The last few days have been absolutely hectic! Pamela and Richard have been up with two-year old Charlie. Charlie did the same thing that he did last time he came to stay with me, he runs away from me, laughs and cries and has to be lifted out of my reach, however, within an hour or so, we are the best of buddies. It is nevertheless, very exhausting for a young man like me to have an extraordinarily active young boy of two rushing backwards and forwards all the time. He litters my bed with his toys and when I pick them up and start chewing them I’m told off by everybody.
However, that afternoon I blotted my copy book by doing a poo on the landing. Daddy saw it just as Charlie was coming down the stairs and he pointed it out to Charlie and said, who did this? Charlie said it wasn’t him and so Daddy looked round to me. I looked as innocent as anything but I think Daddy knew it was me because my ears went back as they always do when I’m guilty of something. Daddy cleared it up as usual and the rest of the afternoon and evening went fine although I was bored by having to watch cartoons that satisfy Charlie’s intellectual ability.
One afternoon Charlie wasn’t feeling too good so he went and sat in his Papas chair covered in blankets while he drank some juice. He looked very poorly and I was quite jealous because I’m not allowed to sit in the chair.
This was done by Jill, the daughter of Daddy’s secretary Helen, who has worked with Daddy for 28 years. When Helen showed it to Daddy he laughed at it, watching me doing my dance. I hope all my friends enjoy it, have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Daddy and Susie decided because of the recent award by The Care Commission awarding Inchmarlo House Care Home, Grade 6- Excellent, we should celebrate by having a traditional afternoon tea for all the residents and their families. All of them were therefore invited with a very nicely printed invitation and I was absolutely delighted when I saw that Daddy had put my photograph on the back of it in full colour.
Unfortunately on the Sunday the snow was extremely heavy. Daddy and Mummy arrived in time for lunch and after lunch Daddy and I drove all round Inchmarlo to make sure that all the roads were clear. They had in fact been cleared by the snow plough twice already that day so he had no difficulty driving round. Afterwards the three of us went for a walk round Westfield and it was a lovely fresh day in between snow showers. We went back into the House and Daddy checked and found that half the external guests had already phoned in giving apologies saying that road conditions were such that they didn’t think they could venture out. Karen phoned the remaining people and said that they didn’t advise them to come because of the road conditions. One or two families braved the weather and so it was decided that the afternoon tea would be served to those residents and their relations but the special afternoon tea would be served to the residents at the normal tea-time.
Daddy took photographs of Head Chef, Colin Davidson and his staff behind the traditional sandwiches – cucumber, smoked salmon, egg and cress and egg mayonnaise and those residents with relations were invited to come through and sample some, or all, of the gateaux which were Zabaglione Cake and Lemon Meringue Pie by Harry’s Bar of Venice, London and New York, and Grapefruit Cake by Brown Derby of Hollywood. These have proved to be tremendously popular with the residents and were originally sampled at some of the 39 Food Tasting Dinners held over the years.
I of course was not allowed into the Dining Room. When Daddy and Mummy were chatting to the residents and their relations I was behind the reception desk with Karen and then when the guests were beginning to leave I was taken into the reception lounge where I sat with my friend Mrs Faulks who is very nice to me and speaks to me in a language I can understand. Jimmy Hutchison whose mother-in-law has just moved into Inchmarlo House wanted to see me and came through with his son and daughter and spoke to me.
I was very disappointed because I had been told that I was going to be meeting the families of my friends in the Care Home. Ah well, it just shows you how weather can affect even the best laid plans of both dogs and adults.
I couldn’t wait to go back to the surgery because I have found the protective hood I’ve had to wear extremely uncomfortable. It also caused irritation to my neck and the loose skin around my neck started to get very sore. Mummy and Daddy rubbed Savlon on it but when that didn’t work they phoned Ardene who said it was alright to take off the hood provided I was watched all the time and did not try to bite or lick my stitches. I must say I was remarkably good and patient and never went near my operation scar. Every so often Mummy and Daddy looked at it but I left it alone.
The day came when I went back out to Ardene. First I went into see my friends and then went through to the surgery where veterinary surgeon Mark examined me. Mark said I was looking fine so he took off my hood and my goodness was I glad to see the last of it.
