...and one more inclined to make you want to laugh at the same time, than an animal wearing a buster collar?? A clever invention, but what torture for them.
We had put it off and put it off but eventually I made the call and booked the appointment for Nell's spaying, and after a pre-op bath..
...and nil-by-mouth from the night before, off she went bright and early, and us feeling very naughty indeed telling her that she was going somewhere really nice for the day as she jumped in the back of the car, with her blanket and Woofy, thinking it was to be a lovely walk on Dartmoor or something. Her beloved Foxy had eventually been kidnapped and disembowelled by Rusty and the garden littered with kapok, replacement Woofy 20p in charity shop. Incidentally, about two days after I showed off that lovely indoor pen Little Nell howled the place down, refused to go in it and, until this week had been sleeping very happily with the grown-up dogs outside in her own kennel and run ever since.
The nil-by-mouth had been bad enough and had involved keeping her on the lead for fear of her finding a nice juicy pile of long-dead something-or-other, but the walking into the vets with a shivering little dog was much worse, and we realised that in thirty-four years of dog-ownership we had never actually left a dog at the vets before.
Cats yes, guinea pig the day the ferret attacked it, hamster for facial surgery (yes, really) children if only they had accepted them, but never a dog.
Honestly, you'd think we were taking a child for surgery... blanket, cuddly toy, questionnaire, check-over, consent, swallowing hard as she was led off by the nice nurse, going shopping and for coffee somewhere afterwards to take our minds off the fact she'd be frightened.
Of course Nell was fine and very sleepily pleased to see us later in the day, having apparently been a model in-patient, the epitome of good canine behaviour which is what any 'parent' wants to hear, but I expect they say it to everyone. But she looked so hang-dog and embarrassed by this lampshade around her neck.
A post-anaesthetic Sprocker is an unexpected, and dare I say it, enjoyable respite actually... and they had trimmed her claws while she was under because we have been trying to pin her down and do it for weeks and failed. The nurse advised us that she may or may not be clever enough to figure out how to eat whilst wearing a lampshade, some dogs apparently just sit and stare at the food and can't work it out at all. No surprise to find that Nell plonked the thing accurately around her bowl and knocked back scrambled eggs and rice for her first post-op meal before flopping off to sleep on her bed again.
None of this lasted long (including the scrambled egg dinners) the collar was off the next day and with lumps chewed out in an effort to punish it, she was going stir-crazy indoors and having the canine equivalent of panic attacks as she tried to scratch some maddening itch and couldn't. I can confirm that it is best to see how those collars have been constructed before you take them apart and then try to re-fix one onto a conscious and unwilling dog. It took two of us half an hour, the Tinker ran back to his house to escape, and tempers were fraying all round.
Back on it went because the surgery is expensive enough at £193 without a return visit for chewed stitches and back into her kennel where she calmed down instantly. It's home and it's safe.
Rusty admittedly was trying not to laugh.
We have reached a compromise though, collar on if she is out in the kennel and at night (sleeping back indoors for the week) collar off for walks and food. In fact she is now surprisingly used to it, sits quietly while we slot it back over her head and poses out in her kennel looking for all the world like a cosmonaut dog about to go into space... bless.
She has also learnt that if she tosses an apple up in the air she has a much better chance of catching it now.
The trouble is animals don't seem to realise they've had anything done do they??
And according to the post-op missive sent home with her, it is our job to ensure the success of the surgery and a good recovery with light exercise only (this is a dog who probably runs the equivalent of twenty to thirty miles a day) and not letting her run, jump, or otherwise exert herself in any way for ten days.
Ten days of frustrated lead walking *sigh*, like walking soap on a rope... five done, five to go and once it's all over Nell is off to the grooming parlour for a decent bath and a trim of those hairy legs. I'm looking through the magazines for suitable styles for her ears.