Flossie here, I thought I had seen the last of this contraption when I was a mere one-year-old pup! The Boss surely threw it away long ago. Hence, I felt quite safe when we went into the Vet’s waiting room, ready to have my tail looked at.
A sore had appeared and despite my numerous lengthy licks, it had not got any better. I am sure it bothered the Boss more than it bothered me but I went along with her plans to have the Vet look at it anyway. I find it best to humour her.
I got into the car without any trouble. I got out of the car. I saw the door to the Vet’s and something inside me flipped.
I began to walk backwards. Maybe this was not such a good idea after all.
The Boss did not seem to get the hint. She pulled the old trick of promising me a treat and in through the door I went.
Inside, it was not too bad. As long as I could stand near the escape route, I felt fine. There was an old black Labrador lolling on the floor and something in a basket in the area the Boss says is for cats. The lady behind the desk knew me straight away and greeted me in excitement. I was only trying to say hello, matching her excitement with mine. Why did the Boss haul me back? I could have made it up and over the counter, no trouble.
The Boss seemed a little flustered and sat down on a bench. I deemed it best to stay close to her. However, she appeared not to want me on her lap.
After what seemed an age, the nice lady Vet came out and called me into her surgery.
Now, you can’t blame me for being a little cautious can you? Memories stick. Was I going to get drops in my nose? (The Boss swore she would not go through that again – although I thought it entirely reasonable of me to put up a fight. I was a little surprised when we found ourselves in a heap in the corner with the Vet straightening up and admitting defeat.)
Or were they going to try and look in my ears? I had to be sedated for that not so long ago. Well, who wouldn’t be worried if some great, green coated Vet, however kindly, suddenly lifted one ear which was incredibly painful and proceeded to stick something into it?
I waited, a tad nervously, while the Boss related some story about how I had been licking beneath my tail and how it had developed into a sore that would not heal. The Vet lifted my tail slightly but I was too quick and twisted round, my head slipping out of the Halti, and backed myself into the corner.
“I think we’ll have to sedate her again to have a proper look,” The Vet decided, “bring her back tomorrow morning at 8.30am. Off you go now Flossie.”
I didn’t need telling twice. How was I to know that the Boss was not quite ready for an exit? I have to admit, I didn’t know she was so strong.
By the time we finally left, on her terms, I was quite panic stricken of course. I didn’t even consider that I was to come back tomorrow.
I jumped in the car and hoped they would forget all about it by morning. The Boss is always forgetting things. Why not this?
Alas, it was not to be.
Well, maybe she did forget because it was her friend who actually dropped me off at the surgery. That’s what confused me, I did not suspect her friend could be so mean.
This time, I was whisked out to the back and manhandled into a cage. It’s true that my entry would have been a little less traumatic, had I not planted all four feet firmly on the ground and refused to budge, necessitating the Surgery nurse actually getting into the cage with me. I hoped for a tasty treat when I saw her there but no, it was not to be. “Nil by mouth,’ she said.
Apparently, I had a little sleep after that while they took a proper look at my tail. Woozy and wobbly, I was greeted by the boss herself when I woke up and taken home. They had found a lump and needed to operate. Operate? I was not prepared for that but worse was to come. After the op, I emerged with this thing on my head, stitches in my side (they had found yet another lump – both benign it seems) and my beautiful feathery tail was shorn. How shall I ever look my fellow Goldies in the eye again?
Mind you, the sympathy card can be played once more as I bang into doors and chase food around on the floor. Charlie is very wary of me and the little humans run for cover when they see me. (I upended a couple of the smaller ones with my cone, before anyone could stop me, earlier.) It was an accident of course, I only wanted to lick them.
I don’t know how long it will be before my poor tail is back to its glorious self but in the meantime, the lion look is quite fetching don’t you think?…
Tag Archives: golden retriever
Flossie here, I thought I had seen the last of this contraption when I was a mere one-year-old pup! The Boss surely threw it away long ago. Hence, I felt quite safe when we went into the Vet’s waiting room, ready to have my tail looked at.
The waiting room at the Veterinary surgery, is empty. Flossie and I cross the threshold together. Except we don’t. Flossie takes a backward step and I have to give her a gentle tug to coax her into the room.
She twists round on her lead and makes the whole procedure somewhat difficult but, we are in, eventually.
Why are we here? Simple really. If you have read A twist in the Tail, you will know that Flossie recently had a traumatic experience involving a hedge in which she got firmly entangled. Having emerged, apparently unscathed, it transpired that, unbeknown to us, she had sustained a scratch below her ear.
Charlie, being a caring chap, has been licking this scratch for her. I discovered this, this morning and it has now created a sore patch requiring the Vet’s timely intervention.
So, here we are, standing in the waiting room, waiting to see the vet.
“Take a seat,” smiles the receptionist. I cross the floor to the bench under the window but before I can sit down, Flossie has leapt up onto the leather seat, wet muddy paws and all, and is panting wildly at the window.
I haul her down and reprimand her. Can’t she read? The notice clearly states, no animals on the seats please. Flossie doesn’t think she is an animal of course. I take a tissue from my pocket and wipe the paw marks only to find that she has twisted round and leapt right back onto the seat. She is clearly worried.
Having cleaned the seat a second time, I decide to go and wait by the door. Flossie is happier here. She can see through the glass pane and into the street. Apparently, she is happy if she can see an escape route. This makes me wonder, briefly, if she suffers from claustrophobia. This would explain her sudden determination to get out of confined spaces.
I consider the notion but dismiss it. I think she just remembers previous visits to the vet and is anxious to be gone.
We are booked in for 9.50am. At 10 o’clock, we are called.
“Barker,” says an unfamiliar, soft Irish brogue.
I look up and smile, the very good-looking, young Irish Vet beckoning us, smiles.
“Barker?” he asks.
“Well, I am Mrs Barker, this is Flossie,” I explain. Common mistake.
He laughs and makes a fuss of Floss, who is so grateful to be moving, she fairly flies into the surgery.
She is not so happy to have her face looked at.
“Wet eczema,” proclaims kind, Irish vet, “I’ll just shave the area a little to make it easier to treat,”
You will, will you?
Flossie is thinking the same thing.
My mind, and possibly hers, flits back to the last time our usual Vet tried to give her the kennel cough vaccine which is given in the form of nasal drops. Without going into detail, let me say that the entire endeavour ended with me having Floss in a stranglehold in the corner of the room while the vet, squished in with us, tried to squirt the vaccine into her nose as Flossie manfully struggled backwards and careered across the room in a blind panic.
Our usual Vet declined to give her the vaccine this year.
I convey some of this experience to new, young and kindly, Irish Vet.
He nods and smiles and suggests I hold Flossie while he uses the clippers.
I tempt her with biscuits and kind words but she is wise to what’s going on and refuses to sit still. It is at times like this that I think Floss and I are a little mismatched, she so big and me so small.
The Vet steps back and scratches his head, metaphorically speaking.
“I think I’ll take her out of her comfort zone and into the back room. I find dogs are often better away from their owners when doing this kind of thing,” he decides.
I will try anything rather than end up, bruised and battered, in the corner again.
Floss disappears into the nether regions of the practice. I am left waiting. I can hear voices. I can hear laughter but I can’t hear the sound of the clippers buzzing. I wait. I wait some more.
I hear footsteps.
Nice young Irish Vet opens the rear door and pops his head round, his expression rueful, “Had to use the scissors,” he smiles, “just putting the ointment on…and giving her an antibiotic jab, won’t be long,”
He disappears. I wait.
“All done!” a very relieved Vet reappears, with Flossie, obediently following behind.
“If you need her to have the kennel cough vaccine in future, just bring her in and we’ll take her out the back and administer it there,” he says with confidence.
I am not quite as confident as he appears to be but I will be willing to try. I smile and thank him and we make our exit with far less fuss than we entered with.
Flossie, walking sedately along the path to the car, could well be planning her next escape, however, she’ll have a job, we have had the back garden re-fenced since her last attempt.
Watch this space…
A wry look at life
Yes, it is that time of year again. The tree that was festooned in blossom in early Spring and provided shade all summer, is now ready to let go its fruit.
This would be good under normal circumstances. The tree is rooted just yards from the back door and the pears it produces are invariably juicy and sweet. There are far too many for us to use ourselves so we give lots away.
We have already handed out bags to hairdresser, daughters and work colleagues…other years have seen us putting boxes of pears outside the barn , on the roadside, for passers by to collect.
This last ploy has always been successful. Many people passing on foot, return with their cars to load a box or two into their boots.
Flossie, a lover of apples, rubber balls, bits of string and anything edible or not, loves pears too. Hence, when the initial few fall, she is first to gobble them. It is up to me to gather the pears before she gets to them. This is not the easiest of tasks.
I have to get ever more observant and compete with Flossie who can hear a pear fall from the other end of the garden. As she stands, begging to go outside, I have to find my boots and squeeze past her substantial frame. In rain or shine, bag in hand, I wander around the tree picking up any pear I may see. I check further afield and only when I am satisfied that I have them all, will I let her out.
At first there are just a few on the ground. Looking up, I can see hundreds dangling in the leaves. One strong wind and they’ll be down. I place the first few in my bag and stow them out of Flossie’s reach. Flossie is eager to get outside and of course, she will find the pear that I missed, the one that rolled into the shrubbery unseen. Ecstatic with her find, she pelts off down the garden to munch on it. The odd pear in her diet, would not be a problem of course. It is the number she eats that turn her into a bloated ball of fluff.
Every morning, I am out there, hunting for pears while Floss and Charlie stare at me from within. One morning, I collected 65 in one fell swoop, the next morning, 97. Since then, there has been a steady stream of fruit which now languishes in bags and boxes and my washing basket (all I had to hand).
Her favourite time is after dark when she can find all those pears I just cannot see. Replete, bloated and obviously in pain, she lies there panting at the end of the day and invariably, will have an accident on the kitchen floor in the night.
Every year, we have tried to forestall this situation by collecting the pears as they fall. Dave has designed weird and wonderful contraptions, mostly involving netting stretched beneath the tree, but all failed. One year, a branch, laden with fruit, grew too heavy and broke. The resulting hoard was easy to collect and resulted in several boxes set at the roadside for passers-by. If only we could catch all pears so easily!
Alas, our good intentions are thwarted, year after year.
The time has come I am afraid to take action. The pear tree has to go. Sad as we are to chop it down, it is really in the wrong place, so close to the house and in the path of our planned extension. These past weeks of pear hunting have been a pain. Flossie, who had trimmed down so nicely after last year’s feast (yes, it is that bad) is looking bloated and unhealthy again.
So, We’re going on a Pear Hunt one last time…we’re not scared…
*”We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” is a children’s book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, a favourite with my children and now my grandchildren.
I have a secret.
You didn’t think dogs had secrets? Well, think again!
There is a hole in the fence. I can squeeze through that hole. Exciting eh? I’d tell you exactly where it is but it’s my secret you see. I use it when I feel like going a bit further afield than the back garden.
This morning, Charlie and I were let out to carry out our ablutions. Between you and me, I have decided that Charlie is a bit of a goody-two-shoes.
“Come here Charlie,” and he’s there.
“Leave, Charlie,” he leaves whatever it is he isn’t supposed to have.
I should stress that this has not stopped him from shredding the fabric on the Boss’s stool, chewing up a pair of old shoes left outside the back door, using a child’s plastic plate as a frisby, and committing other minor infringements. However, all things considered, he is pretty good.
