Gracie does the doggy paddle!


Gracie having her first hydrotherapy session Well as promised, here's the update on Gracie's swimming lesson!
For those that don't know, and don't want to wade back through my blogs, one of my labrador puppies, Gracie, has hip dysplasia. Previously I thought she'd have no option but to go for a full hip replacement, following consultations with specialist vets.

HOWEVER – then a certain Jill Franks mentioned her bull dog used hydrotherapy for his, so I thought I'd ask about it. The vet duly referred me, which was nice as otherwise I wouldn't have known about it, and off we went to Grayfriars in Dorking, a referrals-only treatment centre.

First Gracie had a full physio and it turns out her range of motion in her hips is not severe. So swimming might help. They gradually build it up, so her first session involved four laps round the pool, 'assisted'. Not only did she get a lovely lady called Lisa (in the pic above) to help her, but Gracie also got her own doggy life-jacket to wear! Bless! Lisa's own 9 year-old lab had a similar problem, and swimming helped so much she now helps out down there in the pool in her wet-suit.
Inside the enclosed pool it's very warm and humid, as you'd expect. Gracie's first session was alongside a little fluffy border collie cross called Oliver, with whom Gracie duly bonded and proceeded to follow him round the pool. Her second session was with Monty, an older labrador with a weird way of showing his excitement at being in the pool – Darth Vader breathing! But again Gracie took to it like a, er, dog to water, and followed me round the edge of the pool.
It was sooooo cute seeing her in the pool, and she certainly didn't seem to mind doing it at all. She wasn't that thrilled with the hair dryer booth afterwards, but we're working on that. At least she smells fresh now! Lol!

She has to go a couple of times a week initially, then she can work up to swimming unassisted, then work to once per week for a while. The logic is similar to that of how Pilates helps aches and joints – careful exercise improves the condition instead of aggravating it. I was also given a few doggy-physio exercises to do on her at home, so I really hope this will help build the support around the joint enough over the months ahead, to not need imminent surgery.

Have any of you had any experiences of how this type of thing has helped?
Well it's the start of March already – I'm hoping to have a small prize to win soon in a little competition so get thinking about what you like most about the month of March! It's been brighter of late, cold but sunny, and the crocii (crocuses?) and daffodils are starting to appear. At least they're not a month late like last year!

With that, it's time to start thinking about the garden. So I've bought myself a couple of Richard Jackson items to get it all underway. So I could have chosen 'planting magnolia trees' as my TiFFT (Try it For the First Time club) for February.

Or it could have been some of the things I got up to in Gran Canaria. Or maybe building the new pen to keep climbing labrador Daisy in. Or ordering an item from the new QVC iPhone app (it's brilliant!). Or washing the carpet – see previous blog. Or it could have been getting a Kindle and reading my first stories on it (fab by the way). But as I've reported on the new Facebook group (search TiFFT – you're welcome to join) – I've chosen something very simple and novel for February's official First Time experience. I noticed one day that my Twitter account had something very rare – identical numbers of tweets, followers and following!
Debbie's Twitter page Now that's quite hard to achieve, and a little bit weird. So I took a picture of it, posted it on Facebook, and here it is. 242 for each. What's yours?

Do join the Facebook group too if you'd like to. Then each month you can add your latest experiences on this blog, and discuss them with others on Facebook. Well why not do something different for 2011? We are!
Best wishes,
P.S. Next week – going to see West End production for son Brad's birthday, and maybe the chance to win a QVC presenters' calendar!…


  1. Jean March 5, 2011 at 8:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    I am glad Gracie got on alright with her swimming. This as you know wont cure it but it will certainly help. I have not had hip problems luckily with my labradors, but I have friends who have and who have used the swimming to help. I do hope it helps her, as it can be very painful to them. Look forward to hearing how she gets on. You wont be able to keep her out of the water soon.
    Enjoy the West End production when you go.
    Take care and all the best with Gracie.
    Love Jean. XX

  2. Michelle Roberts March 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs, Thank you for your comments on the vax machine. I talked my mother-in-law into buying it(i will split the cost with her)so looks like March will be carpet and curtain cleaning month for me!!!!
    Will report back on the results.
    Gracie looks like she enjoyed the swimming. How you manage to fit all these thing in around work i’ll never know(do you ever get time to sleep Debs)
    All for now
    Michell N Wales

  3. Anita Belding March 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie
    I loved seeing Gracie doing her swimming, she is lovely, hope it does the trick, so pleased you are back with QVC, I remember you
    first time round !!!!!!!!!!
    you are such fun to watch, and make me laugh. keep up the good work.

