It’s been a sickly week Chez RLC.
This is the way these things usually go round here with illness: Child A brings home a snuffle from school, passes it on to Child B. Both cough and splutter their way around the house and about their business, while Mr RLC and I exchange dark looks and predict how long it will take for our festering little carrier monkeys to pass it on to us. Then Mr RLC gets a version of it that hits him five times harder than it hit the kids, and for some reason I appear to have some sort of immune system of the immortals that means I never get anything more than a sore throat. That’s fine by me, and some may say lucky, but this affliction can also render me occasionally voiceless – which in this house counts as a MAJOR disadvantage. Have you ever tried to croak your instructions over the noise of two tweens yeeting and sheeshing over Fortnite? It’s a losing battle before you even start, and usually has to end in some sort of TV remote takeover.
Anyway, it’s been that sort of week here, although minus the sore throat and loss of vocal authority (touch wood) – but the added complication this time around is that our Bertie Pup has also been under the weather. The little fellow sustained an injury to his neck at the weekend – we weren’t there, but it seems to have been while he was airing his views to another dog who disagreed with him, and because he is a Small Pup who thinks he’s a Big Dog, he came off worse. A couple of trips to the vet later and he’s on the mend, but he’s needed a tight care routine, which took a bit of getting used to for us both. I’ve got better at the whole dog-nursing thing, but here’s how his care plan went on Day 1.
Bathe the Wound
“With a bowl of warm, salty water, gently bathe and clean the area.” Now this would be simple if said wound wasn’t buried in several inches of fluff and fur, tight under one ear and in the crook of his neck – although Berts was easily distracted by the flannel that I was trying to bathe him with, because he wanted to lick all the salt water off it.
Keep him Calm
If it was up to me, this would be an absolute breeze – but he was determined to spend his day tearing around the place, barking at his food bowl, worrying at his wound and generally refusing to settle anywhere. He was so unlike himself (normally curled up peacefully at my side while I work) that I began to wonder if he was having hallucinations – and given that he was a bit feverish with the infection, I guess it’s as possible for dogs as humans…I wonder what they see!
Two Pills Twice a Day
Here’s where the fun really gets going. Normally he’s easy to tempt with food and treats, but he was right off everything, apart from the occasional bowl of rice, and it’s impossible to hide an antibiotic in there – he’s like a truffle pig when it comes to ferreting out stowaway tablets. Which makes all of my usual sneak-feeding tactics completely obsolete – he even turned his little snoot up at a pile of grated cheese in which the pills were cunningly disguised. Which meant we had to do it The Hard Way.
I read many articles on How to Give your Dog a Tablet, all of which seem to assume that your dog will be open and willing to help, graciously opening their mouths when their noses are pointed towards the ceiling, and swallowing obligingly when the tablet is popped over the tongue. Either mine is made differently, or he’s just an awkward little cuss, because his jaws remained clamped shut at all times. When at last I got an “in” through the side, he allowed the pill into his mouth, and promptly shot it out through his front teeth like some sort of dispensing machine. Eventually, with much coaxing and some throat stroking, it disappeared. I was tempted to think my kindly nursing was rewarded with compliance, but frankly I think he got bored of the game and realised he’d have to give in first.
I’m delighted to report that he is doing so much better this end of the week – the hallucinations have disappeared, he’s sleeping through the night and he’s eating cheese again. Unfortunately, in spite of my hours of care and ministrations, he’s found a new place he prefers to spend his day…curled up at the feet of Mr RLC in the study! Little turncoat – some dogs have no gratitude. But it’s impossible to say that to this face.