Saturday, 30 January 2010

Saturday 30 January 2010

Things came to something of a head at our office yesterday.  Or, perhaps, I should say something of a bottom.

I'll admit that my stomach had been slightly troubled the previous evening, and that our journey into work was accompanied by a certain pungency.  Shortly after arriving at the office, my partner had to pop out for a meeting.  When she returned, she found me tethered up outside in the workyard and the office windows open.

My flatulence had reached a crisis point.  My partner escorted me to a suitable location at which a mass evacuation of my bowels could be undertaken and we returned to offer profuse apologies to our traumatised workmates.

I have always had several nicknames in my partner's place of work.  The inevitable "Bullseye", of course.  In addition, I am sometimes affectionately referred to as "Piglet", "Jasbo" (cf. ASBO - an anti-social behaviour order for ne'er-do-wells) or "Jazzie".  But now, there is a new one.  My partner has cruelly termed me "The Devil's Air Freshener".  My partner's colleagues laughed.  I don't know why.


I began to whimper and cry as the door opened, although I was a little comforted to see that Bobby was wagging his tail.
"Hello boys!" said a voice, brightly.  I was mightily relieved to see the nice nurse, Claire, from the day I arrived at the place, pushing a trolley through the door.  She stopped in between Bobby and I and then uncovered a large silver bowl on the trolley.  A nice, meaty smell wafted into the air.  Claire opened a little packet and crushed up some little round pink discs onto the food.  "Are you hungry, Bobs?" she asked, unbolting the door of Bobby's pen.
"Arf! Arrrrfff!" replied Bobby, his excitement increasing.  Claire put the bowl on the floor for him, refilled the water in a neighbouring bowl and closed the pen door again.

Bobby attacked his food with vigour.  He was a messy eater, gobbling and scoffing his meal as quickly as he could.  Once the bowl was almost empty, he chased it around the pen, licking every last bit of meaty, biscuity goodness from it.  Then he had a long drink, belched loudly, and settled down happily to wash his paws and whiskers.
"Good boy, Bobby." said Claire, approvingly, as she retrieved the empty dish.  I craned my neck to see if I could see a bowl for me on the trolley, but there didn't appear to be one.  Claire turned to me.  "And how are you today, sweetheart?" she asked gently, unfastening the door of my cage and softly stroking my head.  She leaned in and lifted the case in which the majority of my body was bound.  I winced, knowing that she was about to discover what I had done in my cage.  But her reaction took me entirely by surprise.  "You GOOD boy." said Claire.  "You've been to the toilet, haven't you?!  Well done!  Let's get you cleaned up and then you can have some dinner."  She carefully carried me to a table at the side of the room and laid me down upon it.  I watched as she removed the blankets and papers lining my cage and replaced them with clean ones.  Then she returned to my side and carefully cleaned my bottom, the fur on my back legs and the whole under-tail area with soft moist wipes.  All the time, she chatted to me quietly, telling me how well I was doing, what a good, strong boy I was, how pleased everyone was with my progress.  My enjoyment of this was slightly tempered when a thermometer was inserted into my newly-cleansed bottom.  However, even the reading from this seemed to please the cheery Claire.  "Still going in the right direction." she commented.  "I can't believe how well you've done over these three days.  You're a tough little chap.  Right!  Dinner time for you!"

I wondered from where she was to produce a bowl of dinner for me.  I was settled back securely into the frame in my cage and watched as Claire removed a large needle-less syringe-type thing from a packet.  She then took a silvery-blue pouch from her trolley, opened it, and pushed the tip of the 'syringe' inside.  The tool sucked up some dark-brown viscous liquid into its tube.  Then, Claire gently pushed the plastic tip of the 'syringe' into my mouth and squirted a bit of the stuff onto my tongue.

I was mildly disappointed.  I had hoped to have the same meat-and-biscuits meal as Bobby.  I couldn't really complain though - the liquid was thick, meaty and nourishing.  As I got used to it, Claire gave me more and more, until the pouch was empty.  "Good boy." she said, kindly.  "That'll help you get better.  Was that nice?"  She almost seemed to sense my puzzlement, as she then said: "I'm sorry you can't have proper food yet.  Until your broken jaw mends, you won't be able to chew anything.  Don't worry poppet - we'll find some special dinner for you when your jaw is better.  Now then, I expect you're thirsty."  She was right - I was very thirsty.  Claire produced a clear bottle with a spout hanging down from its base.  She carefully and patiently helped me to understand how I could lap at the spout with my tongue, which would make water fall into my mouth.  Once I had the hang of it, Claire fixed the bottle to the door of my cage so that I could have a drink whenever I wanted one.

I realised that this had been the first time anything had passed my lips since I'd found the crisp in the van, which had led to my discovery, those few days ago (which now seemed like a lifetime).  I was beginning to feel profoundly grateful to that crisp.

Bidding us a jolly farewell, Claire pushed her trolley out of the room and closed the door gently behind her.  Bobby and I watched her go.
"Lovely girl, that." said Bobby, fondly.  "And, I must bark, the food here is excellent."  I felt I had to agree.  Despite the fact that my dinner had been entirely liquid-based, I felt deliciously full and satisfied.  "On the pouches, are you?" continued Bobby. "I had them when I first came here - my face was all smashed up too.  They aren't half bad, considering."

