Praise be to dog, Isis has maintained her equilibrium. To date, she is doing better than I am, as every time she utters an irritated ‘nyaff’, even a small, subdued one, I rush to check that she’s not attacking her foot.
I am very worried too, that her vet will not find any evidence of a physical problem, that the cause of her distress is behavioural.
She seems perfectly happy.
Here she is earlier in the week, enjoying a prance in Highbury.
Even so, it is with some trepidation that I set off with her to RSPCA Newbrook Farm on Tuesday.
As always, although she is eager to hop out of the car, her enthusiasm diminishes as soon as she sniffs out where she is.
Earlier on in our partnership I had to buzz for permission to drive up to the disabled parking spaces adjacent to the Animal Hospital because Isis refused to walk there, but nowadays she is usually much more co-operative.
True, she flinches when we walk past the rescued dog compound, walks more slowly as we approach the door to the reception area, and always has to be dragged into the consulting room. Nevertheless, however reluctantly, she does walk from the car to the reception area.
But it was only a week ago that she was brought to see the vet, and now here she is again. Once I’ve persuaded her to drag herself within about seventy yards of the door, she refuses point blank to move any further. After several attempts to walk backwards, she sits down firmly and refuses to budge.
It’s been several years since I’ve had to carry her in, but I have to do that today. A strong, muscular dog, at 15. 65 kilos, she’s heavier than she used to be. I’m lighter than I used to be, and my arms are less powerful. I struggle to carry the recalcitrant little creature, and have to put her down a couple of times.
The receptionist grins as I push Hairy’s reluctant bottom through the door.
Phew! That was a marathon.
Usually, we have one of the earliest appointments at eight-fifteen or eight-thirty, but I was exhausted when I brought her in last week and opted for ten-thirty.
I shouldn’t have.
Isis always becomes very anxious while she’s waiting to be seen. Today there’s a little cat with complex needs ahead of us, so my poor little dog trembles for thirty- five minutes.
I’ll not opt to bring her so late again.
Today she refuses even to be pulled or pushed into the consulting room, so I pick her up again, carry her in and deposit her on the floor.
Her lovely vet asks me to hold Hairy’s head, and then lies on the floor to examine her. At one point she asks me, ‘You are holding her head firmly, aren’t you, because if she turns quickly I’m only inches away from her teeth?”
I don’t blame her for checking, but today Isis is very different from the dog brought in last week. I am holding her head carefully, but she makes no attempt to move it. Nor does she snatch her foot away like she did last week. She stands absolutely still and the vet is able to explore the foot thoroughly.
When the vet finds a badly damaged dew claw, she appears to be as relieved as I am. There’s a trail of dried blood along the line of the nail bed where the claw has been fractured.
She can’t remove the claw as it would be too painful and very distressing. I will need to bathe Hairy’s foot in salt water after walks, and dry it thoroughly. Hopefully, the claw sheath will dry out and fall off on its own. Or Isis may remove it, though I hope not, as she doesn’t treat herself very gently.
No wonder the poor little animal growled and barked and bit her leg. The fractured claw must have been excruciatingly painful.
And what a relief that the problem is physical and not neurological.
*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk