Twenty-five minutes. Twenty-five minutes! You'd think she'd have let it stand for just twenty-five minutes. But no. Not my partner. After twenty-five - it may have been thirty - minutes, she exhibited a most shocking display of panic, hysteria and distress. This resulted, unhappily, in an emergency dash to the vets'; tears; and outright, humiliating, distress. And all for twenty-five minutes of undue prominence.
I refer, of course, to my 'Little Jasper'.
On Wednesday evening, just after work, my partner took me to one of my favourite local sites for a good walk. En route, I was musing on nothing in particular when 'Little Jasper' became alert. Nothing out of the ordinary for a healthy gentleman. Arriving at our destination, my partner locked our car and we started out. I found walking to be somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, as 'Little Jasper' was persisting in his enlarged state, and I grew increasingly disinclined to continue my exercise. Alerting my partner, she - failing to spot the true source of my unease - assumed that I was tired and agreed to terminate our walk and return home.
After our journey home, it still hadn't gone down. As we pulled into our parking-space, we passed my beautiful neighbour Rosie and her partner departing for their evening walk and gave them a cheery wave. I alighted from my carriage with some difficulty. It was at this point that my partner first noticed the source of my discomfort. With eyes rolled heaven-wards and a deep sigh, she muttered "Jasper, you mucky-pup, put it away!" Without a bark, I followed her into our house.
I was given and consumed my dinner, whilst my partner made herself and ate a cheese sandwich. As I followed - post dinner - my partner into our withdrawing-room she was alarmed to see 'Little Jasper' still standing proud and winking at her. She then went into overdrive. Panicking beyond measure, she ushered me hastily back into the car and went straight to the vets' - despite it being only a few steps away and beyond normal opening hours. I was forced into the waiting-room - where other visitors (including, I might add, two cats) laughed at my obvious predicament - and was rushed straight into a consulting chamber. With relief, I was allocated one of my preferred male surgeons - although that sense of relief evaporated somewhat when I saw my practitioner pull on a pair of latex gloves...
I had to stand patiently on that wretched table whilst my poor pinkle was probed, pulled and manipulated. Despite the fact that 'Little Jasper's' initial discomfort had turned into actual pain (okay, okay, it was some 45 minutes and NOT my initial estimate of 25), I felt utterly humiliated and debased. (And this leads me to recall that I have not yet posted my last instalments of 'The Evolution of Jasper'. You'll find out why this dubious connection exists when I DO get around to posting them).
The upshot was that I was given an injection of "anti-testosterone". Yes - even in my 13th (91st, in human terms, apparently) year - I am too much of a man for human society to tolerate.
After the injection it was another 20 minutes before 'Little Jasper' (the duplicitous swine) returned fully to his regular dormant state.
A day or two after these embarrassing events, my partner and I returned home from work to find a slim envelope awaiting us on our doormat. After placing my meal in my bowl for me, my partner opened the envelope. It was a bill from the vets'. When I entered our withdrawing-room following my meal, it was to find my partner, head in hands, sobbing, clutching the bill.
"£112 pounds, Jasper!" she cried, despairingly. "£112! What am I going to do?!" (Admittedly, that includes my nasal infection expenses). I hesitated.
"How much money do we have left, after bills, this month?" I barked. My partner's chest heaved as she gave another great sob.
"84p." she replied.
Oh. Oh dear. I began to whimper as well. My partner rushed to hold me in a comforting embrace. "Don't you fret, Jazz." she said, kindly. "We will find SOME way. And I don't regret a single penny. I would give everything I have for you."
And THAT, my friends, is love. REAL, proper, love. I am humbled. But also truly honoured.
We will be OK. Because we are together.