Actually, goody two shoes stuff, does pose a bit of a problem for me and my secret. You see, every time I slip through the fence, Charlie goes whining to the Boss and reports me missing. Luckily, even Charlie doesn’t know exactly where I can fit through the fence. It is buried deep in the shrubbery. The Boss has yet to figure it out too.
Take this morning for instance. I swear I saw a deer. Naturally, I raced down the garden but when I got near, that deer had vanished. Standing there, surveying the landscape, I caught the trail of something else. Following it, I discovered that it led straight to my secret gap in the fence. So, I just had to go through it didn’t I?
I knew I’d not be very long. Five minutes at most. The Boss wouldn’t even miss me in that time. I slipped through the gap into the next garden and from there it was easy to slip into the next. Finding my way round to the front of the house, I was soon heading back up the road and arrived at my own front door just in time for someone to let me in.
It’s always best to look nonchalant and wag your tail on these occasions so I did just that and although their mouths hung open, no one said a word as I walked in. I think I got away with it. Charlie was beside himself of course. He had been trying to tell them I’d gone but they were all so busy getting ready for work or whatever it is these people do, he was ignored. Never mind Charlie.
I have learnt that one of the best ways to keep a secret, is to throw everyone off the scent.
After our morning walk in the woods – which included a few wallows in the stream and lots of racing through the bluebells which the Boss keeps photographing
Charlie waited patiently, as he does, while I was showered.
Finally, we were both allowed to head off into the garden. At this point, the Boss normally gives us a treat. Today she didn’t. Today, she decided to go and hunt for the secret gap in the fence instead.
“Where’s the hole Floss?” she asked as she scoured the perimeter. Did she really expect me to tell her? A secret is a secret after all.
Charlie darted in and out of the shrubbery like a lunatic as though he might find the hole for her. (I told you, a bit of a goody-goody). The Boss took this as a sign that the hole was somewhere in the vicinity and kept climbing through the bushes and exclaiming,
“No, surely you can’t get through this Floss?” as she pulled a piece of wire up or pushed a piece of wood into place. Of course I couldn’t get through that but like I said, throw them off the scent…
My cunning plan took route.
I casually wandered around the perimeter, Charlie at my heels. I’d nose my way a bit further into the shrubbery and scrabble at the ground a bit. The Boss would be behind me, shooing me away. Crawling into the smallest of spaces, she ignored the scratches and the things in her hair and tested the fence. I sensed she was frustrated.
I moved on to another section. She followed. She shooed me away. Charlie bounced around, a little perplexed.
“Can you jump over this?” she asked, eyeing a particularly dangerous looking collection of wood, fence and tree. I would have sniggered but I don’t think we dogs can snigger — not so you’d notice anyway. I moved on, she followed.
We did this several times until we reached a particularly bramble filled patch. I had to crawl into the gap, never mind the Boss. Once she was in there, I wriggled away (I am not telling you where, it’s a secret)
Charlie noticed and tried to warn the Boss but she was so caught up in the brambles, she couldn’t extract herself with speed. Charlie shivered and shook with frustration. Finally, the Boss emerged. I only heard about this afterwards of course because by this time I was exploring the neighbourhood gardens.
I could hear the Boss calling me and I could hear Charlie barking but neither had any idea how I had got through the fence. Mission accomplished!
I hadn’t intended going for long of course but there was a lot to to see and sniff so I might have been longer than five minutes.
Charlie and the Boss decided to wander up the road and were most surprised when I came tearing up behind them, grinning with excitement.
“Where have you been?” the Boss asked.
I’d tell her if I could but she wouldn’t understand. I let her clip a lead to my collar and we trotted home.
She thinks she heard a door open and shut just before I came racing up the road. She thinks I may have gone into someone’s house but I am not telling her. I mean, who’d want a strange, soaking wet, hairy dog running through their living room?
