The Convalescent

It is a little known fact that the dog of this house underwent an unsettling change on Thursday last.

Macaulay the wiry haired terrier had a paw which was asking him questions. Even a great monumental plastic cone couldn’t keep him from trying to answer them.

It was not a happy paw, and so early on Thursday morning he was driven to the vets to be put under the knife.

Anyone who saw the title ‘Mac The Knife’ on Friday’s post need be in no doubt what was troubling me. I don’t like operations myself, I’ve had one go belly-up complete with mad ambulance dashes; and I don’t like operations for my dog either.

But needs must. A poorly paw is a poorly paw.

The whole Nil By Mouth concept gave the dog grevious cause for concern. Maddie and Felix assumed responsibility for policing the business. Reminders went up around the house, penned by its minors: MACAULAY CURFEW: 6PM – 6:30AM.

Woe betide anyone who offered that ever-receptive pair of jaws a tidbit during these dark hours.

The dog became imperative in his body language. He sat in silent tummy-rumbling outrage for hours on end, and finally, disgusted, Β retired to sleep with his back to us.

Thursday dawned early and very strange. Phil began the day by walking Macaulay in the forest, and then took him for his eight o’ clock assignation with the dog doctor. When Phil grabbed the lead to take him away the dog was delighted: another walk? He signalled. Capital!

I had to turn away as they walked off down the drive, and apply myself rigorously to the day, in which many things happened, but there was a lonely vacuum in my home. There was no one to go running with; no one to reassure, grumble at, banter with, feed, exist alongside. My companion was on a table, having his paw dealt with, and I will be honest and say I was a little bereft.

We got a call about two in the afternoon. The dog had woken up. He was groggy: but not so groggy that he could not eat a large bowl of doggie chow.

We collected him at six that evening, and since then Macaulay has been a convalescent dog. Mainly because the anaesthetic has played havoc with his digestive system and the wind which normally graces his human family with such largesse was trapped inside, giving him gyp.

He was unhappy with things all day yesterday, rubbing his nose and squirming on the carpet, whining and uncomprehending of the source of his discomfort. We stroked him and pampered him and talked to him, and nothing could take the pain away.

After a frankly disquiet night, the dog woke with that old light in his eye.

He went running with Phil, and it was Phil who relented first, returning because the cold of the early morning was -5c, and was freezing his cheeks. The swarthy terrier seemed far more comfortable, covered as he was in tough brown hair perfect for the conditions.

The dog emerged at lunchtime to help clear up a helping of lasagna which was too much for its first owner.

He ran ragged through the forest with the family this afternoon, putting the snow bang to rights.

And at tea time, while we munched and played Narnia Risk, he took advantage of a diversion in which White Witch was trying to rob Peter of some substantial tracts of land. He went into Stealth Mode, and robbed Felix of a substantial chocolate slice.

I walked back into the sitting room, having taken a sponge out of the oven, and the whole room was in uproar. “It’s terrible, Mum!” Felix shouted.

“What;s happened? ” I asked. “Has the White Witch won?”

“No,” rejoined Phil, “But the Brown Witch has though…”

Welcome back, old rogue.

The convalescent had not quite finished with the sympathy vote, however. Felix is relieved to have his hairy playmate back. He was finishing his tea, brandishing a replacement chocolate slice as he elaborated his tactics for vanquishing the white witch.

All at once we became aware that the cardinal sin was being committed: Felix had thrown his arm around his furry friend- not a mealtime occupation – Β and his chocolate-slice-gesticulation had carried the slice within inches of Macaulay’s nose.

We now know that our synapses work faster than Macaulay’s. Phil, Maddie and I shouted “No!” and Felix whipped the cake away Β with fractions of a second to spare.

Macaulay was cruelly deprived of a second slice of cake. We now have concrete evidence that our dog is no longer convalescent.

He has returned to his healthy, wiry, thieving self once more.


59 thoughts on “The Convalescent

  1. I am just setting off for a lunch invite in Surrey, but my day has started in a brilliant way with this lovely tale about your naughty little dog. Welcome back Macaulay.

  2. So very glad for Macaulay and all the family that he is back to his normal self. Nothing worse than to see a family member in pain and soooo much better to see that pain go away. Happy Sunday to Mac.

    1. Alas, Karen, we have grappled with this whole chocolate thing for years. Macaulay is such a consummate thief that it is not the first time he has sampled chocolate. The first few times we panicked and ran him straight to the vets, but these days, since it seems to leave him still standing and unaffected, we sigh and vow to store such foodstuffs ever higher…

  3. Well done, Macaulay! Brave soldier on the mend. And as for the chocolate, while I’m aware of the dangers reported by vets and dog lovers the world around, we had an Irish Setter when I was growing up whose taste for cacao derivatives was… impressive. She would go to great and felonious lengths to acquire it. And she lived to be a grande dame of a dog.

  4. This calls for a typically South African response, even if I have to explain it. Viz: ‘Ag SHAME!’

    The ‘Ag’ is pronounced like, and has much the same effect as, the Scots ‘Och’. The ‘shame’ is used to express a combination of ‘poor thing’ in a sympathetic way, and ‘how cute’.

    1. I have heard of ‘shame’ before – and a South African friend living here used to baffle me by using it all the time! Thank you for explaining it so beautifully, and for the sentiments in Macaulay’s favour. I shall go and bestow an ‘ach, shame’ on him right now!

  5. Mac’s reactions are absolutely tip-top, then Kate! No worries there. πŸ™‚

    Re the chocolate, when my springer Rolls was diagnosed with epilepsy and had to have up to four tablets twice a day, the vet recommended giving them to him embedded in slices of Mars bar, which worked a treat! He suffered no ill effects from the Mars bar and it made the whole thing a fleeting pleasure for him and for me!

    1. πŸ˜€ I’ve never heard of a vet prescribing chocolate before. What larks! Mac used to adore tables and eat them first, before his food. Screw loose somewhere. However that has recently changes after Phil started wrapping each piece of medication in a slice of salami…

      1. It worked well! I’d used cheese previously but it took a lot of cheese to hide four tablets and a good Cheddar is prone to cracking. Ah, what red-blooded dog isn’t partial to treats from the deli?! πŸ™‚

  6. Dear Kate,
    I so enjoyed this posting as I came to know Macaulay better. What a fine dog he is. A true companion. I’m happy for Felix that his buddy is thriving again.


  7. Very entertaining read Kate and I am happy that the doggy is feeling better. My dog had to be put under anaesthetic recently and I can sympathise with you, especially in regard to the nil by mouth (even water) – I was worried all day and such relief when it was all over – Sheba has since forgiven me for the traumatic experience πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s amazing how much they do forgive and forget, isn’t it Gabrielle? Your dogs are total poster pin-ups: Phil and I spent quite a lot of time gazing at them when you posted pictures πŸ™‚

  8. So glad dear Macaulay is up to his old tricks! Just like a child, after a period of illness we are even pleased with their naughty behaviors for a while…we look for signs that all is well! You got your sign! No more emergencies or surgeries for anyone in the Shrewsday household! Debra

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