Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday May 10th 2020
By mid April, Isis is becoming increasingly irritable. She snaps at her tail and back legs. She has also, I observe, nibbled off a little patch of hair from one of her front legs.
Clearly, the anal gland problem must be addressed. It’s a problem because the RSPCA animal hospital is closed to the public except for emergencies.
When I was ill in 2017, and unable to drive, White Cross vets at the end of our road, kindly accepted Isis and Daisy as temporary patients. Just before the lockdown, I call in to ask if they are willing to see Isis again if it is necessary during the time that the RSPCA remains closed.
I’m relieved to be told that they would be willing to treat her since she is already registered with them.
Because the medication I take for rheumatoid arthritis compromises the immune system, I no longer go into shops or any other indoor public spaces.
I’d feel safe to take Isis to the RSPCA. Their waiting room is huge. We usually ask for an early morning appointment and are the only ones there. I hope that they reopen before Hairy’s glands need attention.
But this is not to be.
I make the phone call and we’re given an appointment for the next day. We’re instructed to park outside the practice, then phone to confirm our arrival.
This is a relief. At least it sounds as though we’ll not be sharing the waiting room.
Next morning, we’re in luck: there’s a parking space directly outside.
When I call in, a receptionist answers and tells me that someone will collect Isis from the car.
This is very sensible. It should be reassuring. Well, it’s good that I’ll not have to wait inside, but little Isis has never been in a consulting room on her own. She’s never had any treatment without Human standing beside her, holding her head.
She may well refuse to go with the nurse. She may just as well refuse to walk into the practice.
Nowadays, when we go to the RSPCA, she will walk up the drive and even through the front door. She allows me to lead her to the scales, steps obediently onto them, and stands still while being weighed.
What she always refuses point blank to do is to walk into the consulting room. Either I have to carry her over the threshold or force her forward with a series of heaves and shoves.
We’re early for our appointment. Rain pulses rhythmically on the car roof as we wait. I’m apprehensive, but Isis, who has had a long walk in the park, is perfectly relaxed. She snoozes contentedly on the back seat.
Before long another car parks beside us. A man gets out, ducks through the rain, and dashes to the door. He tries to open it, but it’s locked. He tries again. Then he knocks on the glass door. A receptionist appears and points through the glass to a notice beside the door. The man reads it, returns to his car, and picks up his mobile.
When a nurse appears at the door, the driver emerges, and opens the boot. In it sits a handsome German shepherd. This well behaved animal trots off confidently with the nurse.
What will Isis do when her time comes?
Soon it’s our turn.
I tap Isis out of the car and hand her over to the nurse. Anxiously, I explain that Hairy One needs to be guided round any obstacles. I also suggest that it would be advisable to muzzle her during treatment.
I watch apprehensively as Isis walks – very slowly, but without protest – along the short stretch of pavement and through the door. I can see through the large plate glass window that my dog is also being compliant about her weigh-in.
Then I watch her slow but uninterrupted progress towards the consulting room.
It’s not long before they return. Isis looks perfectly calm. Everything has gone fine, the nurse tells me. There were no problems.
That’s a relief. And, I can pay by card over the phone.
I am impressed with White Cross’s arrangements.
I’m impressed with Isis too.
*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*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre,