Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday December 13th 2020 (I think)
I hope you don’t bother looking at the dates on my posts. If you do, I hope you don’t reset the date on your phone. I notice that I decided it was December 4th last Sunday. Blame Isis; though, to be fair, she’s not had much practice. More honest to reiterate that I cannot be relied upon to reproduce any spoken or written information which contains numbers.
From now on, I will double check.
Hairy One’s recovery status: At the beginning of this week, I am certain that in a few days I will be able to stop cleansing, rinsing and applying steroid cream to her last remaining wound. Nowadays, at least once a week, I examine every millimetre of her skin, beginning with her muzzle. This week, when my prying fingers reach her haunches, a smile of relief and satisfaction spreads across my face.
The root of her tail and her back legs are clear, too. Yipee!
But what’s this, and this, and this?
****! and ****! again.
She’s bitten her tail. There are two, matching, deep bites obviously caused by her clamping her jaws shut on this section of her poor tail, and, further along, another, more superficial graze indicative of a quick snap.
“Oh Isis!” I shout crossly, then turn the air a deep ultramarine with many obscene mutterings.
I am very disappointed, not only because I’d been looking forward to being able to abandon the ‘dab each sore area with Hibiscrub, wait for fifteen minutes, rinse off with water, leave to dry for thirty minutes, then apply the steroid cream to affected areas’ routine but, more importantly, because of the implications for future behaviour.
As her long term acquaintances know, Isis has always been a tail nipper. But since her anal gland problem was diagnosed and treated regularly, her biting has been mostly notional. The problem was tackled shortly after her arrival, as soon, actually, as I judged I could take her to the vet’s without the risk of her being banned for life for uncontrolled hysteria.
It was no wonder she was attacking herself, as the poor creature’s anal glands, instead of being pea-sized were found to be the size of ripe plums.
Since then, they’ve been emptied every four to six weeks. She often announces that it’s time for her next vet visit by diving repeatedly at her rear end.
She arrived at Aeza with a Grade One self-barbered right thigh and, to this day, when she feels aggrieved or thwarted, or wakes from a nightmare, she’ll attack her thigh and tail with ferocious growly snarls and furious little yips. But until the last few weeks, she rarely drew blood.
Now I’m concerned that the prolonged outbreak of severe dermatitis will have re-established her self-harming.
As for her charming little jump suit, she’s only been able to wear it once since she lay in the wet grass and soaked it. We’ve had to revert to the Elizabethan collar, for, although the jump suit protects her torso, she can still reach her tail!
At least there’s a funny incident to relate about the little jumpsuit though. Twice she wore it when she went out for a pee in the back garden. Both times when she returned, she hopped back into the kitchen on three legs. The fourth, her rear right leg, she held out to the side and flicked, as though she had a claw stuck in something and was attempting to release it.
She didn’t look upset or irritated, just puzzled. When I examined her, I could find nothing attached to her claws, nothing stuck between her pads. When I felt her leg, she didn’t wince, and after a few minutes was walking normally.
The same thing happened later on that day. Again, she didn’t appear to be in pain, and I couldn’t find any reason for her strange balletics.
That evening, I discovered the bites on her tail and swapped the jumpsuit for the Elizabethan collar.
Next morning, I followed her outside and observed that when she peed, she raised her rear right leg a few inches from the ground. This, I now realise, she always does.
Or attempts to. I imagine that the stretchy, leg of her knee length suit must have acted like an elastic band and twanged back her leg each time she attempted to lift it. No wonder she looked puzzled.
Once, at Bev’s suggestion, I had taken Hairy’s leg out of the suit, she was able to proceed with her doggie duties as normal.
What these poor dogs have to put up with.
*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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk