In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.
It's crazy how ones pet can make you feel so helpless. All dogs have a relatively short life span with some breeds living longer then others, but on the whole Labradors usually live to around 15 or 16. When we had to have Judy put to sleep she was just 13, same age as Jade is now, but she had severe back problems and went off her legs so the kindest thing to do for Judy was to let her go. So last night when Jade had a sudden collapse Ian and I thought the worse. At first it appeared that she had slipped on the wooden flooring and tweaked her back but it soon became apparent that all was not well. We tried to get her up and she did manage to stagger drunkenly onto her bed but then flopped down unceremoniously and refused to move. She looked so very uncomfortable but no amount of cajoling could make her change her position. First thing I did was phone our daughter Christine. She is a fully qualified veterinary nurse and her advice was to give her a Tramadol pain killer in case she had jarred her back and then to keep her as quiet as possible. So we let her be and settled down to watch the second part of Silent Witness. Suddenly Jade shot up and tried desperately to head for the back of the boat. In doing so she kept bouncing off the kitchen cupboards trying in vain to keep her balance. In her hurry to get off the boat she tried to leap from the short pontoon onto the bank but fell to the right and nearly went head first into the water. Her front legs and left hind got onto the grass but her right hind ended up fully submerged. I was hot on her tail and managed to grab hold and then steady her while she 'toileted' and then somehow got her back onto the boat and back onto her bedding. We went to bed feeling very apprehensive as to what we would find when we awoke the next morning. So this morning, when Ian got up to check on her, he was very relieved to see her in a more comfortable position but as she lifted her head he noticed a definite tilt to the right. She seemed a little steadier but still had the tendency to wobble when standing up . My immediate thoughts were she's had a stroke! I phoned the vets as soon as they opened and by 9.40am we were outside Vets4Pets in Eastwood. We were seen virtually straight away by Karen and after a thorough examination she ruled out a stroke but instead gave us two other alternatives. It was either the start of a brain tumour ( God forbid ) or more likely the possibility of a condition called Vestibular Disease. an infection of the middle ear. Jade also presented with a raised temperature so a 2 week coarse of antibiotics were prescribed. No further appointment was made but we were to return immediately if Jade got worse. So we are now £66 lighter but hopefully have a positive diagnosis. To us Jade is priceless. No matter what mood we are in she always makes us feel better. It's up to us to thank her for her complete and utter devotion so paying out any amount of money to see her right is the least that we can do.