so, thursday we were on the towpath. poppet was on the lead, everything was normal. a woman up ahead had two dogs off the lead, and i saw her put a lead on one of her dogs. this led me to feel perfectly safe, since normally if someone is conscientious enough to put their possibly aggressive dog on a lead then if they leave their other dog off leash then they probably know what they are doing. WRONG.
when we drew near the other dog simply leapt on pops, biting her. it was sudden and frenzied. the woman got her dog off and was apologetic, though she seemed more interested in shouting at her dog than making sure mine was alright.
thing is, staffies are hardy creatures. i said i couldn’t see any damage and we left the scene of the crime. poppet was a little shaken, so i took her a longer walk than i was intending to burn of her adrenaline and on the way back she played with a staffie she knew, so i thought all was well.
when i got her home i saw that there was quite a bad tear on her ear. i cleaned it and put a bit of superglue on it. she was a bit shaken and clingy but i didn’t think too much of it. indeed in my post superglue and staying in you can see i was all but blase.
by the saturday there was also a pronounced lump on the back of her head, so i thought perhaps she’d had a nip there, too. sunday it was the same, but she’d let me touch it, and her ear, and the ear looked like it was mending.
horror of horrors, monday morning, the lump was enormous and hot. we made an appointment at a local vet’s and took her along.
the vet had a good look at her, and said that the wound might have healed on it’s own but that the dog had bitten cartilage as well, which meant an operation. he wasn’t sure what the lump was about, but would shave it and inspect it while she was under. he thinks it could be an abscess? he cleaned the wound and put a lampshade on her, and said that it would cost around £600.
i had planned to start using the free vet and stop paying insurance, but i never got around to it. i will have to pay an excess, but it is under £100, so most of it is covered. in more boring but relevant news, i fell and messed my back up and have been migraining for days, so waiting in line at the free vet’s would have been really hard on me, even with ten’s help.
this morning she has gone off to have surgery. ian offered to drive her, and ten has gone too. i am at home with my migraine medication, trying to get well enough to travel to physio today. i really need it, but the timing is pretty bad.
because of the move, this was our first time at this vet, and he gave us some startling news. he had a look at her teeth, and said that the damaged one would have to come out – it’s been like that since i got her, but neither of the other vets said anything. i assumed i’d have to get it looked at sooner or later, and maybe use the free vet for that, since insurance tends not to cover teeth. looking at her, though, he said that she was much older than three and a half… reader! he says she is six!
so, in one moment her age doubled! see, when i got her i did ask, and i wasn’t totally convinced, but the people who rescued her said that she was a year old, and that she had been bred from, probably too early, and that her greying muzzle was probably a hormonal reaction to being bred too young. on the other hand, they didn’t know she was a full staffie, so skinny was she when she was rescued. it was only when i took her to be chipped a couple of months later that they realized that she was a proper staff and not a cross. crosses tend to have a skinnier figure, staffs are more like bulldogs, with the slim hips and the muscular shoulders, and that was the other thing, a few months later she really filled out and stopped eating as much, so i assumed that they had actually been right, and that this was her coming into her adult body. i don’t know what was up with that, but i am inclined to believe new vet. he says she can be no younger than five. suddenly i have a middle aged dog and not a youngster!
so, what did we learn? that my 20\2o hindsight is as good as it ever was. that, while poppet is a great ambassador for peace among dog kind, we might benefit from being a bit more wary of stranger danger, perhaps especially when there is more than one dog. all the rest is ‘if only’ and coincidence or fate.
ten’s just got back. she’s having her operation now. fingers crossed and all prayers gratefully received.