"What happens next?" I asked.  Bobby explained that it was nap-time for us both, which would be followed by exercise in the field outside - for him at least.
"You know," he said, "We really are very lucky, ending up here."
"Yes." I replied.  And I meant it.  I began to feel a creeping sensation; something that I hadn't felt for many, many months.  In fact, it was a feeling that I had almost forgotten even existed.

Drifting into a contented sleep, I suddenly realised what it was.

I was happy.

 Good night.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thursday 28 January 2010

With a weary sense of inevitability, I raised my eyes skywards.  "Why are you still alive?" I muttered.  The Buzzard cackled.
"Survival of the fittest, my friend." He rasped.
"Survival of the sneakiest, you mean."  I replied sourly, "And I'm NOT your friend."
"Well, now, that isn't very nice, is it?" simpered the Buzzard.  "Can we not let bygones be bygones?  Why don't you like me?"

Where to begin...?

"Because," I barked, "You are an execrable, pox-feathered, disease-addled abomination.  You stalk and prey upon the weak and innocent.  You have no moral compass whatsoever and you have all the wit, charm and scruples of a distended, cancerous rectum.  Plus, you smell revolting."
"Yeah, but apart from that?" persisted the Buzzard.  I could smell that I was wasting my time.
"You have nothing to say to me that I could possibly wish to hear.  Be gone from my sight."  As I said this, I turned and began to walk hastily away.  The foul raptor watched me for a moment or two, and then said:

"The Head Stag's dead."

I stopped walking and turned back.  You may remember my run-ins with this patriarch of the local deer herd from times past.
The Buzzard grinned a sickly grin, his eye twinkling.
"Last summer.  He got challenged by a younger buck and lost.  Bit tough - but I ate well for a good few days there, hehehe..."
I shook my head, not wishing to know about any of the Buzzard's sordid misdeeds.  "New chap's pretty handy - but not too experienced.  I think I might fancy my chances with an unattended young fawn this Spring..."

"A-ha!"  I barked.  "And so we come to the point at last.  I'm not helping you.  The only time I would ever want to associate with you is when you are lying, plucked and oven-ready in a roasting tin, with an orange-segment in your mouth and a kumquat up your -"

"Just let me know when you change your mind, that's all." interrupted the Buzzard, taking wing and soaring away across the fields.

The git.

Other matters, equally troubling, have been afflicting my partner and I over the past 24 hours or so.  Yesterday, my partner came home early from work with some kind of vomiting sickness.  It wasn't pleasant.  However, that was merely the beginning.  After several hours of constant nausea and throwing up, my partner must have ruptured something because she started throwing up blood.   Not just spots or streaks of it, either.  Proper blood.  Lots of it.   The bathroom also smelled incredibly like the slab in a butchers' shop.  It was extremely disconcerting.

After a while of this, and having no other recourse (it now being nearly 2.00am), my partner telephoned the helpful NHS Direct service.  They advised an instant removal to the nearest Casualty department.  Alas, my partner could not drive as she felt so ill, and could not afford their next suggestion; a taxi.  They said that they would despatch an ambulance, but my partner begged them not to importune the emergency services, who have enough to deal with.  The nurse on the 'phone then became quite angry with my partner, trying to convince her that she needed to get herself to A&E.  She tried to explain that the only other presence in the house at that time was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  Eventually, the chap on the 'phone told my partner that it was up to her and put the 'phone down.  Alone and fearful, my partner decided to seek comfort from the most tried and trusted source.  I snuggled up against her as tightly as I could and let her fall asleep with her arms about me.  And so I ask you - what clearer indication is there that the time has come for me to learn to drive?  I think I'd be quite competent...

Most thankfully, the bleeding seems to have stopped and my partner has not been sick again.  She is sore and exhausted, however, and spent the day laid upon the sofa, wrapped in her warmest blanket.  Having no television, my partner set up some edifying documentaries on Youtube for us to watch whilst she napped.  I feel I have learned all I ever wish to know about Americans weighing half a ton, the sexual appetite of King Henry VIII and the Israel/Palestine conflict.  When my partner seemed to doze off, I attempted to surf Youtube for any clips of bitches on heat, barking mucky stuff.  However, I was always inexplicably detected in this mischief.  I don't know what it is about partners - they always seem to wake up or reappear from nowhere at the precise point when I am about to achieve any nefarious aim.  It simply isn't fair.

Although greatly weakened, my partner is feeling much better.  However, I prescribe some simple, light, wholesome supper (with which I am on paw to assist if my partner cannot manage to finish it) and then an early night.

Sometimes, life can be just that little bit too eventful.  Let us hope for better things tomorrow.  And a Buzzard-free future for us all.

Good night.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Well, well, well.  You think you know a person.  I am utterly barkless.

