DOGS. WHOSE IDEA WAS DOGS.*
They’ve redesigned the worming schedule. I have as little truck with Big Pharma as I can, on both sides of the canine/human species border, but worming critters is totally necessary, and while I know there are herbal and homeopathic ways to do it, in this case I am a craven coward, and I go for the heavy chemicals. I just hope that the veterinary worm-icides are less destructive to the hellhounds’ wobbly guts than a gentler, less Sherman’s-march-to-the-sea, more holistic method would be, which (probably) allows a few escapees.
You used to worm your dog three times a year. Last time I went in to the vet clinic I was told that they’d changed the ingredients or the proportions or something, and you were now only supposed to do it twice a year. This should be good news—if it works—if they haven’t just jacked everything up by 800%** and it’s now taking the top six layers of gut lining with it, and forget the friendly flora, they’re history.
The visible management difficulty with hellhounds is that as they get near time to be wormed they stop eating. Of course. Hellhound default position is not eating. But I’m trying not to work slowly round the year backwards, so last year first worming was March and this year it was February and next year it will be January. On the new six-month system hellhounds are due the end of July.*** But hellhounds have been becoming increasingly resistant to food for the last several weeks and I’m running out of stratagems and flimflam. There are various herbal and homeopathic remedies (speaking of herbal and homeopathic) which help. But most of what armoury I’ve got relates to waiting. You put the food down. They don’t eat. You move the bowls. They still don’t eat. You move the bowls again.† They continue not to eat. You offer small bits of chicken††. They had better eat these. ††† When you get to the point where they won’t eat small bits of chicken . . . you panic.
Today at lunch (never our best meal) we reached the refusing-small-bits-of-chicken stage. Whereupon I went round to the vets, got the wormer, came home and . . . since they won’t eat, I had to poke the pills down their throats. Previously I have (usually) managed to get them wormed while they were still eating, so the pills went down with some food. The frelling new pills clearly gave them giant stomachaches—I could hear Darkness’, whose insides are the more deplorable, gut objecting from two rooms away. AAAAAAAUGH.
It took four hours, two homeopathic doses, and some raw liver to get them to eat their lunch.
They ate dinner with enthusiasm.‡
I am a gibbering wreck. Dogs. Whose idea was dogs.
. . . But they’re warm and furry and cute and lying on the sofa without them just wouldn’t be the same. ‡‡ I am doomed.
* * *
* Meanwhile yesterday was the only day all week it didn’t rain.^ And it was a Sunday, so the world and his wife were out enjoying the countryside. I was expecting the world, his wife, their six untrained Labradors plus a Rottweiler who slipped his lead in Canterbury and has been making good time, and possibly an allosaurus escaped from the Centre of the Earth or the Lost World or the Land That Time Forgot, or a mad scientist’s back garden, where he’s been breeding them because Rottweilers^^ aren’t scary enough. What I—we, the hellhounds and I—got were hordes of off-road bikes, the leg-powered kind. Yet another category of self-absorbed idiots who think they own the planet, or at least that they should. This particular division had all been to a sensitivity training seminar which taught them to say ‘hello’ to pedestrians. Say it brightly and charmingly AND THEN IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU RUN THEM OFF THE TRACK. I’m happy to crank in hellhounds to one side of a double-width track for anyone, be it horse, bike, motorbike, or 1927 double-six Daimler. I am not happy to be driven into the hedgerow by some thug on something with wheels who clearly believes this manifestation of modern technology gives him priority and we can get the hell out of his way or be mown down, because he needs to maintain his momentum. This doesn’t usually happen, but yesterday they all (cheerily) said hello as they sailed past, flecking us with mud in what was no doubt a comradely way. Grrrrr.
At one point, on a particularly overgrown track^^^, this errant creep with muscles to match his attitude shouted, in the designated cheery manner, Good morning! twice as he bore down upon us at no lessening of speed. As he came beside us—as hellhounds and I scrambled to get the hell out of his way—he said, scintillating with outraged virtue, You can say Good morning! I, with rare presence of mind, replied: You can get off your bike!
You can f*ck off! he shouted back over his shoulder.
So much for sensitivity training.
There are so many ways that dog ownership is a never-ending delight. I keep remembering that romcom cliché for meeting people: buy a dog and take it for walks. Oh, you will meet people all right. . . .
^ It is raining now. It has been raining all day. Ringing at Glaciation tonight . . . it’s the 16th of July, I am wearing a wool cardigan, and I turned the electric fire on.
^^ Word allows ‘Rottweiler’ but not ‘Rottweilers’. Please. And it doesn’t know ‘allosaurus’. I would have thought all computer programmers, including those involved with spellcheckers, were dinosaur geeks when they were kids.
^^^ And then there’s the, ahem, thorny issue of local council upkeep of public tracks.
** It makes me nervous when Big Pharma does something apparently against its own interests, like cutting back on a treatment. They’re not hugely bothered about delivering good health. What they’re hugely bothered about is delivering a good profit.
*** Just like SHADOWS.
† I have no frelling idea why moving the food bowls works. But if they’re stuck in a non-eating posture they absolutely won’t eat till you move them. Moving the bowls means keeping the possibility live.
†† Slightly larger than the infinitesimal dice of (usually) chicken mixed up with the cereal-free kibble in their bowls. I chop it up as small as the width of the knife blade will let me or Chaos in particular will simply eat the chicken bits out. Hellhounds have prehensile tongues. But this is still just another kickstarting ploy: the trick is to get them to eat anything. I don’t know what is literally going on inside a non-eating hellhound, but empty stomachs apparently make them feel ill—which means they’re even less likely to eat. Which is why they have three meals a day. Which is why I make myself meshugga^ trying to get them to eat three times a day.
^ Feh. Word doesn’t know ‘meshugga’ either. Bunch of goyim.+
+ SNORK. IT ACCEPTS GOYIM.
††† Their final meal of the day is gold-standard kibble only—the stuff that you cry when you pay the bill and genuflect when you open the bags—and we’ve got to the stage where I’m having to allow an extra hour for getting to bed, because of the hellhound eating situation. Arrrrrgh. These are not hugely useful hours, you know? I’m too busy feeling crazy. But I’m catching up on old issues of TIME and THE RINGING WORLD which is I suppose something.
‡ But dinner is our best meal. Ask me tomorrow morning, after pre-bedtime supper. See previous footnote.
‡‡ And Kes has just met the SWD. This is happening a lot of eps from where you are. Mwa hahahahahahaha.
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