  4. Nigel March 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Talking of gardening, just cut the lawn (Sun 6th) so it must be spring !
    Anyway, if you don’t want to break up pots for crocs you could always use old bits of polystyrene packing. It makes the pot lighter if you need to move it around.
    Cheers, Nige

  5. Mrs Heidi Barnett March 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie, I’m so pleased you are able to help Gracie’s HD with some swimming physio..good news and hope she enjoys it! I had a GSD years ago who developed it at 18 months and it was bad, made her snappy at other people so I had to have her put to sleep which was heartbreaking.
    You often chat to my mum Jean (who also has several labs & works/breeds),I believe she has just put up a post in reply to you again. I have a lab bred by her..He’s called Flynn & is my best friend, Labs are so devoted and loving, great company & super intelligent. Always watch your videos, glad to hear when you were on air the other day you said you now have fencing or a kennel was it? no more Hudini escapades now I hope! Lol
    Take care for now..
    Luv Heidi in Somerset.
    p.s. when are you going to join Twitter? I chat to Pip & Katherine, be nice to chat to you too x

  6. Cheryl March 8, 2011 at 10:05 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie
    Looks like Gracie enjoyed it but was wondering why her mummy wasnt in there with her – she looked concerned that you were on dry land. I hope that the hydrotherapy is a success.
    Love to you and all the Pogs
    Cheryl in Manchester xx

  7. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm -  Reply

    Jean – We Will Rock You was fab – as all my facebook friends will know as I was posting all day! Had a st tropez with jilly in the afternoon too so it was a lovely day!
    ps gracie’s had three sessions now, and ‘pootled’ around on her own today, as Lisa called it! (it’s lisa in that photo – lovely lady. Gracie really seems to like her!)

  8. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm -  Reply

    Michelle – good luck with the vax! Remember for any tough areas, use the manual scrubby upholstery head – fab!
    ps sleep? what’s sleep…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz :-)

  9. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm -  Reply

    Anita – thanks so much for your kind comments! Nice to know you’re there,, and it’s lovely to BE back! :-)d x

  10. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    nige – good tip!
    my lawn’s being done soon i hope! two sections now – one for the pog’s pen, one for the fumans!

  11. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm -  Reply

    Heidi – what type of dog is a GSD? Yes Gracie’s loving the swimming, and is such a cutie, she’s worth the effort. No Daisy’s not escaping any more – and their new shed is nearly done so they’ll be nice and warm outside! I just sat outside with them this afternoon in the sun, with a cuppa, a new book (‘Getting Away with It’ by Julie Cohen, one of my writing tutors – fab!) and …. a coat! lol
    Am on twitter – have been correspondingwith all my writing peeps for some time – debbieflint.
    Nice to hear from you!

  12. debs flint March 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm -  Reply

    Cheryl – she does love it! Went off on her own a few times in the latest session today. In time, they allow you to go in the pool withthem so that’ll be fun!

  13. Mrs Heidi Barnett March 10, 2011 at 10:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Deb, a GSD is a German Shepherd Dog..or Alsation..they’re very prone to HD. Its lovely to see someone else who loves their dogs and talks to them as you do..myself and my Mum (Jean) talk to ours, they are part of the family and each have their own personalities!
    Have just tried to find you on Twitter but no luck. I am @heidifibro46, maybe you could send me a quick tweet..thanks hun x

  14. debs flint March 11, 2011 at 4:56 am -  Reply

    Heidi – done it! cheers hon! Luv to mum,

  15. Maria Cuesta March 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    First time I have posted a comment on any of the QVC presenters’ blogs. You are certainly one of the nicest presenters really lovely and down to earth. I am also a doggy person have had dogs for ages and now have a rescue dog that I got last year. He is a couple of years old now and lovely although he does love barking a bit too much. I would like to know if you could find out whether Kathy van Zeeland is still going to appear on QVC and more or less when. I saw her show in January but it was only a 40 minute show and I haven’t seen her scheduled for the next month and was just wondering if you are discontinuing her handbags? thanks a lot. Maria.

  16. debs flint March 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Maria – have you seen any of the doggy programmes on the telly? Like ‘its me or the dog’ and of course Ceasar the Dog Whisperer (genius!)
    Maybe one of those might help with the barking thing! lol.
    Mine are not bad now -it’s been a year¬! At least Daisy’s stopped chewing everything in sight!
    ps hope you saw the KVZ answer the blog team are apparently posting on your other post on the ‘main’ section of my blog.

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