I learn that not only Lance, but also Angie - and these are people that I love - would ALSO have tickled my paw as my partner so cruelly did.  In addition to this, both of these named-and-shamed miscreants dared to call into question the daintiness of my hind-paw.  Shame on you.  Shame on the pair of you.  I will have you know that, had I chosen that career-path, I could have been principal dog in the Royal Ballet.  A veritable Nureyev of Staffordshires.  Oh yes.

I notice, with much excitement, that I have got a new follower!  Yippiee!  Welcome Jayne, nice to see you.  Pay no heed to my cheeky friends.  My paws do indeed encompass daintiness and manliness in equal glory.

Quite apart from slights on my person, today my partner and I are very happy indeed.  For, this morning, my partner was engaged to go to the hospital, apropos the troublesome lump in her breast.  This was the day on which it was to be decided whether or not my partner's chest was to be carved up like a Christmas turkey.  And the answer is: NO!!!  The naughty lump has disappeared without trace - so my partner has been discharged from the consultant!  Hurrah!  Before returning to our office, my partner and her mother went out for a cup of coffee and a pastry to celebrate (I was not invited to partake of this cheery snack, but I did receive an extra chewy stick to eat in the car on the way to work, so cannot complain).

But be not deceived into thinking that the past few days have been ALL good.  Oh no.

Saturday afternoon saw my partner and I at Abbotstone - scene of many past glories and mishaps.  As I gambolled happily in the rabbit-field, delighting in the first few awakenings of Spring, I heard a voice hailing me.  You will never guess who it was - after all this time...
"You're looking well." said the voice.
"Oh NO..." I groaned, with an exasperated sigh.

It was the Buzzard.  Yes.  That Buzzard...

More "Evolution" next time...  I am so annoyed at the mere idea of the reappearance of that nauseating, parasitical, raptor that I need to go and have a lie down.

Good night.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thursday 21 January 2010

Let sleeping dogs lie, says the old adage.  Those are wise words.

Alas, my partner chose not to profit from the benefit of such wisdom when, at around 3.00am yesterday morning, for reasons known only to herself, she decided instead to tickle one of my hind-paws.

At the time, I was extremely busy.  I was travelling swiftly down a broad, steep grassy slope.  Riding a huge pink marshmallow, like one of those 'space-hopper' toys that always look like a lot of fun.  I was being hotly pursued by my two nemeses - an enormous evil jacket-potato and his nefarious sidekick, The Devil's Cheese.

I urged it on - but my marshmallow could go no faster.  I knew that I had exhausted my noble steed.  "Whoa, Stradivarius!" I commanded, pulling up fast and manoeuvring around to face the villains at our heels.  Wasting no time, I pulled out and powered up my laser cannon, pointed it at the sinister spud and The Devil's Cheese and fired!  Both were consumed instantly in the fiery blasts issuing from my mighty weapon.  "DIE, FOUL TUBER, DIE!!" I shouted, watching my enemies roast in the inferno.  I dismounted, put away my la -

"Pfffftht!" I spluttered, jumping into wakefulness.  I opened my eyes and glared accusingly at my partner, who wore a mischievous smile.  Apparently, she had woken to use the bathroom and on returning to our bedchamber noticed that I was entirely under the duvet, save for my dainty left hind-paw, just poking out by itself.  This, she claimed, was "invitation enough".  Hmmmnnn.  I didn't like to be too scathing in my reply, as I wasn't entirely convinced that I hadn't actually shouted that last sentence ("Die, foul tuber, die!!") out loud for real.  My partner did have the grace to apologise, but the damage was done.  I closed my eyes again and tried my hardest to return to my dream, but to no avail.  A great shame, as I had just been getting to the best bit, where I enjoy an immense victory banquet of crispy-skinned jacket-potato with a toasted cheese filling.

To other, less-important matters.  No further progress yet on the rent arrears "problem" (grrrowl...).  However, my partner has explained the situation to her letting agent and has been reassured that we won't be cast out into the cold, dark night.  The agent asked my partner to put everything down in writing, which she has now done (I helped her to look in our files for copies of letters to support her case) and the agents might simply write-off the arrears.  I very much doubt it, but there is a chance.  We shall see.


I felt happier and comforted listening to my new friend Bobby's stories.  He had a deep, gruff voice, but also a quiet and authoritative tone - as he was around five years old, he knew a lot more about the world than I did, and was reassuring and sensible.  I heard all about his puppyhood, and how his owner's daughter had chosen him as a gift for her father after the death of his wife (and the mother of the daughter).  He told me about how he had been trained and how he had striven to help his owner cope with his grief.  I learned all about the wonderful walks that Bobby had with his owner, before the car accident, and all about the games that Bobby played when his owner's daughter and her husband and three little children came to stay.  I listened (with not a little bit of envy) when Bobby described the family holidays that they went on together.  I was interested to hear about his owner's new lady friend who had sometimes accompanied Bobby and his owner on their walks, and I felt sorry for Bobby when he told me that he, his owner and his owner's new lady friend were going to go for a weekend away to a nice-sounding place called the Lake District, which had to be cancelled when the car crash happened.