The second Tuesday in December turned out to be the beginning of the worst day of my life.
We left the house very early and went to Ardene and I went in with my usual enthusiasm to see all my girlfriends who work behind the reception. They came out and knelt on the floor and tickled my tummy and I walked round in circles and I had a super time. Then I was taken into a room, Daddy left me with the nurse and from then on it went downhill.
A young veterinary surgeon, Catherine, took out a razor and started to cut off the hair on my right front leg and I had no idea why she was doing this. Then she took a syringe with a huge needle and stuck it into my leg. I did not like that at all! When I’ve had injections in the past its usually been into the back of my neck and I’ve never really felt anything and I was always told how brave I was. This time, I felt the prick and I do not know what happened next but some hours later I woke up to find that I was being fitted with a plastic hood round my neck which is really like a lampshade. I didn’t like it but I was simply too weak to protest. Daddy phoned at 1pm to find out how I was and he was told that I was doing fine. I jolly well wasn’t.
When he came to collect me at about 3.00 pm, I was taken out to the big waiting area and I simply stood there and as Daddy later told Mummy, I looked like a zombie. I couldn’t move, I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t recognise anybody or anything. When Daddy couldn’t get me to walk to the car to go home he had to pick me up and carry me through the reception and as I’m 21 kilos he has difficulty lifting and carrying me. Going out to the car, one of the young girls came with him and he asked her to go into his pocket to take out the key to unlock the car boot since he didn’t want to put me down and lift me up again.
We got home and Mummy was waiting for me and he carried me out of the car and put me into the vestibule. I just stood there and wouldn’t move and so Daddy had to pick me up again and take me through to my bed in the kitchen. I felt absolutely awful! I didn’t really know what had happened to me but I later heard that I’d had an operation that meant I was never going to be able to have any sons or daughters. The vet had said that I had to get a special diet which came in three cans which is apparently very nutritious for dogs who have had operations. Quite frankly I didn’t feel like eating anything and I wouldn’t drink any water. I more or less slept the whole afternoon and evening. I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs to my toilet area because I was just so weak so Daddy had to both carry me up and down, which he found very difficult to do.
The next, Wednesday, I was feeling slightly better but I hated the hood round my neck. When I was eventually persuaded to go through to have something to eat, the hood of this plastic thing hit the dishes and I couldn’t get my nose into the dish. Unlike other peculiar dogs like Afghans or Greyhounds I have a very recessed nose and mouth which means that we aristocratic dogs with short faces should have special hoods that enable us to get close to our food and water. I refused to drink any water despite the fact that Mummy and Daddy put drops of water in my mouth and put water in small plastic dishes and held them up to my face inside the hood. I just wouldn’t eat or drink anything at all.
Later on the Wednesday I felt a little bit better and wanted to go upstairs when Mummy goes up to change clothes and I chew her old slippers but unfortunately the minute I started trying to walk up the stairs the hood hit the steps and frightened me so I could not go on. Another problem was that whilst I was walking around the ground floor of the house I kept bumping into doorways and chairs and every time I did it the hood made a noise and I frightened myself.
Daddy eventually phoned Ardene and explained the problem and they said it was alright to take the hood off provided I was supervised and didn’t try to take the stitches out. So Mummy and Daddy have been taking the hood off during the day and putting it on when I’m getting ready for bed. I just hate the hood and I stand there looking at Mummy and Daddy and trying to ask them; what’s wrong with me? Why do I have to wear this? I’m so uncomfortable and so unhappy! But of course they don’t understand my doggy talk. I understand what they’re saying to me but they can’t understand what I’m saying to them.
Eventually, before they took the hood off, the only way Mummy and Daddy could get me to eat these special tinned supplements, which smell like foie gras, was for them to feed me with a spoon, rather like feeding a baby, which I am not now.
Eventually I grew to like the special supplement and when the hood was taken off and I got my appetite back, I ate it willingly. Drinking, however, was another problem. I just didn’t want to drink any water despite Mummy and Daddy encouraging me to do so. By the Friday I was feeling much better and whenever a visitor came to the house, I behaved in my normal, welcoming way.