Rehabilitation

It’s three weeks since Rufus hurt his knee and two since the operation to mend him. Both the vet and I are happy with the progress he’s making, although I’m still careful about how much exercise, and what kind of activities he can do. We’ve been building up the amount of time he’s been out walking over the last week or so, to the point where he managed just over 50 minutes today.

I need to keep his weight in check as his exercise regime means he could add on the pounds which would add to the stress on his recovering knee. At the suggestion of the vet, I’ve replaced most of Rufus’ treat snacks with carrot sticks! Initially Rufus was hesitant but rather than explain to him the health benefits of eating unprocessed, natural vegetables I made a huge fuss and turned the carrot stick into the most amazing treat ever invented. It’s worked and I now have a carrot stick addict to look after.

I still have to keep him on the lead for large parts of our walks as the worst thing that could happen right now is that he disturbs another rabbit and tries┬áto chase it down, or that he runs off and stumbles over a hidden dip. Today, I let him off the lead for several short spells where I could see the terrain. It was great to see him jog, although I was quick to put the lead back on when I saw his nose rise as he found a new and exciting scent. I know the signs and sure enough, he’d detected something in the ferns that had expired. We managed to avoid that one, only disturbing a few crows as we went past.

Rufus is dozing on the sofa now. He slipped as he jumped up into the car and it may have jarred his knee a bit as he was limping as we climbed the steps to the house. It may just be a bit of stiffness after the car journey home. I’m confident it will be forgotten once dinner is served.

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High Tide

The tide on Whiteford beach is scary. One minute the water is so far away that I can barely make out the breakers, and the next they spray is covering my glasses with a thin coat of salt. I’ve watched it race towards the shore in a continuous roll, I’ve felt it snap at my heels as I’ve retreated from it and I’ve walked out to the lighthouse when it’s been at its lowest. The prospect of a higher than usual (I’d read it would be the highest for 18 years, which is a lunar cycle) Spring tide this morning eased the decision on where to take Rufus for his weekend walk.

We left the house in the dark and reached the car park near Cwm Ivy before the sun had come up. By the time we’d walked through the woods and onto the beach, a beautiful morning was shaping up. The sea was choppy and the tide was fully in. It was the highest I’ve ever seen there, with the waves undercutting of the dunes in places. We walked along a narrow strip of sand between dune and sea until the waves barred the way, when we climbed up onto the tops of the dunes and made our way across the headland to the opposite side.

Out of the wind it was warm as the sun rose, not like a February morning at all. Walking in sand is tiring but great exercise and we had plenty of that as we made our way to the tip of the headland. Once out of the shelter, the wind picked up again and it was time to don gloves and hat and do up the coat. Rufus, with his permanent fur coat was happy to have a cooling breeze again.

We’d spent less than an hour in the dunes but already the tide had receded significantly. The lighthouse was still surrounded by the sea and on its metal skeleton, cormorants perched, warming in the sun. On the beach, lapwings and sandpipers scurried to and fro with the incoming and outgoing waves. As we walked back along the beach, a huge flock of sandpipers flew low over the sea. There must have been more than 100 of them flying parallel to the shore.

There was a lot of rubbish on the high water mark; most of it seemed to be plastic and I wished I’d brought a bag to put it in. I grabbed a tangle of plastic fishing line, which I brought home to dispose of. I’ve seen first hand what that can do and it’s not pleasant. One of the items washed up was an old football. It seemed to be a decent one, with stitched panels, and there was no sign of damage. It was just a little deflated (well, you would be too if you’d been abandoned on the beach). I kicked it, Rufus chased it and there followed a new form of football; one in which use of the mouth was allowed. I tried explaining to Rufus the rules of the game, but he just ran off and dared me to get the ball off him. He carried the ball for quite a while – unusual for him – and only dropped it when lured by the tempting aroma of some long dead aquatic creature. So I brought it home and it’s now in the back garden.

By now, the tide had all but disappeared and where earlier we were hugging the sand dunes, now we were able to range across the sand. But somehow, we’d done more than 5 miles, so it was time to head back to the car. Wet paws collected much sand as we crossed the dunes again and soon we were on the long uphill drag to the car park. A deep puddle solved the sandy paws issue and we were both grateful to reach the car.

Snoring occurred in the car on the way home, but I would not betray our friendship by saying from whom the snoring came.

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