I went through a stage where I was being ill, or injuring myself with fair regularity. Maybe I should deal with the ailments individually, starting with the illness.
No one knows really if I was eating all the wrong things, or if I was picking up germs around the walks I was taking, but there were quite a few times when the vets was nearly called, but avoided – just.
Early in my tenure here I must have eaten something rotten and was ill. It made me feel loved that mum sat up all night with me to make sure that I didn’t come to more harm. She looked very tired in the morning and I felt really sorry for her, but she was looking after me and the bond seemed to be growing. Sometimes I felt that I was upsetting her as I was ill so often. Another time I had been ill for 2 or 3 days in a row and I heard the conversation saying “Yes of course we can bring him in, if you can have a look at him as we are a bit worried by the continued illness”. When I arrived at the vets the nice lady looked at me and said that I had a bug and that I needed to be put on a diet for a while. This meant that the bug would pass and I could get back out into the fields more quickly. So I was pleased to find out that I was on chicken and rice for a few days. It was very tasty, but there wasn’t much of it which was a shame as I was really hungry. I was getting fed more times a day, but I was still on meagre rations. After a couple of days I felt like it would never end, and I feared I would be on small rations for a long time. A few days later however I noticed the portions got a little larger, but they still weren’t normal. I was only going out in the garden, not my longer walks out in the streets and fields like I had been used to. Gradually the food got back to normal, and I wasn’t being watched all the time and then it happened, I was back out on longer walks outside the house. Phew. Apparently I was eating all the wrong things in the fields and lanes, sniffing all the gross objects which lay before me and generally treated the animal waste recycling biodiverse product as a smorgasbord. Who knew?
Injuries are the next subject. I have done all sorts of stupid things to myself, usually when I broke free and whizzed around like a racing snake. I have had the usual array of sprains and strains to my ankles and knees.
This story is from September 2015. My biggest trip to the vet took place after we had been out one day in the fields. There was an awful lot of sniffing and investigation to be done. It was summer, it was nice and warm. I was allowing mum to accompany me in exploring the area. I was starting to learn things such as chasing and eating bees isn’t the best thing to do. I got told off and tried to stop catching them but they whizzed about and were too tempting. Anyway all the plants were growing and the the grass and nettles were really tall. I didn’t know that nettles stung like bees. I just marched through the fields. When we got home mum noticed that I had a big mark on my pad, and it looked like something had got into my foot. Of course I decided that the best thing would be to chew and nibble my paw, as this would obviously make it better. I am a boy so don’t be surprised at some of the things I manage to do.
Mum and dad watched me for a couple of days as I was limping, sometimes quite a lot and often I couldn’t put my paw down, it was so painful. So a trip to the vets was arranged and the nice vet lady looked at my paw and said she thought I might have a grass seed in there. This made mum and dad look at each other with a bit of worry, as this can be quite bad and I may need an operation if it was true. I didn’t really understand what this ‘operation” meant, but I heard them all agree I would need to come back to the vets and fairly soon. So I went home and nothing really changed, apart from me having to wear a Cone of Shame to stop me nibbling at the paw and making it worse. I was given some antibiotics as they thought this might help draw the seed out of my paw. Strangely they couldn’t see the puncture where it had gone in. About a week passed, I went back to the vets and they still couldn’t find anything like a hole or wound in my paw, and then wondered if I have trodden on something that was caustic and burned my paw. In any case, it wasn’t getting better so it was decided that an operation would go ahead.
A couple of days later I was surprised when I wasn’t allowed to have any breakfast. My tummy was rumbling and I had been out for a walk, so this was different as I usually returned from my walk and ate my breakfast. We went to see the vet early in the morning and when mum and dad left me there I was quite sad. I didn’t know what was happening. However the nurses were very nice and I was being looked after and fussed over when all of a sudden I felt very sleepy. The next thing I knew, I was waking up under a big blanket, feeling a bit groggy, and with a huge bandage on my paw. Best of all, it had bones on it, but I knew that I couldn’t eat these bones as they were on the outside of my leg.
I was allowed to go home at the end of the day and it was very exciting, despite having to wear a bag on my paw. I didn’t realise that I had to keep the paw clean. The Cone of Shame made an unfortunate reappearance.
The first night post-op just drifted by and I didn’t really know if I was coming or going to be honest. Then days went by, and I was getting used to the Cone of Shame, which was surprising as it was seriously hampering my ability to hunt in the garden. The pigeons and squirrels could see me coming from miles away. It was like having a neon sign attached to me. Inside the house however the cone of shame was very useful as I could bash into mum and dad when I wanted some extra food, or to lay on the sofa as I was ever so poorly. Every time I went outside the house, I had to wear the plastic bag over my damaged paw to make sure it was dry. We went back to the vets a couple of times in the first week as I needed my bandage changed to make sure I didn’t get an infection. The nurse was very happy that I had been a good boy and kept my paw clean, that it wasn’t nibbled and that the cut was healing well. I had proud ears and I got some extra biscuits. Another few days and I could have the bandage off. The bone bandage could be going. I told myself I had to be good, I had to be good. Come on Dex, concentrate!
Another few days passed and it was off to the vets. The bandage is coming off, I was so happy that I just laid there and let them cut the bandage off. I was getting my paw back. The bandage was sliced off, my paw felt free and I had an itch, I could see the stitches and decided that I couldn’t wait. As soon as the vet nurse and mum and dad turned their backs, I managed to chew two of the stitches out. When everyone turned round and saw what I had done they were initially upset but then saw the cut was closed and there was only one stitch left, so that was snipped off and I was free. Or so I thought. The plastic bag went back on, the paw had to be kept clean. This wasn’t fair. Did no one realise that it is really difficult to chase squirrels with a bag on my paw? The pigeons and squirrels were laughing at me. And I wasn’t allowed off the lead in the garden for what seemed like weeks. What had I done to deserve this extra punishment.
I had to put up with the bag and Cone of Shame for ages. I was better but I didn’t want to go through another operation. It severely hampered by ability to pursue squirrels in my grounds, and that would never do. I resolved to get rid of the Cone of Shame and Plastic Bag of Impediment as soon as possible. I had to be good, I had to. This was so difficult. I was going to have to put up with the shame of the squirrels and pigeons laughing at me for what felt like an eternity. I would be back though, faster and cleverer, I promise. Watch out tree dwellers.