Bobby was good at talking and I delighted in listening to him.  But something appeared to me to be missing.  I couldn't puzzle it out at first, but finally I put my claw on it.
"Bobby," I croaked, "Your days seemed so filled with nice things - how did you manage to fit in the beatings?"
"What?" asked my affable companion.
"Well," I explained, "You haven't said when you had yours, and you told me about most other stuff that you did.  I mostly had mine just before I went to bed.  Did you have yours then, or in the morning?"
"Son, owners do not beat their dogs.  They are masters, not tormentors.  I've NEVER been beaten.  I think I got a smack once, when my owner was teaching me to cross the road safely, but it was for my own good because I was being naughty and it's never happened since.  It isn't normal for people to beat dogs."
"Oh, but it is." I explained, in quite a matter-of-fact way.  "I kind of got used to it - I suppose - after a bit.  It's quite normal.  It happened nearly every day.  Why didn't you get yours?"
Bobby looked at me as if I was raving mad.
"Son," he said, sighing heavily, "You're wrong.  It isn't, in any way, normal.  It's abuse.  Sick, cruel, violent abuse.  Are you telling me that your owner did that to you?!"  I nodded mutely.  Quietly, sadly, I said:
"I suppose I must have been a very naughty boy."

Bobby regarded me for a while with silent thoughtfulness.  At length, he said:
"No.  No, I don't believe it.  You are young - but you are well-mannered, respectful and even-tempered."  He paused.
"But I have soiled my bed." I whimpered. "Surely, I deserve to be beaten for that?"
"Of course not!" barked Bobby. "Look at the state you're in!  You couldn't help it.  Your dam taught you to go outside if you need the toilet, I assume?"
"Yes, sir." I replied.  "For certain."
"Then it's clear.  You have been very badly treated. But you must not cower beneath your memories."  Bobby's voice became more strong and determined as he continued.  "Consider your size, in relation to your abuser's.  How could you have defended yourself?  Do not let yourself be moulded by your experience; do NOT give your tormentor that satisfaction - he has taken enough from your spirit.  Your life is now in your paws, not his.  And you can make it good.  But you have to be strong."
"Thank you sir." I said meekly.
"You know," continued Bobby, relaxing somewhat and sitting down. "I never had much time for the terrier-types, especially the Bull-Terrier lot.  Always yapping first and sniffing later.  But I like you.  You have proven yourself to be a strong, sensible lad.  Very respectful and pleasant.  Oh yes - your dam taught you well.  You have been spared for some reason, lad.  Neither you nor I know what it is - but you've been spared because, one day, you are going to make a difference.  You have a part to play in this world, boy.  We can never know when, or how, but do not miss your chance to make that difference.  Mind you play your part well."
"I promise I will not miss my chance, sir."  I said, deeply humbled to know that such a brave and noble dog thought so much of me.  I wished that my arms were free, so that I could wipe the tiny tear that was working its way down the side of my snout.

But before I could bark another word, the door handle of our room began to turn and the familiar knot of fear tightened within me.  Despair flooded through me once more.  I was about to be beaten again - and I knew that for sure...

Good night.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday 17 January 2010

Well - it took sixteen days.  Slightly longer than last year, which I suppose is to be encouraged.  Sixteen days for our shiny new year to turn into a crock of sh*te once more.  A letter from our landlords (a housing association; frequently referenced in the local press for general ineptitude, such as not getting broken heating fixed, etc.) dropped through our letterbox yesterday morning.  In perfect innocence, my partner opened it and quickly gave a gasp of horror.

The letter informs us that we have "unpaid rent arrears" amounting to a little under £400; that we are in breach of our tenancy agreement; and that we have seven days to resolve the matter.

Oh poo...

I need not describe to you my partner's distress.  She has always striven to be a good tenant and has ALWAYS (however else we might be financially incommoded) paid her rent in full and on time, in accordance with the terms in our tenancy contract.  Being likewise sensible in retaining all paperwork relative to such important matters, last evening she and I looked through all communications received from our landlords since we moved into our house.  NEVER - at any time - did we receive a letter from them stating that our rent had been increased (which is what has happened; the rent increased back in April 2009, no-one informed my partner, and the £400 is the accrued debt).  We received a letter on one occasion about another matter, when we were already beginning to be in arrears, and not once was it alluded to.  You would think, would you not, that SOMEONE would have noticed my partner's regular payments and contacted her to say "Miss ********, we notice that your regular rent payments seem to be coming in for the old amount.  Were you aware that your rent has increased?"  Rather than waiting until almost a year later and then springing it on us just after Christmas...  Grrrowl.

My partner is going to contact the agency tomorrow to discuss the matter.  I have said that the simplest way to resolve our problem would be for her to drive me to their offices in the nearest city, open the car door, and gently unclip my lead...  However, she doesn't think unleashing a savage bloodbath is a solution to ANY problem.

A pity.

I am SO angry that I cannot even bring myself to post the next instalment of my life-story.  My partner says that I will have to do it tomorrow, when I can keep a civil tongue in my head.

I must apologise for the angry and bitter tone of this posting.  One day - perhaps - things will start to go right for us.  At least we have each other.

Good night.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Oh, for goodness' sake.  It had just begun to thaw.

