Recovery

Rufus continues his recovery and so do I. My paranoia about his every little cough or weary look is slowly subsiding; it helps that I am reminding myself that for every little cough, there is also a tail wagging run to investigate some irresistible aroma and for every weary look, there is a bark as a result of me being too slow to throw the squeaky bone for him to chase. And so while I don’t think things are quite back to normal yet – he’s still on steroids, for example – we are getting much closer.

Today was about ‘normal’. In the house of Rufus, normal is a subjective word. Normal is waking me up to go out in the garden while it is still dark. Normal is waking me up again because, despite it being the weekend, we still need to get up at 6am for breakfast. So I decided that is things were back to normal, then we’d go with it. Normal, for a sunny Saturday morning, would be a hill. Now, I know Rufus still needs to work up his fitness to tackle a proper hill but I had a small hill in mind that I knew he would be able to cope with and that would offer us fine views and the option to walk on good ground.

Mynydd Carn Llechart is part of the moorland to the north of Swansea and it’s a part of the world we’ve visited and I’ve written about many times. After an initial few metres of climb away from the road, the slope is gentle and there are several tracks to follow. The one we usually use curves around the highest point of the hill until it reaches Carn Llechart, an ancient ringed burial cairn overlooking the valley that leads down to Morriston and Swansea. from here when the weather is clear, you can see DVLA, the Merdian Tower and Mumbles lighthouse. Today was such a day, beautifully crisp and with a hint of the warmth of summer to come.

We took our time on the moorland and Rufus seemed to enjoy being out in the big world again. As we headed back to the car, the views to the north were equally spectacular with the snow covered Bannau Sir Gaer in the very distance. It’s what we’re working up to but for now, 90 minutes on this hill was enough.

Back home, while Rufus snored his walk off, I spent an hour in Gelli Hir woods looking for bluebells. I have some in the garden but they haven’t yet appeared in any great quantity in the woods. Nevertheless, I was able to get a few decent photos by lying on my stomach in the mud and getting up close.

Back home I had things to do. With the work on the kitchen dues to start shortly, I have to start clearing things out and getting rid of the rubbish. I thought about it last week and that’s as far as I got. So after a quick coffee, and more medication for the hound, I started on one of the cupboards – the one that everyone has which is full of plastic containers, many without lids. They breed, of course. I’m sure I only ever bought four. I pulled out more than twenty. After the cupboard, I took down the bookshelf with all the cook books I never use on it. That’s not strictly true, I’ve used several but I don’t use them as much as I should., Maybe with the new kitchen this will change.

The snoring stopped and it was time for a light lunchtime snack. Then, when the snoring resumed, I went and cut the grass. This time, my work was supervised by Rufus, who checked the consistency of the cut and then joined me to sit on the sun for half an hour. I took that to be a sign that my standard of work was adequate.

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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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