05 May 2017

Do you own a Labrador or Golden Retriever and want to be involved in some citizen science?

We don't usually do things like this but this is something which has a strong personal resonance and as we're not a faceless corporation but a team of real people why not?

Juno was one of the first official office dogs here at CJS, my beautiful girl was plagued all her life with a dreadful skin condition, she had hay fever and a grass allergy which made her really miserable.  To begin with the only treatment was steroid injections which lasted just over a month, she could only have a shot every eight to nine weeks, ideally it should have been longer but she would scratch herself raw leaving great raking claw marks and weals down her rapidly balding flanks. In later years we kept the worst of it in check with a regime of local honey in her food, multiple ointments and her daily compost smoothie of herbal remedy. At the end of every day outdoors she had a shower which she loved so much she'd lift a leg to say wash this bit and even learnt to open the shower door - woe betide anyone who didn't bolt the bathroom door, you'd find yourself sharing your shower with a very hairy black dog!
Doubly Ninja Juno, must have been a bad day!
In the summer she could only go out into the garden wearing her ninja outfit of baggy t-shirt tied up on her hips and socks on her feet, when the grass was cut poor lass was housebound for up to a day until the sap dried. And even in the evenings when everyone was back inside, feet washed and the shirt came off often the urge to scratch was such that a clean pair of socks went on the back feet to prevent the worst scrabbling.  She was so patient and never grumbled even when some of the treatments smarted, rolling over on request to let me plaster her other side with the goop of the day.

Why am I telling you this?
To ask anyone with a Labrador or Golden Retriever itchy or not to take five minutes to complete the Itchy Dog Project questionnaire.  The hope is that the answers might just put us on the route to finding out why dogs get such itchy skins and one day, maybe, just maybe no other dog will need to suffer like Juno did.

I should add that despite her itchy skin she lived a full, happy life reaching the grand age of 15.  If you want to know more about her you can read her obit (she was that special) on Hebe's blog here. Mum says have a tissue handy!
Thank you for reading and in advance for filing in the survey. Current office dogs Dido and Hester have done theirs!

Read a little more about the project and sign up here.