I mean - it had literally begun to thaw properly.  I rise this morning - exit my house to download my first weemail of the day and what do I find?  Another INCH - at least - OF SNOW.

It really is most tiresome.  My partner and I returned to work yesterday - perhaps for the second or third time only since Christmas - and all was well.  And now we are once again snowbound.  An inch at least and still it snows yet.

However.  All this is as nothing compared with the other news that greeted me when I opened my eyes this morning; the earthquake in Haiti.  My heart goes out to all those innocent souls.  Firefighters from my own country and sniffer-dogs and aid-workers have also been despatched by the wonderful President Obama of North America.  My heart and good wishes are with the good folk of Haiti today.

Back to more domestic matters.  Some of my dearest online friends have been good enough to share with me how much they have been moved by the story of my life.  I cannot place an earthly price on how much this means to me.  But I write my history not to ask for your pity - I write, as you will ultimately see, to underscore how grateful I am for my lot in life.  How lucky I am.  Each day sees me happier than the day I was before.  My life began under the most horrendous circumstances, which brought me within, literally, seconds of death on more than one occasion.  But now, I have a warm, loving home with many, many friends, both online and here in my town.  And you may be certain that for YOU - reading this now - I am profoundly thankful.

But be not deceived - I am still VERY annoyed about the snow.  An inch at least - and it is STILL snowing.  Either this - or my partner's dandruff issues have FINALLY got out of paw.  I suspect the former - but would not be surprised at the latter.  Don't tell her I barked this...


I opened my eyes slowly.  I couldn't, for the life of me, imagine where I was and what had happened.  I found myself in a metal enclosure, some four or five feet above the floor.  The room was very warm and smelled clean.  I felt groggy and numb.  My insides felt as though they had been scrubbed with sandpaper and hosed through with a high-pressure water jet.  I did notice, however, that my jaw no longer felt slack.  I couldn't move properly, as I seemed to have been wedged into my cage and was being held in with tightly-packed blankets.  I also found, to my infinite shame, that I had been to the toilet in the blankets.  In addition to that, most of the fur on the left side of my face and body had been shaved off.  I wondered why my man had not come to collect me.

Looking down into the room, I discovered that I was not alone.  Opposite me, in a larger metal pen on the floor, a large tousle-furred grey and black dog lay dozing.  His pen bore the signs of long-term occupancy.  A large, well-gnawed, chew was behind him and a big brown blanket was in the far corner, on which sat a little teddy-bear.  Also in the pen was a large bowl of water.  Large swathes of this dog's fur was growing back where, like mine, it had been shaved.  I wondered if he might be able to tell me where I was, but I didn't want to wake him.

I looked around the room again.  Opposite me to the right, next to the other dog's pen was a small door.  Sunlight streamed in through the window in the door, which opened out into a grassy area.
"You're up, then." said a deep, gruff voice suddenly.  The fellow opposite had woken up and was grinning at me.

"Hello." I said weakly.
"I'm Bobby."  he said.  "Who are you?"
"I can't remember."
"Not surprised.  You were in a h*ll of a state when you can in.  How're you feeling?"
"Horrible.  Bit better than before though.  What has happened to me?"
"They gave you a little operation when you came in." replied Bobby, "And then they put you in there for the night.  I think you surprised them all, 'cause they said your temperature was rising quickly after the op.  You were still fast asleep, so they decided to fix your broken bones while you were still out. That was a couple of days ago and you've been asleep since then."
"Blimey." I muttered.  "So this is still the same place, then?"
"Yeah." replied Bobby. "But this is a special bit, just for the REALLY sick ones like us.  They said it's called the Intensive Care Unit.  I've been here on my own for ages.  It's nice to see a friendly face - even if it is a bit of a mashed-up one."

I tried to smile, but found that I couldn't, so I asked my new friend what had happened to him.  "Car crash."  he replied, frowning.  "I was a right bl**dy mess.  Stupid drunk kid smashed into my owner's car.  I went through the windscreen.  Thank g*d my owner wasn't killed."
"Blimey!" I croaked again.
"Hmmm..." muttered Bobby. "Well, I'm on the mend now, but it's been a long battle.  Can't say it's been pleasant."  He sighed again, and tried to assume a brighter air.  "Don't know why people drive like that." he said.  "At least he hit us - thank heavens for small mercies - we'd just overtaken a young woman with two little tots in the back of her car.  If we'd not done that, he'd have hit them instead."  Bobby shook his head.
"What about the person who hit you?" I asked him.
"Huh!" he snorted. "They mopped him off the road with a sponge.  Serves him bl**dy well right as well."  I nodded.  "I miss my owner so much.  He's only able to visit me at the weekend.  I miss our walks.  Nearly there though.  I've been doing really well."
"Good." I said.  I felt too tired to be chatty, but Bobby didn't seem to mind.  He had clearly missed having company and I was more than happy to listen as he talked on, telling me all about his family, his owner and his life before the car crash.

His stories cheered me and I grew comfortable as I listened to him, feeling happier all the time that my broken and shattered body had been mended and that, if Bobby could recover from his pain and injuries then perhaps so could I...

