big issue for me as I was so uncomfortable and also an urgent priority as we need to do this before my coat grows back!) and also to start me off on my physio. These exercises also help us to get to know each other too.

My foster parents actually know quite a lot of stuff (they have looked after a very special dog for Aunty Lisa before) but are still learning some new things as well because apparently every dog is different and my plan has to be tailored exactly to me! That’s because I’m special – have I mentioned that?! But I just like the magic pot of treats, even though Aunty Lisa made them really, really small because I am apparently very overweight and that isn’t helping my pain either and I am on a DIET. But they are super tasty and the smaller they are the more I get, so I think I might be being duped into thinking it’s a good thing!

My treats have to be carefully selected to go with my special food plan and not only that, Aunty Lisa says my dinners have to go in some special toys so that I get lots of gentle exercise through the day rather than just sitting and getting stiff and teaching my foster parents to bring me little snacks to my bed (I say Aunty Lisa is a pest – I like training my foster parents and they are very good students). But it is actually quite good fun getting more things to do during the day and I can now mix up my dinner games with my just for fun toy games AND still have snoozes and snuggles! Pretty perfect I think.

So that’s it for today, I hope you’ll come back and read some more about me as we work through my plan over the next few weeks.

I do need a few more activities to put my dinners in – if you could help, I would be really grateful and there is a list to choose from on my main page here: