This morning’s events were triggered last night by a contretemps between Dobbie and a neighbouring dog, which resulted in what looked like a small puncture wound to Dobbie’s right front paw, into which I managed to squirt some antiseptic while his attention was distracted.
Two hours later the wound had expanded into a long, deep gash, which I tried to bandage. Dobbie does not like people trying to bandage him, and when he doesn’t like something, it’s most unlikely that it will be done. Despite a sock over his nose, and a cloth tied round his muzzle to prevent him biting, the result of my efforts was wall-to-wall Germolene, a sterile compress reduced to tatters, and half a metre of adhesive bandage stuck to his bedding. 1-0 to Dobbie.
Last night, from a small puncture hole to this:
By this morning the wound was still bigger and deeper, so off we went to the vet. Domestic animals are usually seen in the afternoon, as the vets do their farm visits in the morning, but they agreed to see Dobbie straight away. Normally the calmest of men, M. Audoux was stressed, because he had to catch a train to Paris in just over an hour and a quarter for a very important meeting. The railway station is a 40 minute drive on a good day, which means a day when the gendarmes aren’t enforcing the speed limit and there are no combine harvesters, roadworks or stray sheep on the road, and you can get into the carpark. He didn’t have much of a margin.
Even from a distance he could see the extent of the wound. “It’s going to need stitches,” he said. Déjà vu! I remembered when we were on holiday a few years back, and Dobbie had suffered a terrible cut to his foot. At the veterinary surgery in Besançon he had fought the vet, his nurse, myself and spouse to the floor before being sedated by the vet having to sit on him to keep him still long enough for the needle. I mentioned this.
It was a struggle to get his jaws tied to prevent him biting us all to death, as he was assuring us he would do. Four people holding him. It was a yet harder struggle to get the tourniquet around his leg, and even worse administering the anaesthetic. Dobbie hurled himself around so that the needle flew out of the vein, and the surgery and staff were spattered with blood squirting like champagne from a shaken bottle. The place looked like a slaughterhouse. When the anaesthetic was finally administered, Dobbie still wasn’t giving up. For twenty minutes he growled and rolled his eyes and tried to get to his feet. Time was ticking away, and M. Audoux had that train to catch. He began shaving gently around the wound, and as I saw the full extent and depth, the world swam before my eyes and started spinning.
I wandered into the waiting room, where I found a cricket covered with fluff, so I cleaned it off and took it outside onto the grass. Mme Audoux came running out. “You are going to faint?” she said, catching my arm. “No, just releasing a cricket,” I explained. “Oh mon Dieu, we thought you were going to fall down,” she laughed.
Back in the surgery Dobbie had finally succumbed and was being stitched up. But what about the dressing? How could he be prevented from chewing it off? Even the biggest collar would not stop him reaching his paw. They would try a bandage that has a particularly bitter taste, in the hope that he would keep it on. As M. Audoux snipped away a little more hair, he managed to catch his wife’s little finger with the scissors, causing her to scream. Luckily her finger was only pinched and not cut, and I thought she took it rather well. “Never mind,” said her husband, “we’ve already got an opened box of sutures if it needs stitching.”
By now there were just 50 minutes before the train would be leaving, but Dobbie was still fast asleep. One of the vets from another branch of the practice was summoned to wake him up, and the last I saw of M. Audoux was him running to his car with his briefcase.
Dobbie didn’t want to wake up. Having fought sleep so hard, he was now flat out, despite the wake-up medication, so the vet, a strapping fellow, carried him, all 40 kgs., and plopped him in the back of the car. “He’s going to behave very bizarrely when he does wake up, because of the morphine. But don’t worry, it’s normal. But I am worried about the dressing. He must keep it on. If he removes it, it could be very bad for him. I’ll give you another bitter bandage, and you’ll have to try and put it on him. But if he won’t let you, then he will have to come back and be sedated again.”
Back home, Dobbie managed to stumble from the car and stood whining, splay-legged and swaying for several minutes before I could get him into the house, where he is now fast asleep, praise the Lord.
So that’s a fortnight’s house-keeping gone. 😦
Sleeping it off: