NHS For Pets

Sir Stinkalot of Doggleton-Wagfordshire, aka Tango, went to see the vet today. But not just any old bog-standard, garden-gnome variety vet, no. We went to the Edinburgh Pet Hospital run by the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals). It’s like the NHS for pets, except the waiting times aren’t as long as they are in the National Human Service.

We were seen on time today. The longest I’ve had to wait is an hour but it’s an amusing wait because they call out the names of the pets followed by the owner’s surname.

“Tyson McCulloch!” I scanned around the room to guess who that was, figuring it was the American Bulldog owning a whole corner of the waiting room. Nope – up stood a woman with a Chihuahua Jack Russell cross, tucked neatly under her arm. Stifled sniggers all round.

Next up, “Buttercup Millar!” Everyone’s eyes start scanning for the cat box. Nope – the American Bulldog! Sniggers getting louder. But the last laugh was on me.

“Tango Bone!” I pretended not to hear the laughter, preferring to focus on getting into the consulting room as quickly as possible. Tango put the brakes on. I pulled him on the lead, his paws and bum sliding across the floor. Realising this looked like I was strangling him, I picked him up to get into the room as fast as possible. He’s only 6kg to my 76kg, but I’m 13kg overweight and having a fat tummy makes it hard to bend down and so I have to splay my legs so I don’t keel over while trying to lift him. What a state. And here’s the thing – Bone isn’t even my name!

My name is on Tango’s file but, because he was first registered by my ex, it’s his name they always call out. Tango Bone… I wonder if there’s a Mittens Chew out there somewhere. Or a Joey Millett.

So Tango has… Arthritis, especially in his hind knee, hence the hurpling about. A cataract in his right eye and “sparkles” in his left that obscure his vision like snow falling in front of the iris. The vet said that she’d only seen this once before in a dog and when he was sent to a specialist, the diagnosis was “nothing serious, just old age”. The vet also said Tango’s pupils were unusually dilated but we put that down to the fact that he hadn’t been fed yet and was scanning for titbits as well as large dogs. It could also possibly have been a shared wide-eyed embarrassment at the Bone thing – dogs can pick up cues and imitate you like that. He can no longer be allowed to walk off lead down the Water of Leith path because he has no idea where the edge of the water is and the last time he fell in, Mr Bone had to jump into the river to fetch him out.

He’s also partially deaf. Coughs and sneezes every day. And vomits at least once a week (sensitive tumtum). But he still has a BRILLIANT nose, is an ideal weight, loves his chuck and is doing great for a 16 year old Parsons Russell Terrier. So off we trotted, me all smiles with my “all clear” and him with his Metacam for arthritis.

Now that’s what I call a GOOD DAY!

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