Good night.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Friday 8 January 2010

Between four and five inches.  I refer, of course, not to my "Little Jasper", but to the depth of snow which still lays upon the ground. 

It really is becoming incredibly tiresome.  My partner has not been able to travel into work since Tuesday - we understand that even the ranger team with their 4x4 work vehicles struggled on the small roads.  "Treacherous" is the word that my partner's boss used last evening when she contacted him.  Apart from the chilly boredom, we are also slightly concerned at the prospect of losing wages, just as we were beginning to get back on our paws after last years' hassles.  However, we don't know whether or not this will be the case yet, so let us not worry about what may not be.

It is so cold that I have not even seen any of my friends and neighbours.  We walked to my partner's mother's house yesterday, but I apparently "misbehaved" on the way back (I wanted to play in the park but my partner said it was too cold and getting dark, so I had a tantrum) and caused my partner to slip and fall on the pavement.  As she struggled up, I remarked that it was fortunate that she had such a large bottom, with which to cushion her fall.  Her reply was succinct, and as biting as the wind.

The only fellow I have seen over the past few days has been Archie, the little Jack Russell from the end of my terrace.  He is always a cheery fellow, and didn't seem to mind the snow - although he WAS wearing a smart new fleecy jacket.  I have got a coat, which I inherited from my late predecessor, Tess.  I wore it once or twice, but feel it does not become me, so it has been relegated to the wardrobe.

The cold is such that not even the nice children opposite have been out building a snowman.  There has been no sign of Peaches (the one bright spot in this situation) and one glimpse of my squirrel friend, who waved to me as he collected his nuts for the morning from our bird-table.  It was too cold to stop and chat.

The only other individual to brave the snow has been the black cat that shares a house with Archie.  I don't know his name, but he only has three legs (after he came second in a fight with a moving car), so his tracks in the snow are somewhat recognisable.  He had obviously taken himself for a wander around the close, probably to relieve the boredom of being snowed in, but I assume that the novelty of a snowy potter swiftly wore off, as no more fresh tracks were laid after the initial visit.

We have decided that we will not be cooped up any longer today, so my partner is taking a hot drink whilst I write this and then we are going out over the fields.  I will be back later, to upload the next instalment of my autobiographical tale.


I'm back!  We had a lovely walk.  There was lots of crisp virgin snow on the fields and I delighted in rolling around in it, diving head-first into snowdrifts, generally capering about and having a massive snowball fight with my partner.  Brilliant.  Now I am utterly exhausted - but happy.


The nice young man in the important-looking blue suit stopped the car and switched the engine off.  He got out, and ran around to the passenger side of his car.  As he gently stooped to gather me up in his arms, I fervently licked his hands, wanting again to indicate my gratitude for taking me away from the crowd of onlookers.  I expected that, once inside the building in front of us, he would hand me back to my man, I would be appropriately beaten, and that would be an end of the whole sorry business.  But no.  'Twas not to be.

I didn't recognise ANYONE in the building, which looked and smelled clean, fresh and recently disinfected.
"Hi," said the young man to a pretty, dark-haired, plump young girl in a lilac-coloured uniform-dress, "I need some help."

She called to someone in another part of the building.  Another lady, fractionally older, but dressed in a white coat, came out from a side room.
"In here," said the second lady, gesturing into the room from whence she had appeared.  The three of us followed her through the doorway.  This new room was light and airy, with a large black-topped table in its centre.  The young man laid me gently down upon this table and removed his jacket from around me.

"Oh my g-d!" gasped the young girl from the front desk.  The other lady gasped, and began to feel me over.
"What happened?" she asked, in a matter-of-fact way.  The young man explained briefly how he had discovered me.  "How long do you think he has been like this?" she asked.  The young man didn't know, but explained that the traces of blood on my snout had only just started to show.  The conversation went back and forth during my examination.
"The blood on the body is dry, probably from injuries inflicted yesterday," pronounced the white-coated lady. "He may have aggravated the chest injury recently and triggered some internal bleeding..."  She snapped on a little torch, while the young girl unceremoniously poked a small, cold tube into my bottom.  I was too weak to protest.  "Some dilation of the pupils... at least two broken ribs... a break to the left jaw... some internal haemorrhaging... multiple bruising to head and body... increasing symptoms of shock..."  The tube was withdrawn from my bottom and examined. "Temperature well below normal..." She looked up at the young man.  "I trust you have caught the 'hero' who did all this?"
"Not yet - but we will." replied the young man grimly.  "My colleague is waiting for him to come back to his vehicle, where we found this poor little s*d.  We do intend to prosecute.  Can I assume you'll be able to supply photographs of this dog's injuries as evidence?"
"Of course."  the lady replied. "I daresay you won't object if they are taken post-mortem?  I think this poor chap is too far gone.  Claire - " She addressed the young girl in the lilac dress, who looked as though she was starting to cry, "Would you get him ready, please?  I think the kindest thing would be to euthanize as soon as possible."

