Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alfred lives! At least for a little while. This makes me very glad, but also makes me a little embarrassed at how upset I was yesterday when I thought he was going to get put down. Dad writes:
Alf has had a 'senile vesticular syndrome' incident. The nearest thing to this in human terms is a stroke. At his age the vet advised it was not worth the cost of doing an MRI scan. This would probably only tell us more precisely what is generally obvious from his symptoms. The treatment he suggested is rest and physiotherapy. The latter is aimed at hopefully restoring his mobility to the point where he can get himself outside for No 1s and No 2s. The practical issue is nursing a large and rather heavy dog. We will just soldier on for a while and see how both Alf and we cope.

Matt and I took him to the vet in the black plastic wheelbarrow tub. You would have laughed - King Alf and his two litter bearers. I could not think of anything better at the time to be able to lift him into the back seat of the car. The vet suggested I support his back legs with a towel under his tummy. This enables him to walk a little and he is definitely improving. We will review his progress with the vet on Saturday. I have to make some cloth strips to go round his shoulders so I can lift him up with two handles - one at the front and the other at the back. This will be less strain for both of us.

Matt is back from Adelaide and he is able to spend a little time with him in the mornings. The other fortunate thing about timing is that the weather is milder now so if we have to leave him on his bed on the back verandah during the day it will not be too cold for him.
I am wondering what is going to happen to the hole that Dad dug in the backyard. Is poor old Alf going to have to sit on the back verandah staring at his own grave? Of course, he probably doesn't give a shit, being a dog and all that, but the possibilities for dark farce really are endless.

Yesterday I was also thinking that Dad has always drawn the short straw when it comes to pets. As a child, he had a cat called Persil (so named because he had a white shirtfront and Persil is a laundry detergent), who crawled under the house to die. Because Dad was the smallest and thus the only one who would fit, he had to go under the house to retrieve Persy's decaying corpse. This incident has always struck me as truly horrifying, akin to the incident in Gremlins where Phoebe Cates tells how her dad went missing at Christmas and then weeks later they found his body stuck in the chimney, dressed in a Santa suit. Having to dispose of the body of a loved pet has thus always been one of my greatest fears.

But yeah, the dog's okay - for the moment.

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