a bit of excitement
WHAT a day!!!
Actually, most of the day wasn’t too horribly bad, but I felt like saying ‘What a day!’ right now. And that is because of what happened in the morning. I’d been up for something like fourty minutes, but I wasn’t awake yet, just sitting in front of my laptop with bleary eyes, checking through my feeds and double-clicking everything I wanted to read later, once I was officially awake (this process includes a large cup of tea). Then I noticed movement outside my window, which faces the street, and saw my Mum’s friend Ilona come up to the door with her dog, and when she saw me through the window, wave her arms and shout: “Emergency! Emergency!”
The last time she’d done that, she wanted to borrow some jewelry for a festive occasion. I hope you can understand that I didn’t get into a panic straight away. I opened the front door to her, about to say good morning and ask her in for a coffee, when she said: “Nobby [= our dog] has collapsed. Your Mum wants someone to come up to where she is with the car, he needs to go to the vet immediately.” I was looking at her until the word ‘collapsed’, after that I’d already turned around, was jumping up the stairs in double-quick time, grabbed the car keys and was almost out the door again when my sister and Dad asked what was up, and I just told them “Nobby’s collapsed, gotta go”. Then I was off, with my middle sister right behind me.
Luckily she’d paid attention when Ilona said where we had to go, because I hadn’t even thought to ask (yes, I know, I’m smart that way), so we drove – way too fast – up the paved road next to the cemetery, then turned left behind it and raced the shiny new(ish) car down the mud-and-gravel-track. Finally we could see my Mum, and she was in an even worse predicament than I’d expected. Because not only did she have a dog that had collapsed and was obviously in pain on her hands, no, exactly that morning my cousin had also brought over her five months old baby daughter, so that we could look after her while she went to see the doctor. And there was my poor Mum, sitting on the ground with one arm around the dog, who was trying to sit up despite the pain, and one hand on the pram, gently rocking it to stop little baby Sarah from crying.
It would have been funny, if it hadn’t been so horrible. So I ran to open the back of the car, my sister lifted the dog (who weighs 26 kilos) and carried him around the car and sat in the back with him and we left Mum and Sarah standing on the track, while I drove backwards almost all the way (no room to turn), then turned onto another track that led us down the fields back to civilization and a road. Three minutes later I was in the vet’s examination room, stroking poor Nobby’s head with one hand, and my sister’s back with the other – she was crying by then and holding on to the dog so he wouldn’t move around too much. And it wasn’t even remotely funny any more.
We’re lucky to have a very competent, very friendly vet who lives basically down the street from us, and he’s looked after Nobby all his life. So when he came in and I tried to explain what had happened (“Well, I wasn’t there, but apparently he saw a hare and took off after it and then just sort of collapsed and yelped in pain, and then he couldn’t get up, and I think he can’t even sit, and look, he’s bleeding there, at the side and …”) and he just looked at the way our baby was sitting and said: “I already see what’s wrong. We might have a problem.” … well, at that point, I really wanted to give up being the heroic big sister who keeps the cool head and start crying myself.
But, to cut it short, we were INCREDIBLY lucky. Or Nobby was. Instead of a broken hip or a slipped disc or … well, another really, really horrible possibility that happened to the first dog we ever had and that had hovered in all our minds all this time… it seems that he’s only got a severe attack of lumbago (what an ugly word… in German, we call it ‘witch shot’, because it feels like a witch pointed a gnarly finger and shot a curse at you while your back was turned). Everything on the x-ray picture looked just fine, so he got three injections (painkiller, something to strengthen the immune system or something, and a shot of cortisone) and the order to go home and lie still all day. We were to call our vet in the late afternoon and report on his progress.
So that’s what we did. Except for the lying still part. Yes, I know that was the only thing we were really supposed to do, but whoever said that dogs sleep most of the day, obviously never met Nobby. He can’t stand not being in the middle of the action and he usually spends all day just trotting after any family member he can find, lying on their feet, getting up to check what the rest are doing, patrolling the garden, urging us to play with him, hunting flies and bees, barking every time any neighbour dares use the street in front of our house and jumping up from wherever he is any time someones comes into the house to either bark and dance around them (= non-family member) or try and flatten them by jumping with both front paws into their stomach and then making them play with him (= family members).
Problem: we’ve got a dog with lumbago/a witch’s curse, trying to jump up and walk around, while his hind legs collapse after every third step. The solution: one-on-one dogsitting with the sitting part taken literally. Almost. I used both my arms and most of the weight in my upper body to flatten him, while my mother pressed down his head into the ground with one hand, which seriously confused him and prevented him getting up.
Alright, we did let him walk for a bit in the late afternoon. I wanted to both giggle and cry when I saw how happy he was to be moving again and how awkwardly he walked and how his legs just gave way every third or fourth step. Such an idiot dog. And I really cannot tell you how happy, how relieved I am that it’s only this, and nothing worse.
And because you’ve been so patient and read through to here, you get some pictures of the patient. Although he’s not yet a patient on these.