Oh, for goodness' sake. Why is it that, just when things are going particularly well (cf. the squirrel), fate ups and dumps a great big runny turd on your favourite blanket? Or is it just me?
I have been struggling valiantly against a nasty skin infection in my armpits for the last couple of weeks, but losing the battle despite my partner's and Maisie's ministrations. So, two evenings ago, I was hauled off to the vets'. I had to lie ungraciously on my back on the examination table while Mr. Matthews and a student - the indignity! - took samples from my red and swollen flesh. This complex surgical procedure involved sticking a bit of Sellotape across the affected area and then ripping it away. The bits of me adhering to the tape were then placed under a microscope and scrutinised. Before the analysis was completed, however, my partner and I were sent home with a small plastic bottle and I was compelled to face something that I had never, in my entire life, previously encountered. I had to have... a BATH.
Now, normally I like the bath itself. It is my refuge when I am feeling poorly. The cool fibreglass surface provides great ease to a troubled belly and experience has taught me that any unlooked-for emissions from my body are better expelled in the bath than on my partner's mother's sandy-coloured carpet. Plus, the bath is such a cunning hiding place that no human can see me when I am concealed in it. Genius. However, I sensed trouble when the towel rail was removed from the bath and I was encouraged to take its place. With a deep sense of foreboding, I stood uneasily as my partner knelt on the floor beside the bath. Was this the end of Jasper and all his dreams?
Actually, it turned out to be rather pleasant. My partner took care to ensure that the water ejecting from the shower-head was of just the right temperature. I co-operated by lifting each of my arms and legs in turn (unasked too! That won me an extra biscuit...) and my partner's gentle hands worked wonders as she applied the soothing shampoo to my angry, flaming, infected skin. I was thoroughly rinsed and dried and given a special meaty chew afterwards. But if I thought that was the end of my trials, I was wrong. For then, the mocking started.
It began innocently enough, with my partner appreciating how soft, fluffy and silky I was in my newly-cleansed form. This was quickly picked up and carried by my partner's parents, who delighted in mocking my soft clean fur and likening me to one of those poor creatures forced to visit a "dog beautician". Maisie went further and openly laughed at my silken shimmering. Leaping on an already overcrowded bandwagon, my partner then said that the Royal Astronomical Society had been in touch; they had detected the presence of a bright new white star in the vicinity of our garden on their star maps. Ha-bl**dy-ha.
The next day brought scant relief. The samples taken from my itchy self had not revealed a TOO serious problem, but Mr. Matthews was still concerned. He prescribed the regular application of a specially-formulated ointment, which my partner went to collect yesterday. I took a good look at this concoction and I have to bark that I am DEEPLY suspicious. The stuff looks EXACTLY like, ahem, male sexual fluid. Man Magma. Love Mayonnaise. Baby Batter. I just hope it isn't the vet's own special brew. Whatever it is, it seems to be doing the job, however. Already I am much relieved and am to take another bath in two days. And my partner tells me that I am her "brave little soldier". So that's alright then.
I have, however, issued explicit instructions that my beloved wife, Isolde, and my current favourite girlfriend, Candy, are NOT to be informed of my sufferings and treatments, under any circumstances. The former would merely laugh at me for being a "big soft jessie" and the latter would try to lend me her conditioner.
The reviews for my partner's play are in, and they are GOOD. I might post them on here, if I am feeling benevolent one day.
Nobody else has claimed my squirrel yet. I checked again today, and it is still there. I was able to restrain myself, however, and did not kill it again.