I didn't understand any of this and I watched as the young girl opened a drawer behind her and brought out a syringe, a small razor and a short length of elastic.  The other woman went to a locked cupboard and retrieved a little glass vial of clear liquid, which she placed on the table near my head.  I gave it a curious sniff.  Also sniffing loudly was the girl Claire, no longer hiding her tears.  The lady gave her a quick hug.  "I know." she said gently. "I feel the same."  She looked at the young man and gave a heavy sigh. "I've been a vet for twelve years now." she told him.  "I thought I'd get used to cases like this.  But you never do."
"It's a real shame." replied the man. "He's a lovely little dog, not a bit of malice in him."
"Well, that's usually part of the problem." said the vet. "I daresay the poor dog's been getting eight bells knocked out of him for months - and each time he's gone back to the owner wagging his tail."
"How old do you think he is?"
"Certainly not much more than a year old."
"Isn't there anything you could do for him?" asked the man.  "I'm not telling you your job, but... but I really think he deserves a chance.  I mean, he was alert when I picked him up, and responded every time I spoke to him.  I'd hate to deny him another chance."

The vet frowned and looked at me.  I blinked back at her and feebly wagged my tail.  She stroked my head.  She smelled kind.  Kind and clean and very sensible.  I made an effort to roll onto my belly, lift my head and lick her hand.  She frowned again, obviously considering a serious issue.  I supposed it was something to do with me.  The girl, Claire, seemed to sense a slight shift in the decision making process and said quietly:
"He does still have a very strong pulse."
The vet didn't reply, but reached in the still-open drawer and pulled out a very strange-looking device.  One end of this instrument split into two, which she plugged into her ears.  The other end, consisting of a large (and, I might add, cold) silver disc, she proceeded to push gently against my chest and other parts of my body.  She seemed to be listening intently to something - although how she was able to hear anything at all with those things plugged into her ears was beyond me.  It was all most interesting.  After what seemed like a long, tense, silence she unplugged the device from her ears.
"VERY strong heartbeat.  This little fellow obviously wants to live his life very much.  Right."  The vet became brisk and business-like.  "Let's give him his chance.  We'll operate this afternoon to try and stem the internal bleed.  If he comes through that, we'll see how he does overnight and make a decision in the morning.  Claire, would you put this back in the safe, please." She handed the little glass vial to the girl, who positively beamed at her colleague.  The man smiled too.  The vet turned and consulted a computer screen on a worktop.  "OK, evening surgery isn't until six and I see that I've only got one other minor op. booked in for this afternoon - I'll get my colleague to do that - Claire, can you ring Matthew and ask him to do Mrs. Stevens' cat spay? Thanks. - We'll get on with this dog straight away.  In the meantime, Officer, thank you for bringing him in.  If you could leave your contact details at the front desk, I'll let you know how he gets on and I'll send the photos and X-rays to you."
"Thank you." said the young man, with feeling.  He sounded profoundly relieved.  Picking up his jacket, he fondled my ears affectionately.  "See you, mate." he said to me. "It's up to you now.  You're a very lucky boy."

I watched him go and, somehow, I believed he was right.  Perhaps things were looking up.  I felt the tiniest scratch on my forearm and something cold travelling into my vein.  I closed my eyes and drifted into a blissfully peaceful sleep...

Good night.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Tuesday 5 January 2010 - Addenda

OK.  I refuse to "Tweet".  But it's midnight, I have just been out for my last pee of the day before my bedtime, and there are OVER TWO INCHES of snow - and it's STILL falling fast.

Oh woof.

Good night.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tuesday 5 January 2010

New Year's Resolutions, then.  Have you made any?  I have.

Well, actually, to be honest they aren't exactly mine.  Because of one or two minor (hardly significant, really) misdemeanours committed by me over the past twelve months (I trust I need not refer to them again), my partner felt it would be helpful if she and I sat down together and drew up a mutually-agreed list of improving resolutions.  This process involved my partner compiling a list for me, whilst I pretended to listen.  I believe I almost perfected a way of sleeping with my eyes open, whilst grunting at occasional intervals to delude my partner into thinking that I was paying attention and in agreement with her.  Here is "my" list:

  1. I will temper the severity of my bottom-gas when accompanying my partner in public; particularly in enclosed spaces such as the pub.
  2. I will direct expulsions of bottom-gas in an appropriate direction during our hours of repose, and not send it towards my partner's face.
  3. I will submit to a fair share of our duvet, relative to our respective sizes, and not remove the whole from my partner's sleeping form for my own private use.
  4. If, when out for my daily exercise, I meet a dog of whom I am not fond, I will not use toilet-words barked at an inordinately high volume.
  5. I will desist from begging for food until at least ½ an hour has elapsed following my dinner.
  6. I will cease trying to persuade Ewan (dog) that he can suckle milk from the single "udder" of Graham (the huge and permanently annoyed bull in the field opposite our office).  It is unfunny and potentially dangerous.
  7. The events of 1 October 2009 will never - under any circumstances - be repeated.

I hoodwinked my partner into thinking that I accepted these self-improving suggestions, all the while cackling to myself as I remembered the past glories that led to these dictates.   Hehehe...

The BBC radio station has warned us that my part of the country is to expect between twelve and sixteen inches of snow tonight.  As I stand some eighteen inches high, I haven't decided whether or not I should be looking forward to this.  The snowfall has begun in earnest.  I fear the weather forecasters may be correct.

