This week, dogs. I know, I know, they’re not strictly smallholdery animals. We love to eat pig, turkey and cockerel, but we have never, ever eaten a dog. And intend never to do so.
No, dogs have been taking up quite a lot of our time recently. And money. Of course, as we have three of them, they do tend to take up a lot of time. And, because we have three of them, they do tend to take up a lot of money.
But in the last few weeks, the Big Brown Dog has worn a groove in the road to the vet’s surgery. Perhaps if I mention the name of the esteemed practice here I may receive a small discount on future consultations? I think not, but here goes, just in case – The Merlin Veterinary Group (Kelso branch). And we have surely experienced their full range of small animal services recently.
The Big Brown Dog is a cross-breed, rottie cross staffie, to be precise. He came from the Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home, no doubt some Buckfast-fuelled ned’s idea of trying to produce some kind of double-devil dog. It backfired, big style. He is big and lazy, like a Rottweiler, and loyal and child-friendly like a staffie. A Big Brown Softie.
Although now used to a life of absolute luxury at Shoogly Towers, hand-fed each morning by Gamford from a silver salver, he often forgets his new place in society and lets rip from the back of the Rolls Royce when he spots a shell-suited, baseball-hatted ned dragging on a cigarette standing on some street corner. Oh, how we laugh at the unfortunate chap’s reaction to the hullabaloo coming from behind the heavily-tinted glass. Stealth barking.
I have wondered what would happen if someone had, say, a heart attack, and actually dropped dead on the pavement. Would we be liable?
However, I digress. The last few months have not been kind to the Big Brown Dog.
Firstly he was licking some kind of scab that just wouldn’t heal. So down to Merlin and, kerching! A consultation and drugs.
A week or so later, down to The Cobby for a refreshing dip. He leapt in, yelped and came back out, foot bleeding. He had stood on some broken glass, no doubt a broken Buckie bottle. Ned’s revenge.
Kerching! Another consultation, anaesthesia, stitches, and more drugs.
Another week or two and Jock the Patterdale (remember him? Teeth with a dog wrapped around) got too excited and grabbed him by the leg. Kerching! Consultation and more drugs.
Then, two weeks ago, the piece de resistance, a tooth chipped on a stone. Not just chipped though, pretty much broken in half from top to below the gum line. I can only imagine how excruciating that would be. We thought he had just chipped off the top and took him home to call the vet for advice, but he immediately started moping around, not eating or drinking. So off we went again.
Kerching! Consultation and painkillers, and the promise of a Big Operation to remove the entire tooth the next day.
Totting it all up, we could have bought a pedigree pooch and been quids in for the same money, but just one look into those Big Brown Dog eyes ...
I must say, the fantastic care and attention he has received from Merlin was worth every penny. But I also have to thank you, Tesco pet insurance. Thank you, thank you.