Last time Sam shared his love of Christmas and parties (well sausages and cheese with a little bit of dancing). But his life was not always carefree with a medical issue that needed emergency medical treatment.
Chapter Fifteen – Teeth Cleaning and Reflections on my Life
We had been in Madrid for about a year when one day I started to feel unwell. I had experienced tummy upsets periodically since I was about two years old. Sally would take me to the vet who would give me antibiotics and I would be alright again for a couple of months. At first they thought it was the food I was on and certain things did appear to be the trigger but no one came up with a definite answer.
The problem persisted in Madrid and in addition to the tummy upsets I began to feel feverish and suffered severe pain in my gut. We were going down south for a few weeks and the trip was agony for me. We had to stop every hour or so for me to get out and visit the bushes and by the time we got down to our apartment I did not feel very well at all.
Sally gave me some of my medicine and I spent a restless night. The next morning they had decided to take me to the vet where I was registered and as we left the apartment they noticed that I was bleeding onto the tiles.
They rushed me over to the animal hospital immediately where I had to go through the usual indignities of temperature and the most agonising examination I have ever had.
I also had what they call an ultra sound which looks into your body and the vet came back very concerned.
Apparently since I became adult I had suffered from a swollen and enlarge prostate that was badly infected. There was only one answer and that involved an operation.
Before I had the operation I had to have pills for six weeks to lower my testosterone levels and antibiotics. David and Sally decided to bring me back to Madrid to my normal vet, a very nice Spanish lady who smelt good and always gave me cheese after my injections.
I had no idea what the medication was for but I can tell you after two weeks something very strange began to happen. I lost interest in my girlfriends. Normally I would drag David around every night for nearly an hour visiting them all, kissing them through the fence and promising all of them my undivided love and attention. Now I would get about 100 yards down the road and wonder what I was doing there. Instead of thirty strategic wees along the way, I was down to one that lasted forty seconds on the nearest available bush. Very strange and I felt rather depressed about the whole thing.
Six weeks later and I could not even remember all my girlfriends’ names and seemed to spend my time dreaming of my favourite foods instead.
At least the pain was better and after six weeks David and Sally took me to my vets for the operation. Sally was very tearful which I did not understand as she told me I was just going to have my teeth cleaned. The vet gave me a little injection that I barely felt and I suddenly found myself feeling dizzy and sleepy. I slowly slid to the ground and lowered my head onto my paws. I heard David and Sally leave and tried to call for them but the next minute I was gone.
When I woke up I was still very groggy and my mouth felt a little sore. While I had been asleep they had taken the opportunity to give me a quick scale and polish but what I could not understand was why my bum hurt too!
I am absolutely fine now and have not experienced any further problems although I have to say that I do miss the girls and occasionally when I am out on my walks I get a whiff of a scent in the air that makes my tail wag and a memory of past lady friends stirs in my mind.
Of course the downside is that dogs in my position tend to focus on other pleasures, particularly those of a culinary variety. I have found that ladies are not the only thing missing from my life as sausages and full fat cheese seem to have gone the same way.
Other areas of my life remain the same. I still perform an extremely important function within the pack and I have to say that there is no doubt that they could not do without me.
I am still head of security and I carry out such duties as warning off Magpies who violate our airspace, helicopters that fly too low, the postman on his motor scooter who is not allowed through the gate and any domestic cats who might think they can make their beds on the sofa on the terrace.
One of my most important roles is barking up the shutters in the mornings after my walk and barking them down again at night. I receive a couple of pieces of cheese for this particular job as well as a great deal of praise.
The most important role however is as security consultant and back up to Sally. I listen very carefully to her language and tone and if she raises her voice or indicates any form of over excitement then I immediately move into the back up position and growl and bark accordingly. I am very protective of her and David has said it is my job to keep her safe at all costs. For this job I don’t need payment in the form of food and instead I accept several hugs and kisses. I still get my love in on the rug in front of the fireplace and David still manages to get down on the mat to hold my marrow bone for me which brings me great joy.
I am a very happy individual with simple needs. My dinners are wonderful with French dog biscuits, cooked chicken and chewy gizzards. Two or three times a week I have a hard-boiled egg and I really enjoy these best when they are still warm. Sally is always watching her weight and mine I am afraid to say but she still lets me have the occasional treat including one of her yoghurt covered rice cakes.
I am not up to spending hours chasing my ball in the garden but apart from my two big walks a day, David and I also check the perimeter of our property for intruders after lunch. I have several rather useful holes dug under bushes that need inspecting regularly and I still enjoy sneaking a crafty nip at an exposed leg from time to time.
If any of you dogs out there reading this story are having as good a life as I have then you are lucky indeed.
I now lie overlooking the mountains as the sun goes down – I can see across the valley to the hills on the other side and I can hear the dogs down there below me saying good night to each other. As I look back on my long and happy life and the friends that I have known and loved, I would not be anywhere else but here with my family.
©Sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009
Thank you for reading my memoir and I hope you have enjoyed my story. If you do not have a dog then perhaps you might adopt one and treat them to some sausages and cheese and a ‘love in’.. They will love you back loads.
If you would like to browse through Sally’s books..
You can find all my books at these links:
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As always I look forward to your comments.. thanks Sally