I am resting in the house now, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. I am also pretty tired after all that adventuring but at least my secret is safe.
No, no photos, please!
Well, really, where did November go?
One minute I am watching my niece get married, on my birthday (the 1st of the month) and the next I am staring Christmas in the face.
The last few weeks have been a blur and it gets no better as December moves in.
The annual NaNoWriMo was barely attainable this year. Though I did manage to reach the target of 50,000 words – I do not feel a worthy winner since the first ten thousand had already been written. Still, as a personal goal, it was good. Next year I promise to give it my all.
Could this little chap have had anything to do with my erratic work schedule and relaxation? You bet!
Flossie and Charlie Brown are not often separated now. However, it has to be said, Flossie probably craves the odd peaceful moment. She has been off her food over the weekend so I think a trip to the Vet might be on the cards – see how forlorn she looks in this photo?
On a brighter note, we took both dogs to Fowey with us recently. It was the first time we had taken the dogs to our Cornish home and we were prepared for it to be a little – hectic.
We set out on a Thursday.
We got as far as Ringwood, a mere forty minutes down the road, when Dave’s car got a puncture.
As luck would have it, when we bumped down the slip road and into town, not knowing the area very well, we found we had pulled into an industrial estate where there was a Tyre fitting company. What were the chances?
The company was only too happy to help but could not get the correct tyres until the following morning.
Now, 40 minutes from home with two dogs and assorted luggage, what would you do? A hotel just did not seem to be an option with the dogs in tow. We unloaded the car and took a taxi home.
The photo says it all. (I had a bout of Shingles at the time so was not my normal, cheery self it has to be said).
Friday saw us taking a taxi back to the Tyre place to pick the car up. Loading it up again, we set off for the second time. The dogs behaved well in the car for the most part, though Flossie, resplendent in her new car harness, found it hard to really settle on the narrow (to her) seats. Charlie, on the other hand, snuggled down and took it all in his stride.
Four hours later, we were in Fowey.
We anticipated some problems since the house has no rear garden. (We do own a garden at the top of the cliff, but one takes one’s life in one’s hands to reach it and then it is only a postage stamp of overgrown, shrub land.) Charlie was happy to wander round the back yard (AKA path) but Flossie could barely turn round in it. She was finally allowed onto the front terrace where she could watch the passers by from on high as she squatted by the railings. It was certainly not ideal but it was a solution.
We thought we had got it sorted until we realised that in an earlier panic, Flossie had searched the house, vertically, for a place to relieve herself and had found our bedroom on the second floor.
At midnight, we were scrubbing the carpet. Alas, the stain, several hours old by now, has not completely come out, despite our best efforts, using all tips and tricks known to man. The next day, we purchased a fluffy rug. No one will ever know…
It was worth the inconvenience of traipsing to a carpet shop, just to find the salesman who was a dead ringer for Paul O’Grady, dry wit and all. Maybe it was him? Perhaps you should look out for me in a sketch in his next show…
The trip was a success all in all. We all enjoyed our walks on the beach and Charlie had his first swim. This was unintentional. The sand was there when he started running and gone when he tried to come back. Thankfully, he doggy paddled to safety. Flossie on the other hand, always the first to jump into pond or stream or muddy puddle, was strangely reticent when she saw the waves. She found a rock pool in which she splashed about, happiness written all over her face.
We plan a family holiday in the Cotswolds next year with all the children, grandchildren and three dogs. This was a test to see if our two could cope with the travelling and a new environment. I think they passed with flying colours.
Charlie Brown, though pretty good on the whole and, fingers crossed, house trained, has been delightful but exhausting in his first few weeks. He seems eager to learn and eager to please so we forgive him the odd spate of naughtiness of course.
