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.




PART FIVE

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.
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