Dog Blog-Holly the Saluki-Update

February 2013

Raisin Hell – Grape and Rasin Toxicity in Dogs

Did you know that dogs can be killed by eating grapes and the dried fruit derived from them??

Well, fortunately we did – but were unable to communicate this to Holly (our Saluki). On one of the rare occasions that she was left alone she decided to punish us by eating a whole malt loaf (with raisins)- she had ignored the dog treats on the bench.
We rushed her to an emergency vet where she was made to vomit and spend 48 hours on a drip. Happily she survived and is safely back at home – she treated the experience as something akin to a detox weekend at a health spa thanks to to 2 lovely Belgian vets (both called Julien) and the nurses who made a huge fuss of her. Not an experience I would like to repeat though.


March 2012

2012 looming large and I’m happy to report that Holly is thriving and has grown her winter undercoat of white fuzz. We’re still running to the local old cemetery  where Holly bounds around chasing squirrels and foraging in the undergrowth – so lovely to see her running free, wizzing around the gravestones and trees. We were surprised by a massive Great Dane last week who was also enjoying a free run with his owner but fortunately he was friendly and easily bribed with treats.

I’ve discovered that Holly likes sunflower and pumpkin seeds – is it okay to give these to dogs I wonder?

We went to Pets at Home to buy Holly a bed that her fur won’t stick to only to discover that all the leather ones had been withdrawn because apparently the dogs were eating them!!!

Dog running – July 2011

Almost a year now since we collected Holly from the rescue home and it’s hard to imagine life without her now. We’re both much fitter too having settled into a regular exercise routine of dog walking and running. We still don’t dare let her off the lead unless in a secure enclosure but she has learned to run alongside me while on the leash. So for as long as my legs hold out I can share the exuberance of bounding out the door at 7am and running with hound. This is not always safe (several collisions when she spots a cat have resulted in a great tangle of legs) or ideal – jogging with one arm stretched out while on the look out for cats –  and people do seem to give us a wide berth, but the pleasure by far outweighs any discomfort or humiliation.

The next challenge is to plan a dog friendly holiday and to my delight I’ve discovered that there are several web sites with directories to dog friendly accommodation: http:www.dogpeople.co.uk


Guarding the studio

Riverside Delights – March 2011

Sunshine on the riverbank at Twickenham’s Embankment today, no ice cream van yet but hoping to see him any day soon. My journey to work is a delightful stroll from Queens Road across the tilted foot bridge to my studio on Eel Pie Island via the riverside. On days like this it’s tempting to have a bask in the sun on the benches with my ‘Muse Hound’ Holly the Saluki, who has become a regular feature of studio life.

Today we encountered Peter walking his 2 pet ferrets and Holly was astonished to see them curiously sniffing up to her and not in the least afraid, in fact she actually hid behind my legs. The riverside is a joyful collage of rowers, joggers and mothers with babies feeding the ducks, (I spot a pair of Ruddy ducks and several Egyptian geese) coots, rooks, crows, pigeons, gulls and swans that congregate noisily where the high tides wash right up to the grassy bank.

Holly amazed by fearless ferrets

Ready for my close up…


Party Girl

December 2010

Holly – recovered minus toe

Happy to report that Holly has made an excellent recovery after her op and no longer has a limp. We had our first day in the studio since the really cold weather and she was absolutely fine.

November Update

We’ve had Holly 4 months now and what a delightful companion and integral part of our daily lives she has become – so you can imagine the shock when we were told by our vet last Frid that she had a tumour on her toe and that it would have to be removed! She had a slight limp when we got her and had been checked several times by vets who had found nothing wrong. It became much worse so we had her seen by a local dog physio – Fiona Buchanan who actually makes house calls. Fiona noticed that one of her pads was larger and more calloused and she thought it might be a corn. (Steep learning curve here – who would have thought that dogs got corns!) so back to the vets which resulted in a speedy diagnosis and the amputation of her toe yesterday.

Post Op

The xray showed that her lungs are clear so we just have to wait for the biopsy results now to see if the tumour was malignant and this can take 3 -4 weeks. Meanwhile, she is hobbling around and emitting a series of moans, whines, growls and sighs and looking very sorry for herself. No squirrel chasing in the immediate future for Holly but with the cold weather she seems quite happy to make quick excursions to the garden after being carried down the steps.


August 2010

We collected Holly from a rescue centre in Tottenham where she’d been since being rescued from travellers in Ireland. She’s about 2 years, very quiet and has been a delightful companion since she arrived (although I’m told it can take 2 weeks for a dog’s true character to emerge). Her foster carer was French and we thought she might suit a French name – any suggestions? Someone suggested ‘Rosewell’ as she has an alien look. We thought Dijon as she’s slightly mustard coloured. She makes a splendid ‘studio dog’ and I can talk to myself now with impunity. A visitor commented, while stepping over her to enter the studio, that she was the most chilled dog he’d ever seen.

Autumn at last  – clear fresh air and bright colours, my favourite season.  Having a dog means I have an additional reason for being out in the early mornings so can really appreciate the changing sky at dawn as Holly (aka Dijon – still haven’t decided which name) and I trundle the streets of Twickenham. The problems with sight hounds means that it’s difficult to let her run free as her recall is pretty well non existent and last week she merrily sailed over a high brick wall of the one place I had thought was secure – with an 8 foot drop onto a road! Miraculously she was unhurt but it means I daren’t let her run free until I find an even more secure place.

Holly is mostly Saluki – Salukis are apparently the royal dog of Egypt, and perhaps one of the oldest domesticated dogs known to man. They were named after the Arabian city “Saluki” in the Middle East, which no longer exists today. Their bodies were often found mummified along side the bodies of the Pharaohs themselves, and their pictures appear in ancient Egyptian tombs dating from 2100 BC. The Muslims considered them a sacred gift of Allah, and they were never sold but only offered as gifts of friendship or honor.

She’s proving to be an excellent ‘Studio Dog’ and I can see that it’s only a matter of time before she appears in my paintings.

The ‘Muse Hound’ sleeping on the job.

I worked all weekend – spent a whole day doing a painting which was rubbish and then the next day repainting it – the pain, the pain of wasted hours. It’s actually quite lovely in the shed though, shrouded in golden leaves and listening to Absolute 90’s Rock with the rain belting down on the tin roof – reminds me of our farmhouse in NZ.  Having Holly (the muse hound) helps too, she’s great company – although not too hot on art criticism.

Surprisingly, she actually fits snugly in this bed when she’s curled up but spends most of her time stretched out on the carpet. I thought it seemed a shame to keep her tied up so one day decided to trust her of the lead while I went out to fill the kettle – seconds later I caught a brindle flash out the corner of my eye as she disappeared off through the boatyard at great speed. She was finally captured but with no recall, clearly can’t be trusted unleashed.


3 Responses to “Dog Blog-Holly the Saluki-Update”

  1. August 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Hello to Holly and Lee,
    Sounds like Holly has found a nice place to live, salukis appreciate all the finer things in life and are very artistic themselves. Ours particularly enjoy mud sculpting and mud painting.
    Just wondering if you have found somewhere safe yet to let Holly have a run. Somebody recommended to us – before we found secure fields to rent – using enclosed tennis courts to practice letting them off lead and to encourage recall using treats in the enclosed space.
    Hope all is going well with her.
    Caroline Owen, Coco, Tuppence and Tammas

  2. October 3, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

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