The kids have left home – but we remain hide-bound by two other youngsters: Fudge and Ella. The latter is gnawing at whatever she can find and acting like a sulky teenager out on walks, refusing to do as she is told and simply wandering off to explore in hedgerows or eat cow shit, while the older, more sensible dog (haha) managed to cut her eye open while digging in the undergrowth – probably showing off to her younger compadre.
We gave Fudge absolutely no sympathy whatsoever and simply wiped the cut clean – probably with a dirty dish cloth or whatever I had in my hand at the time. To be honest, when she first came in with the wound, I thought she has been involved in a road accident: her eye was swollen and she was covered in mud, as if she had been thrown into a ditch. Only later did I find the tunnel she had been working on – a sort of combined Tom, Dick and Harry (from the Great Escape) – and realised that she had clearly got carried away trying to dig through some rusty chain link fencing.
Three days later she could not see out of the eye as it had (not surprisingly I guess) become infected. So a trip to the vets saw a large bill for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and painkillers. Not to mention the obligatory bucket on the head – or cone of shame as it is beautifully termed in Up. A week later, the eye was now scabbed over, but seemingly better, until the vet scrubbed away the dried blood to reveal a small canyon of a wound above the eye – which would need stitches.
So the next day an increasingly stressed dog was once again taken to the vet and four stitches put over the eye. Another week of bucket clanging fun and games and today I am pleased to report the stitches came out and Fudge is finally back to her normal self.
While Fudge has been injured and recovering from the operation, Ella has been quite respectful of her. She has not made any great attempt to have mock fights or to get too worked up with Fudge. Indeed, she has spent more and more of her time heading off by herself on walks, which is driving Claire and I mad, as she simply ignores our calls and whistles. We are assured that this is simply the doggy equivalent of adolescence, when your adorable puppy is simply testing the boundaries as she wanders off to follow different scents. Like any teenager, she probably thinks that she knows it all by now and that we just a nuisance to her when she is out on a walk.
Things came to a head last week-end when, after an afternoon in garden hiding from Claire, she decided not come back in when she went out for her bedtime outing. I trudged down the garden to find her. It’s not an easy job finding a black dog in the dark, in the pouring rain. She really made me jump when she appeared from the bushes behind me – with a bird’s wing sticking out the side of her mouth.
“Have you been eating something Ella?”
“Whmm mmm? Nmmm” would have been the answer, with a mouthful of magpie feathers. The combination of a labrador’s nose with a labrador’s appetite makes for a single-minded dog, whatever the time of day. It was no better the next morning when I was up early to play golf, when I had to walk down the garden to get her in for her breakfast.
As they say, this will hopefully be a phase she goes through. Thankfully, Fudge’s recuperative phase is finally over, after two weeks in the cone of shame. The stitches came out on Thursday.