Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Broken Dreams

Well, I think that Sarah’s prompts for the last two days have been spookily prophetic. What a couple of days we’ve had. There is not one iota of fiction in my tale that follows.

We’ve had our lovely dog, Monty, since he was eight years old. We’ve no idea of his history except that in his last home he was tied up outside all day in all weathers. He was only with them for four years so before that, who knows? He’s never said and it’s been a matter for speculation over the years.

We recently registered our interest in taking in another rescue dog from the same organisation although apparently there has been some split between its organisers and one half takes in dogs from Ireland and the other doesn’t. Our contact belongs to the half who do.

Having worked out that Monty is fine with female dogs, we thought it would be nice for him to have doggy company. It wasn’t long before we had a phone call to say that an appropriate bitch had just arrived from Ireland and that we could go and meet her at the kennels. It was a long, long journey through torrential showers, thunder lightning. Our youngest child felt sick all the way there and my husband, all the way back. An omen, perhaps?

We had a choice between Sasha, a very nervous dog who had been under-nourished and ill-treated and Cassie who was happy, lively, confident and very friendly. Sasha obviously needed time to adjust to her new situation and a quiet home which ours certainly isn’t so it seemed sensible to choose Cassie. Aside from the weather, the journey home with her went well. We stopped off at the local pet store to buy a new collar, food dish and dog treats for her.

The introduction went well. Monty had a little snap at her out on a walk following which she seemed to avoid looking at him, meaning that he was still top dog. We knew that this might change at some point because the females are usually dominant. When they were taken out into the garden late at night, Cassie leapt on Monty for trying to get through the door back into the house before her; this was a sign that the tables were turning. The night passed peacefully with both dogs sharing the downstairs space without incident.

In the morning, I fed the dogs and took them out individually for walks. This was to be a busy week with my husband taking time off work to lay flooring upstairs and our youngest son’s birthday on Thursday; we had to go into town to buy his present. We were in Argos when my mobile rang and my husband joked ‘I wonder who the dog’s eaten?’. It was our second eldest son in a panic. My mother, who had been babysitting, had given a crust of bread to each dog. Monty had finished first and looked over to see if Cassie had finished hers. She went for him, clamping her jaws around Monty’s face. My mother tried to separate them, was bitten on both legs by Cassie and was knocked to the floor. She shouted for the two youngest children to fetch their older brother but they were too terrified to move. Eventually, he heard the noise and came running. He tried to pull Cassie off Monty but couldn’t do so without risking further injury to Monty’s face as she was gripping tight. In the end he had to hit Cassie to stun her into letting go. This worked and he threw her out into the garden. Unfortunately, this was the first time that she had been let out there off-lead and she took the opportunity to disappear through the hole the foxes have been making bigger. I went out into the street to see her running after the postman with her tail wagging. I called her and luckily, she came back to me. I hauled her into the house and shut her in the study.

I managed to persuade my mother who was obviously quite shaken, to let me take her to the Minor Injuries Unit. Her skin was too thin to stitch but they dressed the wounds and gave her antibiotics. She has to go back again today. I’m not sure I would have been as calm as she was by the end of yesterday.

I took Monty to the vet and they shaved part of his swollen head, gave him antibiotics and painkillers. He has to go back on Friday.

A lady from the organisation we got her from came to collect Cassie at 4.30pm. We bought fish and chips for dinner and I spent the evening sitting with Monty who looked very sorry for himself indeed. He will be writing his own account of this traumatic experience once he’s up to it.

As for getting another dog, we won’t be. At least, we won’t have two dogs at the same time if you get my meaning.

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