02 September 2008

don’t play again, Sam ... or quelles mauvaises herbes !

We went for our morning walk joined, as usual, by Sam the Golden Retriever. Sam’s owners let him wander around all day whilst they are at work. He’s often waiting for us because, quite understandably, he loves to go for walks with people. I feel so sad for him – I think he’s a young dog and obviously needs lots of exercise which is why, no doubt, they let him out in the morning to spend the day following people up and down the canal.

The problem is : I’ve often found him in our chemin – so he has crossed the main road, which can be very busy at times. Also, he’s a large dog and the the track along the canal is somewhat narrow. On Thursday, last week, right at the start of our walk, he knocked me down. He’d just met up with us, was full of beans and so happy to see L B. They started running up and down using me a ‘home’ and Sam ran into the back of me, causing me to twist my left ankle, come thumping down on my right buttock ending up flat on the path. What a great game this is, thought Sam and came and threw himself down between my splayed legs and rolled onto his back, muddy paws in the air. L B, being the intelligent dog he is, realised with my cry as I went down and the moaning as I lay motionless that something was definitely not right and promptly jumped on my stomach, growling at Sam.

There the three of us stayed for some moments until I felt able to move the two dogs away from me and work out whether I could get to my feet and if so, would I then be able to walk ? Luckily I was able to do both and was glad that there had been no-one around to see how inelegantly I scrambled upright, clutching to the chain-link fence for support. I gingerly placed one foot in front of the other and hobbled slowly along with one hand against the fence. They started again ! Racing up and down the path and spinning round at the point I stood. “Get away, dégagez, you blasted animals !”

I walked for a little, but progress was slow and they carried on their game of tag until I decided I could take no more and headed for home feeling somewhat sorry for myself.

The ankle swelled, the buttock and pelvis felt slightly bruised and everything ached and creaked, so no more walks for L B and I until yesterday morning.

Sam appeared and was somewhat calmer, but they always go mad when we get down to a grassy track away from the canal as we’ve turned for home. The tag started again and I spotted a short, thickish stick which I picked up with a thought of using it in some way to keep Sam at bay ... too late – he’s a Retriever, after all – he grabbed the stick from my hand and started galloping up and down with the stick protruding from either side of his mouth at knee level ! Not a good idea. Luckily his attention span was short and he dropped it a little further along, to investigate an interesting smell. A little further along, he came rushing out of the undergrowth, with L B in pursuit, carrying half a dried baguette. He ran L B followed and I wondered how far L B would go before he realised that Sam wasn’t going to stop this time and was taking his prize home. Not very long and we enjoyed our Sam-less walk all the more until we got to his place to see him swallowing the last mouthful. L B sniffed at the crumbs, but Tibetan Terriers aren’t too fussed about scavenging for food.

Back to this morning : Sam’s obviously been in the water already and seems relatively calm, but continues jumping in and out of the canal, shaking furiously, jumping straight back in. Even L B stands back and I’ve already got wet shoes, splashes on my trousers and a couple of wet, faintly muddy patches on my calves where he has pushed past me. When we get to the open area where the potager is right next to the canal I stop momentarily to take photos of the new growth on the courgette plants as a follow-up to my earlier post. The two of them are playing along the verge and in and out of the vegetables – oh yikes, please don’t let them have done any damage. L B starts rubbing himself along the ground and I realise that I can’t see his white eye ... It is totally closed by some innocent-looking grass which acts like irreversible velcro and hermetically seals whatever is underneath. Then I see he is absolutely covered in the stuff around the right side of his head, the short hair on his legs and around the paws. I sit on the bank and try in vain to part the fur over his eye. A local dogwalker with his tiny Yorkshire Terrier – who yaps frantically at these two when ever we meet him – offers to go to his nearby house for scissors, which I decline (I hope, graciously) as I don’t have my glasses with me.

I put L B on the lead and walk as fast as my fragile ankle will allow, to try and stop him from rubbing his face. By the time we’re nearing the end of the canal he has managed to put his head in the dirt a couple of times and jump in and out of the canal as if he were able to gain some relief from this horrible stuff. Another dog walker holds her dog and stands out of the way. She asks if Sam is my dog and says he often follows her. I tell her he is not, but not to worry as he will probably follow us and not her. During this time she has looked down at L B and the expression on her face as she says “Je croîs qu’il y a un petit problème ... I think there’s a small problem... ” makes me glance at him to see that all of the right side of his snout has grass sticking out of it and where his eye once was is now covered in grey dust. I mutter about the mauvaises herbes and getting back to sort him out and she says it will probably be necessary to take him to the vet. Not again, I’m thinking, we must have bought shares in the veterinary practice by now – how I wish I’d taken out what seems now to be a most reasonably priced pet insurance and wonder if Sam’s owners are covered for any accidents he may cause ...

I see Sam’s garden gate is open and bundle him through, pulling it to until the bell clangs and I rush on. By the time we cross over the road and get to our chemin all L B wants to do is put his face down and not move. So I pick him up and carry all 8kg of him up the hill and the rest of the way home. In the house, he stays in the kitchen were I put him down, whilst I search for the seam unpicker – some tip I’d read about on a pet-grooming site.

It took 35 minutes to free his eye, some of the fur round is nose and the stuff that had got into the (already short) hair between his pads. His eye, which looked extremely red, now looks fine and I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon carefully freeing the fur on his legs. If I thought he looked a bit wonky after his dog grooming with Amandine, you should see him now !


Barbee' said...

Oh, my goodness! What a terrible time. Don't you sometimes wonder what people do with their time who have neither pets nor children?! I do know the frolicking exuberance of Golden Retrievers, we have had two for grand doggies. It is a shame when people adopt dogs that do not fit their lifestyle. That dog needs to live where he has to do a lot of physical work.

merlinprincesse said...

Merci de votre gentil commentaire sur mon blog. Ce fut très apprécié.

Lucy Corrander said...

Hope you are ok now.

I was walking along on the edge of Exmoor once when a Jack Russel decided to follow along.

I took him back to the house he seemed to have come from . . . no-one in . . . no gate . . . so he carried on following, wandering around in the middle of the country road (no pavements).

Motorists kept glaring at me, obviously thinking he was with me.

I tried another house to see if anyone recognied him . . . no-one in.

Third house . . . no-one in but dogs barking from inside . . . so I shut him in that garden (with gate!) reckoning if they had dogs they would probably know what to do with this one . . . meanwhile, he wouldn't be able to cause any accidents.

I often wonder what the owners of the house thought when they came home and discovered they had inherited and extra dog!


Lucy Corrander said...

Oh, and I was going to say thanks for adding PICTURES JUST PICTURES to the list of blogs you are 'following'.

I wasn't sure whether to add the gadget. It's so new - if no-one used it, the empty space would look a bit silly! But it's got off to a good start - thanks.


bare-faced gardener said...

You’re welcome.
Thank you too. I wondered when it was going to come live and whether I would have the courage to put it up and risk it staying blank !

Barbee' said...

bare-faced gardener, what is chemin? Is it like an alley-way? I have forwarded this post to two of my family members. They asked, and I do not know, either.

pomona belvedere said...

I enjoyed reading this. At least you got a good story out of all your troubles. And you're all right about golden retrievers: they really need people, and they really need a lot of exercise.

Congratulations on your ingenious seam-ripping cure for LB. Poor dog! I am constantly picking stickers out of my cat this time of year, but haven't had anything nearly as gummed up as you and LB.

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