And now:


A small crowd of shoppers had joined the group of girls, to see what they were so agitated by, and I began to grow uneasy, in addition to my pain.  My man did not like people "interfering" and I was therefore under no illusions about the level of beating I would receive if he should return to find all these people gawping at me and his van.  The onlookers seemed united in their distress at and condemnation of my appearance, which I struggled to comprehend.  I blinked back at them, but couldn't seem to summon up the energy to wag my tail.

The sound of running footsteps parted the crowd and I looked up to see the two young girls who had fled the scene a moment or two ago returning with a tall young man in an important-looking dark blue outfit.  There was a shining silver badge on his jacket and a black box affixed to his chest.  I believed I may have been losing my mind, as I swear I heard voices emanating from this box.  The young man wasted no time in assuming control of the situation.  He checked all of the doors of the van and, when they all proved to be locked, he grasped a black stick-like item from his belt.

With one hefty strike, he smashed into the left passenger window.  Glass showered onto the seat and my fur.  Now I was REALLY going to be in trouble.  I started to cry.  I knew that I would be beaten so severely for this - and none of it had been my fault.  Or had it...?   Yes.  It WAS my fault.  I should have stayed in the back of the van and not squeezed through for the crisp.  Oh, WHY had I done that?  I surely deserved my punishment.

The young man who had smashed the window reached in through the hole and unlocked the passenger door.  And then - to my infinite astonishment - he gently patted my head.
"It's alright now, boy." he said softly, "You're going to be alright now.  Don't be afraid.  I'm not going to hurt you."

I managed a feeble wag of my tail, and gave his hand an affectionate lick, to show him that I was not a threat.  "OK, son." he continued quietly.  He ran his hands over me, and felt me over quickly. "Bl**dy hell." I heard him mutter.  He stepped away from me and picked up and spoke into the little black box attached to his chest.  I was right (and thankfully not going mad) - a crackly voice spoke back to him from the box.

After the young man's conversation with the box, he began to look in the glove compartment of the van, examining papers and other bits and pieces.  I was starting to feel genuinely terrified that my man would return and catch him, but I was also feeling increasingly sick and dizzy.  I supposed that I didn't really care anymore.

A few moments later, a white car with bright stripes along its side pulled up next to the van.  A slightly older man, dressed in the same kind of suit as the younger one, got out and put on a black and white chequered hat.  There was a brief consultation between the two men and they both looked into the van again.  I noted that the empty glass bottles in the passenger foot-well, as well as my bloodstains on the seats, did not escape their notice.

Following another hasty conversation between them, the younger man leaned further into the van and gently scooped me up into his arms.  As tender as he tried to be, the movement was agony and I cried out.  The young man spoke kindly and softly into my ear as he drew me out into the afternoon sunshine.  The group of young girls crowded around, cooing at me, crying and gently patting my head.  "Well done girls." said the young man "You've done exactly the right thing.  You should be proud of yourselves."  The girls answered with a myriad of questions - so numerous that I couldn't make them all out.
"Will he be alright?"
"Will they put him down?"
"What'll happen to the person who did this?  Are you going to catch them?"
"Don't let them put him to sleep."

I had no idea what they meant.  However, I couldn't think about it for long, as I was feeling increasingly ill.  I coughed - and was promptly sick all over the young man's jacket.

I flinched in his arms, expecting a severe blow to the back of my head - but none came.  Instead, just the kind, authoritative, reassuring voice.  "Alright mate."  he said, "I know it hurts.  Let's get you some help, eh?"
"Wuff." I weakly managed to reply.  I was carried over to the white and striped car and very, very gently laid on the passenger seat.  The young man removed his jacket and wrapped it carefully around me.  I was profoundly grateful for this, as I was beginning to feel terribly cold and was shivering.  The young man ran around to the driver's side, got in, started the car, and slowly drove away from the van.  I knew that my man would be extremely angry with me, but I honestly no longer cared.  Glancing into the mirror at the side of the car, I saw the older man in the blue suit taking out a notebook and talking earnestly to the group of young girls - my discoverers.

As the car began to gather speed, the young man driving kept talking to me and telling me that I was going to be alright.  Slowly, his voice began to take on a somewhat 'tinny' quality and he sounded further and further away.  I felt incredibly cold, although not at all afraid.
"Come on son," I heard his voice, floating somewhere far below me, say. "Stay with me.  Keep going.  Stay with me, mate.  Don't let go."  Well, I wasn't holding on to anything - but I retained my manners.  Each time he addressed me, I made an effort to open my eyes and look at him, and gave a little wag of my tail.  This seemed to please him, so I kept doing it.  I liked this man.

However, as much as I liked him, I began to be unable to control the floating sensation.  I was aware that my breathing was becoming more and more laboured and there were small trickles of blood oozing from the corner of my mouth and one of my nostrils.  "Stay with me, mate."  I heard again, "Just you keep going.  We're nearly there.  Come on, boy...Please...Hang on..."

And then, the car stopped.

Stay safe in the snow.  Good night.