Tag Archives: veterinarians

‘Never have more children than you have car windows.’ Erma Bombeck.

I think Erma Bombeck is being rather optimistic here, implying at least some form of orderly conduct is possible as long as each child has a window of their own.  Then again, I imagine she was probably also talking about children of the two-legged variety, rather than those of the fourlegged persuasion.  Anyone who has ever had more than one dog in a car at any given time will know that, no matter how many available windows there might be, every dog will be absolutely desperate to look out of the exact same one . . .

Adding to the general car-chaos in my household is the fact that none of my girls actually like being in the car in the first place.  Even when I do get a day when it appears they have all decided to be good and are happy, smiling and sitting nicely, I can almost guarantee that before we are even out of the driveway they will have somehow managed to transform themselves into a confused and tangled little mass of collars, leads, legs and grumbly, snappy little faces.

(And if (God help me) one of them also gleans that we might actually be on the way to the v.e.t. instead of the beach, any hope of establishing the slightest modicum of doggy-decorum immediately flies out of the very same window they are all still arguing about . . . )

And the fun doesn’t stop there.  By the time we eventually arrive at our destination all three of them will have wound themselves up into such a frenzied state that I will need all my wits about me to get them out of the car again.

I know that as soon as I open the car door Maudie will make her break for freedomand she is fast!!  I have to make myself as large as possible in the doorway and make sure I have her leash well in hand before I allow her any space to move at all.  (Still being clipped in to her seatbelt has never been an issue when trying to escape the car . . . )

While attempting to wrangle Maudie I will also be watching Molly as she is always an accident waiting to happen.  Molly is somewhat clumsy on her feet these days (and a tad portly to boot) and if she were to jump from the car without my help she would be more than likely break whatever leg she landed on first or even completely forget to put her legs under her at all and bellyflop hard on to the ground.  (She’s knocked all the wind out of herself one more than one occasion!)  She is also a slippery little sucker when she doesn’t want to be caught . . .

And, of course, by the time I have cornered Molly and placed her gently on the ground next to Maudie, I am likely to find that Maudie is, actually, no longer where I thought she was.  Somehow she has managed to get herself back inside the car again (why?  why?) and is now hiding beside her sister Mabel, who has positioned herself (immovable as a rock) as far away from me as she possibly can, having obviously decided that no matter how much she hates the car whatever is outside is much, much worse.  Sigh.

I’ve been considering for a while now what best to do about the situation.  Apart from never (ever ever)  taking the girls in the car again which, unfortunately, isn’t really feasible, I’ve decided that something similar to the option below might be the way to go.

I’m not quite sure about the legal ramifications though . . .


Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘Manicures: Which are basically just holding hands with a stranger for forty-five minutes whilst listening to Enya.’ Miranda Hart.

manicureI have never had a professional manicure.  Not that I have anything against them—I love fancy nails and have myself worn artificial nails for years and years.  It’s just that there are so many great DIY products on the market now and I can’t see the point in paying to have someone else do my nails for me when I can quite easily do them myself.

wineAnd I have always enjoyed doing my own nails to tell you the truth.  I find it relaxing.  I usually do them on a Sunday evening, when the weekend is nearly over and I am ready to just sit for a while to get my head ready for another working week.  I gather all the necessaries around me (emery boards, false nails, glue, nail polish, glass of red wine . . . ) settle myself comfy in front of the telly and spend the next hour or so lazily buffing, gluing, polishing . . .  and sipping . . .

If I could only convince my girls that getting their own nails trimmed was something equally relaxing and pleasant to look forward to, but alas . . .

When the dogs were very tiny I decided I would take on the task of keeping their nails trimmed myself. I mean, how hard could it be?  I admit I was nervous using the clippers though, and worried about accidentally hurting them during the process—and they played on that fear from the start.  Maudie immediately developed an amazing ability to turn herself inside out and upside down with incredible dexterity, escaping my clutches with ease (and then dancing tantalisingly just out of reach and smiling smugly the whole time).  

barking dogsMabel, although not as strong as or wilful as Maude, developed her own guaranteed ‘release mechanism’—a series of ear-splitting shrieks loud enough to make your teeth ache (and which would also incite every other dog in the neighbourhood to start howling in sympathy).

