A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday August 15th 2021
you have to smile
Isis is almost invariably quiet and relaxed when she travels. As soon as she jumps into the car, she settles on the back seat (with her safety harness on, of course) and, sensibly, she’ll not stand up while we’re moving.
Imagine my surprise one day this week when she begins wagging her tail and leaping up and down.
I glance behind me. She’s very animated. What on earth’s going on?
I know that it’s begun to rain, but surely she can’t tell that from inside the car?
Ah, but she can. The little sun roof is open.
on one of our walks , we come across this, lying like a gem on the canal path.
A jay’s feather, I think.
It’s Tuesday. We’ve only been back from our walk for thirty minutes, but Isis is still keen to come with me wherever it is I’m going, and is excited to have her harness put on again. (I don’t tell her we’re off to the vet’s.)
Ever since I left her at the kennels for ten days, she has nibbled her right leg. Then she begins on her left foot.
The nibbling is a stress reaction. What’s she worried about? Are her anal glands bothering her? I have been doing some major sorting and furniture moving: is this making her feel insecure? Is she not getting enough attention?
About ten days ago I notice that the bald patches on her leg and foot are healing. That’s a relief.
The relief is short lived, however. She begins scratching herself every now and again. Hmmm.
She waits until the vets have closed their doors on Saturday, then she begins in earnest.
My relaxed Kindle reading is rudely interrupted. Jolt. Jolt. Jolt. I’m bounced up and down by Isis vigorously scratching various areas of her anatomy.
For two evenings, until, thankfully, she falls asleep, it’s scritch, scritch, scritch from her and prod, prod, poke from me.
I know she doesn’t have fleas. She’s treated regularly against any marauding mini organism which could venture onto her.
Time and again, I part her hair and inspect her skin: nothing to be seen.
After a couple of days, though, the areas she’s scratched – a pawpit, the back her neck and her belly, are looking very pink. Actually, I realise, even her ears are looking flushed.
On Sunday I complete the haircut I began ten days ago. This should make her feel more comfortable.
Then I bathe her with a calming shampoo followed by numerous rinses.
She doesn’t enjoy it, naturally, but she’s very good.
When I ring the vet on Monday, I am told that there are no appointments immediately available, but if I ring at eight on Tuesday morning and ask for a ‘same day’ consultation they will try to fit Isis in. In the meantime, I need to ask her previous two vet practices to forward her medical records.
Our appointment is at five. Typically, once the appointment is made, Isis stops scratching. Oh dear. The vet will wonder what we’re there for.
Fivelands has a very strict Covid routine, which is good. I phone to announce our arrival, then sit on a bench in the shade with Isis at my feet, and wait.
A cheerful young black labrador is being examined in a corner by the hedge; the silent occupant of a cat carrier arrives, held aloft, followed by a bouncy black and white spotted patient who strains eagerly on his lead.
The vet and nurse arrive, and I explain the problem. Isis stands quietly as the vet parts her hair. Yes, he can see that her skin is very pink. He tells me about treatment options, and we agree that at this stage he’ll give her a short term steroid injection to calm the inflammation and we’ll monitor her from there.
She has not seen a vet here before, as our previous three visits have been for anal gland emptying, and the veterinary nurses have dealt with her. She always returns calm and collected and they always tell me what a good girl she’s been
The vet takes her lead. She is not keen to accompany him into the building and pulls away as they walk. But although she seems anxious, she doesn’t refuse to go in.
They bring her back after about twenty minutes. They have given her the injection, sorted her anal glands and weighed her.
I am horrified to hear that she now weighs 16.75 kilos. No wonder I struggle to lift her. But the vet tells me that she has lost some weight – last time she came, about a month ago, she was 17.25!
And how did she behave? “She’s very good,” the vet tells me, “She has a very kind nature.”
When I look back to her early vet visits, when she leapt and twirled in the waiting room and had to be muzzled for her examinations, I still can’t quite believe the transformation.
Back in the car, I fuss her and tell her what a good dog she is.