A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday September 12th 2021
I ring Fivelands as soon as the practice opens on Friday, and when I explain poor Isis’s predicament, we are offered an appointment at 2.30 that afternoon.
So off we go, poor Isis in her Elizabethan collar.
For the first time since ‘lockdown’ officially ended, I am allowed to accompany Isis to the consulting room. As we are relatively new clients, I think that we might not see the same vet this time, but yes, here is the charming O.
On her first visit, he had given her a steroid injection to bring down the inflammation, but had warned me that it was likely that she would require more long term treatment.
O. is now ninety-nine point nine per cent certain that the dermatitis is caused by an allergy. He goes over the treatment options again, and we discuss them. We decide on a relatively new, non-steroid medication, Apoquel.
She has to have half a tablet twice a day for seven days, then half a tablet once a day until the course is finished.
We will discuss her progress over the phone a couple of days before the tablets are finished. If she needs a repeat prescription, which O. thinks is likely, I can collect it.
He advises that she wears the collar for another three days.
I note her perfect behaviour throughout the examination. She stands statue-still while O. parts her hair and examines different bits of her. Not even the faintest growl passes her lips.
I am, of course, very pleased that she behaves so beautifully at the vet’s. At the same time, it’s a bit galling, since one of my fingers is still decorated with a small tooth mark and a large bruise, inflicted by we know whom.
And all I did was attempt to examine a little scab on her neck.
I hasten to add that such uncouth behaviour on her part is never tolerated. I immediately express my disapproval in the usual way, with smats* and a very loud growl in her right ear. Then, of course, I resume my examination.
* ‘Smats’ are very firm pats – at least three in a row with a gap between each. They are delivered with fearsome ‘growls’ and ‘snaps’ and, of course, without cuddles and strokes.
And a canine is not rewarded afterwards, however long she has to put up with human riffling through her fur.
She always makes me laugh when something difficult, like having her whiskers combed, is completed. She waits until I signal ‘finished’ then leaps onto the floor and dives into her dog bed where she sits, ramrod straight, awaiting her reward.
Gradually – as we know, I’m a bit slow – I realise that Isis never sits down when she visits the vet. I wonder whether she feels that this being a formal occasion, a dog is required to stand.
The next time I need to groom her underside, or other delicate parts, I make her stand. When I did this in the past, she would complain, growling fiercely. But now she accepts that it’s going to happen and stands until we’re finished.
Last year when she first had severe dermatitis, she obviously felt very unwell. All she wanted was to do was sleep near to me.
This time, I check with the vet that it is O.K. to take her for walks. Definitely, he opines.
Isis doesn’t concur.
Is it too warm out? We’ll wait until evening and walk then.
No we won’t.
She wants to stay in the house and sleep, thank you. And she’d appreciate company too.
After three days, she becomes more lively. On the fourth evening, I’m at the front of the house when I hear loud ‘Ooffs’ and clonks coming from the back room. She is jumping around in her bed, thrashing poor snake to within an inch of his life.
Right, Isis. Time to walk again I think.
The next day she can’t wait to get out of the front door, even though it’s sunny.
Over the next few days, we go to all of her favourite places.
Aware that a lot of interesting dog-stuff has been going on while she has been in her sick bed, she sniffs and snuffles like an animated hoover.
And she pees on her territory as if there’s no tomorrow.