Nancy in the wars

Sorry about the Jumbled offering on Sunday. Thanks, Ian for alerting me.


Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday November 22nd 2020


Bev and T, Rufus, Nancy and Jake the cat are off to the Lake District at the end of the week.

These pre-holiday days are always challenging as one of the animal trio – usually Nancy,  tends to throw a sickie close to the day of departure.

For some years, Nancy has had a benign tumour growing on her long, whippy tail, a few inches from the root. The tumour doesn’t seem to bother Nancy, and with every operation, of course, there is the risk of infection. When the site is so close to the root of the tail, in a worst case scenario, there’s always the possibility that infection could travel to the spine.

Although the tumour is definitely getting larger, Nancy is her usual ebullient self, and no procedure is deemed advisable. In consultation with the vet, it is agreed that at present the tumour is best left alone. Its rate of growth will be closely monitored at home, and there will be regular check-ups at the practice.

All is well as preparations are made for a spring visit to the Lake District.

But, true to form, the day before the family’s departure, Nancy bashes the vulnerable bit of her tail against a cupboard door. The tail bleeds.

The vet cleans the wound, then prescribes antibiotics and some cream to aid healing.

It’s a long journey, but all seems well with the labradoodles in their roomy compartment in the rear of the car. They had a walk, of course, before leaving Birmingham and there is the pleasant silence of contentedly sleeping dogs.

‘Fortunate that Nancy didn’t wait until we arrived in the Lake District before knocking her tail,’ Bev and T might well have been thinking as they sped along.

It’s a good journey. All is well with the world, it seems.

On arrival, the dogs are pleased, as always, to be let out of the car.

But not quite all is well.

As she emerges, it is heart-sinkingly evident that Nancy’s tail is in an awful state. The area around the previously minor injury is red, raw and obviously inflamed. She must have been quietly licking it for hours.

Instead of a relaxed exploration of the vicinity, it’s an emergency visit to the vet.

Again, Nancy’s wound is examined. Again, it is cleaned and dressed. Now it is also bandaged.

The rest of the first day is pleasantly uneventful, and they begin to slip into holiday mood.

Unfortunately, this is a little premature.

Early in the morning, Bev discovers that Nancy has attacked the tumour so frantically during the night that she has burst it. Her tail is bleeding and infected, and the room is in an indescribable state.

So it’s off to the vet’s again. Nancy’s wound is cleaned with antiseptic, dressed, and bound. Now Nancy wears a large Elizabethan collar.

A third check-up visit to the vet confirms that the wound is not healing well. There are signs of infection. Bev and T decide to return home a day earlier than planned. They make an appointment with their home vet.

Reluctantly, it is decided that the only way to preempt the spread of infection is to amputate the tail below the wound. The vet explains that it will be difficult to balance the risks: she will have to cut the tail as far away from Nancy’s spine as she can, while at the same time attempting to expunge the infection.

The humans wait anxiously by the phone.

The operation goes well.

Nancy is a very laid back, happy-go-lucky dog. The day following her operation, she is chirpy and keen for a walk.

Sadly, only a week later the wound is infected again. The vet says that she may have been over cautious and not cut away enough of the damaged area. Nancy is readmitted for further surgery.

Back at home, the humans wait again for the phone to ring.

At last it does. All has gone well.

Nancy is driven home, and Bev and T open a bottle of wine to soothe their shattered nerves.

Being a dog and therefore blissfully unaware of their ordeal, Nancy again makes a remarkably quick recovery.

She wears a post surgery ‘medical vest’ to protect her wound from being licked, bitten or prodded by twigs or brambles, and the wound heals well.

It is now several months since her last operation, and she is doing very well. She seems not to miss her tail, to be quite oblivious to the change.





Phew! What they put us through, these dogs.


*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 or


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2 Responses to Nancy in the wars

  1. Ian Simkin says:

    Good to hear the dog is doing well, hope she makes a full recovery. p.s. Pat, you may want to do some editing here…. a couple of sections appear twice & make it a little confusing 😛


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