Molly, by comparison, was a sweetheart.  She would quite happily roll over and let you work on her nails.  Unfortunately, she has miniscule black nails surrounded by black fur and most of the time I couldn’t even see her nails, let alone trim them.  It was just all too fraught. I started to look for alternatives.

getoverit‘Perhaps I could try emery boards instead?’, I thought.  The girls only have teeny-tiny feet and teeny-tiny nails, so why not?  HA!  Like that was ever going to happen.  The first time I tried to use an emery board on Mabel she looked at me as if I had gone stark-staring mad—and Maudie tried to kill it.

grinderA groomer friend of mine then gave me an electric nail-grinder to try.  She used it on all her dogs and thought it was great.  So I carefully read all the instructions, got it all set up and ready to go, turned it on  and . . . poof . . . the girls all disappeared as if by magic.  I found them all huddled together under my bed, and no matter how much I wheedled or cajoled they flatly refused to come out again.  Ever.  Sigh.  Okay.  I give in.  I know when I am beaten.

Dog-Chasing-TailSo from then on every six weeks it was off to the local Vet Surgery to get our nails trimmed.  It always starts the same way.  ‘Who wants to go in the car?’ is inevitably answered by a mad, joyous (and loud) rampage around the house, barking, running in ever-decreasing-circles and bouncing off the walls in their excitement.  I let them get on with it, quietly positioning myself by the back door, leashes in hand, and watch the birds at the birdfeeder until the madness abates.  Eventually they will all calm down and come and sit at my feet (although still emitting little wriggles and ‘yips’ of excitement, which I have to totally ignore because if I even look like I am going to smile they will get silly all over again).  I swear, it takes longer to get them all into the car than it does to actually drive to the Surgery.

The calm never lasts long either.  On arrival Mabel will suddenly realise where we are and push herself as far into the back corner of the car as possible, digging her little heels in and refusing to move.  Maudie will have already leapt out of the car and be dashing back and forth as far as her leash will allow, tangling everyone else up in the process, and Molly—well Molly just likes to make sure that everyone knows she has finally ‘arrived’.  She will puff herself up to twice her usual size, and begin to bellow . . . at the cars in the parking lot . . . and the plants in the garden . . . and the cat sitting on the Surgery step (who has heard it all before and is so not interested) . . . and once we get inside the Reception area she will gradually ramp it up a notch or two, just to make doubly sure that everyone in the back of the building knows she’s out the front . . . and waiting . . .

nailsHappily Gavin and the staff at CamVet are well used to such shenanigans and will brook no nonsense from three tiny dogs (kicking and squealing gets them no sympathy here) and we are usually in and out with our nails looking gorgeous in a very short time.

It’s a funny thing though.  Although I tell everyone that our six-weekly sojourn is worth every penny (and it really is) I can’t always shake the feeling in the back of my mind that somehow I’ve been conned.  How is it that I am so happy pay for my three little dogs to be professionally manicured on a regular basis but unwilling to do the same for myself?

Perhaps I’ll go put on some Enya and have a bit of a think about that . . .


Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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‘I wanted to be a veterinarian until I saw a video of a vet performing surgery on a dog. Then I decided I wanted to be a pianist.’ Amy Lee.

badbackThis week at morning tea at the college we had a lively discussion about medical diagnosis, alternative treatments and the importance of getting a second opinion.  I can’t quite remember how the conversation started (somebody’s bad back I think) but at one point it was suggested that perhaps that person might be best to get a second opinion from our local vet, as whatever their doctor was doing for them definitely wasn’t working.  We all laughed of course, but I am not sure that the suggestion was entirely silly  . . .

sick catI have a huge amount of respect for vets.  As you might imagine, having had many dogs and cats over the years I have spent a lot of time at my local vet surgery.  I’ve been very lucky.  For the most part our visits have been for the ‘usual’ yearly checkups, injections, nail clippings and minor infections, and only once or twice for something more serious, but I have always been amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge that a vet has to have.  Not only does the vet have to be a general practitioner (and very probably also their own radiologist, surgeon, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, nutritionist, allergist, groomer, business manager, and legal expert) but he (or she) also has to be a general practitioner across multiple species.  (I guess a human doctor could say that too on occasion—but he’d have to be very careful who he said it to . . . )

And, unlike most human doctors, the vet has to be able to diagnose an animal who can’t, at least in words, give him any indication of what the problem is.  In addition, the vet’s patient may also (no matter however cheerful and docile at home) be just as likely to kick, bite, or scratch (or all of the above) the hand that is trying to help it—even when visiting for something very minor.

crazy dogA case in point.  My Maudie loves everybody and everything.  She is the happiest, lickiest, waggiest little dog I have ever owned—but it regularly takes three grown adults (and very stern words from her mum) to keep all 6 kilos of her under control when I take her in to get her nails clipped.  (I am sure our lovely vet Gavin and his team (CamVet) have seen it all before, and probably much worse, but I do find it very annoying.  Does it really have to be such a drama every single time??)

BloodhoundShakingOffWaterLeft_Med And it was because of these drama-queen antics that I had to take Maudie into the vet again this week.  She’d had an ear infection several months ago and although I’d had ear drops to administer (8 drops in each ear, twice a day, for 10 days—oh dear God) I was pretty sure I had ended up wearing more of those drops myself than ever went near her ears.

(I did take her back to Gavin at one point to tell him the issues I was having putting the drops in but she sat there like a lamb (smiling sweetly at me the whole time) and let Gavin put the drops in with no problem at all.  Gavin looked at me like I was the diva.  Sorry Gav, but you did.  The next morning when I tried to administer the drops again, the shrieking and thrashing reached epic proportions.  Maudie’s shrieking and thrashing—not mine—although . . . )  

Anyway, although she never complained out loud, over the last couple of weeks I had caught Maudie a number of times with her back foot gingerly probing her ear, so I was pretty sure the problem was still there.

sedatedSo it was back to Gavin to get those ears checked out.  Happily, this time Maudie did her little freak-out in front of witnesses (yay!—see it is her, not me—I felt thoroughly vindicated) and it was decided that as she was obviously not going to let me (or anyone else) anywhere near her ears ever again, the best course of action was to keep her in the surgery for a day to be sedated and have her ears thoroughly cleaned out and treated while she was out for the count.

That meant no breakfast that morning (wow—and that is a whole other story) and all the extra fun that goes with trying to get only one dog out of the house and into the car without becoming homicidal (dogicidal?) with the other two, or becoming totally deranged and incoherent myself in the process.  (Tricki Woo going ‘crackerdog‘ has nothing on my three girls.)  But we got there, of course, as we always do, and as crazy as she makes me sometimes, I fretted about her all day.  Not because she wasn’t in good hands, because she was—just because—well—you do . . .



When it came time to pick her up that afternoon I was told she had been ‘good as gold’ and had just ‘sat quietly smiling at everyone’ all day.  I was not overly surprised at that—my girls are all much braver in a ‘pack’ than they are as individuals and Maudie is a big smiler anyway—but I do also think it might have something to do with the sedative which was obviously still in her system.  After a brief but riotous reunion with her sisters, (and after she had finished her dinner, of course—no breakfast, remember?) she settled cozily into her favourite spot on the couch, still a little bleary-eyed and unfocussed, and happily hummed a little tune to herself until she finally fell into a deep, deep sleep.

It had been long, exhausting day for a little dog (and her mum).  I wonder if those sedatives are available on-line . . .


Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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