We did our duty today and had Florence sterilised.
Having evaded the op on Wednesday, this time she had no escape because two of us got her in the car.
She’s very sleepy this evening, and wearing an Elizabethan collar plus one of Clive’s old shirts made to (sort of) fit by being tied in multiple little peaks with string.
I prefer to think of her sitting in the orchard.
Clive was cooking with wild cherries this evening so I assumed at first that the red marks on the floor were something to do with that, but then I noticed that they were appearing everywhere Taylor walked. I looked more closely and saw blood coming from his paw.
As far as I can tell, he has badly scraped a couple of the pads on his front right paw, and split the claw right down so that the whole of the hard bit has gone leaving a sore, soft spike.
We phoned the mobile Valtopina vet – it went to voicemail – and then our longstanding vet who was about to close. The advice was to apply Neomercurocromo, that very Continental antiseptic which stains everything cherry red, and put a sock on the paw if Taylor will tolerate it. (Not a chance.)
The mobile vet noticed we’d called and phoned us back shortly after. He approved what we’d done so far, and additionally advised antibiotics.
So we now have a very sorrowful, restless Taylor in an Elizabethan collar. He can’t be allowed out off the lead, and he’s the only one of the dogs who resolutely refuses to do his business while on the lead.
That is, for the paint on our walls from the point of view of treating mould.
Red could in fact be worse – notice how it’s always red colours that fade first in the sun – and deep blue or green might be affected.
But white, cream, fawn, yellow, yellow ochre, pale green – all the really conservative colours – are more-or-less completely resistant to the bleach in the anti-mould spray.
Don’t get me wrong: I like the boldness of the strong pink in our largest room, but it’s a real nuisance when it develops fuzzy patches or, worst of all, pale vertical stripes where drips of the spray have run.
This is the worst year ever for the grey mould which appears as a grubby shadow on the ceiling wherever it meets the outside walls. Of course to treat the white ceiling wouldn’t be a problem – it’s just the pink wall adjacent to it.
So I’ve been trying to develop a ‘mobile masking tool’ to hold up into the angle between wall and ceiling. It has to have a handle so I don’t spray my hand.
The contraption is somewhere between design and prototype stages and may yet be a dismal flop, but if nothing else, I’m pleased with the Blue-Peter-ish use of scrap materials:
- a spare piece of vinyl pool liner
- stiffener cut from Joules’ broken Elizabethan collar
- a piece of wood from somewhere (I’ve given up trying to work out where)
- a short piece of hosepipe that by good fortune exactly fits onto the turned up pieces of the wood
In the picture the ‘handle’ has been propped up with a measuring tape and a roll of masking tape because I haven’t glued it yet. I’m waiting for the glue to dry on the stiffener.
The vinyl is looped up as a drip catcher.
I hope my invention works. If not I have a more elaborate Plan B for how to tackle the problematic decor.
This bone whistle, which I once wrongly thought was a ‘dog whistle’ – that is, one which sounds at frequencies audible to dogs but not to humans – was a godsend until today.
I’ve been calling Kepler with it, using a rapid piping note, and eventually, for the most part, he’s appeared on the path between the orchard and the olive grove on his way back from the neighbours’.
This morning, piping as I went, I walked on the slippery, frosty path through the far olive grove (invisible from the house) as far as the deep ditch that separates our land from the neighbours’ house which is on the opposite bank.
There was Kepler in his Elizabethan collar, running around with their dogs which number at least 4.
He started down the bank towards me twice, then seemed to be discouraged by the terrain, which is steep and wooded like that of a natural citadel.
The whistle was mainly useful in letting the humans know I was there.
“Go to Mummy! Don’t you want to go to Mummy?” This in dulcet tones from the wife who was hanging out clothes.
“He’s no problem to us,” called the husband.
“It is a problem to us,” I called back. “Our other dogs are worried and can’t settle. He’s part of a pack and he’s getting split loyalties.”
“Shall I bring him round to you?” offered the husband.
“No, thank you all the same. He needs to come back on his own.” I had visions of the husband starting up his car, opening his gate and driving round, which is what he normally does when he comes to see us.
“If you make him unwelcome he’ll go away. Turn a hose on him!” I suggested.
“We couldn’t do that.”
“Do you want to keep him?”
I thought not. Down-town guy and all that.
I don’t know quite what they did next – said “Shoo!” or something.
Anyway he hurtled down the slope this time without stopping, overshot me, circled the olive grove twice, and then accompanied me indoors where I gave him a handful of his dried food.
A nice peaceful start to Sunday morning.
- He stole and chewed the mobile phone so we have to get a new one
- He pee-ed on the rolled-up carpet which is rolled up to stop him pee-ing on it
- He pooped on a pile of coiled garden hoses so every coil had to be cleaned
- He chewed through the outer coating on my monitor cable
That’s just in one day. I think he’s letting us know what he thinks of his curfew – which has not been at all strict in any case.
Yesterday we discovered a nasty, festering sore in Joules’ armpit that he has, of course, been licking. I phoned the local peripatetic vet who I thought might have gone to work in Norway. Luckily he hadn’t. After he’d examined Joules, I asked him to take a quick look at the redness by Kepler’s private parts. He took this seriously and advised me to put the same antiseptic foam on that I will use for Joules.
Kepler started licking it off – hence the Elizabethan collar.
The vet also asked what Kepler had been eating, and in particular how much. It was something about toxicity – I didn’t follow him at all – but the upshot is that I must feed Kepler less for 4 or 5 days.
I decided not to give him breakfast any more, which I would have been weaning him off soon anyway.
Poor Kepler. More privations.
This time it’s his hind legs: the skin over the Achilles tendons, to be precise.
He has a series of sores, which scab over and then become raw again as he licks them, which he does wherever and whenever he gets the opportunity.
It’s occurred to me that it’s a form of psoriasis, perhaps brought on by the stress of Kepler’s arrival.
Be that as it may, Kepler certainly helps to keep the sores going, biting them with his needle-sharp teeth, untying the Elizabethan collar strings, and helping to undo any bandages .
Today, I tried encasing Taylor’s legs in some tubular bandage left over from Joules’ wound dressing.
The leggings looked smart, and I even felt that Taylor accepted them because of their aesthetic appeal. But they were soon the object of Kepler’s devoted attention.
One way or another, they weren’t going to survive a trip outside, so I took them off. I need to think of a better idea.