The two dogs are great friends now – Flossie mothers Charlie and he plagues the life out of her in return. No sooner have they been in the garden than they come back in and romp around the living room. Puppies need frequent wee stops when they are playing like that so I am backwards and forwards to the kitchen door to let him in and out. I cannot grumble as my floors have been pretty safe for a couple of weeks now and a lot of the time the dogs are like this…
Oh and the doll’s house? Look at it now…(you must give artistic licence it’s due).
…and the real house…
Not bad, though I say it myself…
A slight frisson of fear ran through us just as we were about to take off from Gatwick. A lone passenger stood up and demanded to leave the plane. His sudden departure sparked an unscheduled search of overhead lockers – in case he was a terrorist and had left an explosive device on board, I presume.
The airline staff opened every locker, matching each bag to the remaining passengers.
“Why are they only searching half the plane?” hissed my worried friend, not realising that while one worked from the front to middle, her colleague was working from the back of the plane to middle.
Dave did not move – he’d fallen asleep as they closed the doors the first time.
There was a slight feeling of unease as we finally roared down the runway but this soon gave way to a feeling of relief that we were on our way, at last.
We spent a wonderful ten days in Crete. True, when Dave went to the local bank to withdraw some cash from the hole in the wall, on our last day, he found a real hole in the wall. The cash machine had been blown up in the early hours of Saturday. It’s ok, the bomb was meant for the Construction company next door and presented only a slight inconvenience to the townsfolk of Almyrida, who shrugged and carried on as usual. Someone had held a grievance against the Russian owner apparently. No one was hurt in the blast.
We went to another town to withdraw funds.
Back home, having had an uneventful return flight, we picked up Charlie Brown.
Here he is, eight weeks old and as cute as can be.
Here he is again, 9.5 weeks old and already a feisty adversary for Flossie who is extremely patient with him…
Charlie’s first night with us was memorable because it was the night of one of the loudest thunderstorms we’ve had of late. We’d put Charlie to bed in his crate and had expected a few whines. He was fairly quiet until 1.15am when lightning lit up the room and thunder rent the air.
Reluctantly, I climbed out of bed.
Dave did not move.
I was not the only one to have heard Charlie’s cries for help however. Lisa, she who also lives in this house of ours, which plays host to a variety of visitors from time to time, had also woken and we arrived at the scene together.
What met our eyes (and our nostrils) was not pleasant: One terrified puppy leaping about the cage like a demented spirit, having had a slight accident, the result of which was now not only smeared on every bar of the crate, including ceiling and floor, but was also obviously covering poor puppy who had jumped, rolled and wriggled in it in his fright.
We stopped and stared for a moment before springing into action.
Towels and rubber gloves were grabbed. The baby bath that had lain unused for a few months, was dug out and at half past one in the morning, I was bathing new puppy and wondering if this was his very first bath at the tender age of 8 weeks. Clean but decidedly wet, little Charlie was wrapped in a towel, giving him more than a passing resemblance to ET, and cradled on my lap. Happily, Lisa took charge of the crate.
We surveyed the damage. There was only way of cleaning all those crevices in the wire – the shower. So, at 1.40am, Lisa was washing the crate in the shower and I was warming up Charlie who now looked and smelt sweet again.
By 2am, little Charlie was safely back in his clean crate, snug in a fresh bed (Doris’s abandoned puppy bed came in handy) with a hot water bottle under his blanket. The washing machine was busily washing the soiled bedding, the floor had been washed and we were free to go back to bed.
The storm had passed.
Dave still had not moved.
Flossie, who had not stirred during the thunderstorm by the way – do we have the only dog in the neighbourhood who is not afraid of thunder storms? – has been marvellous with Charlie.
He has pulled her tail, hung on her ears, climbed on her head and nibbled her paws but she treats him with gentle firmness and I think she is happy to have a friend again.
So, Charlie has come to stay and promises lots of fun for the future.
So, tell me, why am I so dog-tired?
P.S. Charlie’s Pedigree name? BorderGold Pocket Rocket – very fitting!