As a child I wanted to be a vet. For many, many years this was all that made any sense to me. Then, alas I became a teenager and so forth and the common sense and logic of the child evaporated from my brain leading me into the stupidity that is being an adult.
I drifted from my true self, of being an animal lover, into the daft world of humans and thought that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. I was unwisely seduced into the arts and other airy fairy dribble and thought that my calling was to rather study psychology, indeed to help people. Ha! What bollocks. I don’t even like people. When I was a child I knew who I was, Paul is wrong, thinking and acting like children is the only authentic thing we every do. It is when we become adults that our senses become clouded and we become stupid. When you are a child, undisturbed by the world, untouched by foolish influences, you are your true self. How wise am I? You may pause now, dear reader, and take a moment to marvel at my noble insights.
So yes, sadly I never became a vet. Funnily I didn’t become a psychologist (give me a moment, I’m resisting the urge to vomit) either, thank goodness. I soon realised that psychology was all about people and involved far too much bullshit for me to tolerate. Instead I studied literature, another of the indispensably useful fields that are all very lovely but don’t really earn you a living. It’s the dreary accounting diploma that pays my bills. Again, I feel the bile rise.
Anyway, you thought this all doom and gloom, didn’t you? Don’t despair, there’s a light side to everything. Even if it smacks of sarcasm. So because I’m not a vet, God took pity on me and gave me Max. It’s that simple. Max is my 55 kilo, six year old Rottweiler. If it weren’t for my childhood horse, Charger, a jet black thoroughbred Black Beauty lookalike, handsome but Spawn-of-Satan I may add, and my much loved cat Macavity, who died ten years ago and whom I was hopelessly attached to, I would say that Max is the love of my life. The Precious. Perhaps he’s my dog-love-of-my-life; perhaps one may have one per animal species. Humans are strictly excluded from this, since they are an inferior species. Ah Max, there can be none like him. I just adore him. If I had to lose everything in life and still have Max, I’d be okay. No, I probably wouldn’t but it seemed like a nice gushy thing to say.
Max is a dear thing, but for all his heart and spirit he’s not very bright. He’s a very handsome male; I think this may have some correlation with human counterparts, but I’m just speculating. Max does not have the IQ of a German Shepard. And when Max gets something into his dumb little head, make that colossal head, it’s really hard to convince him otherwise. For two years now I have been battling with Max over an acral lick granuloma. This is the affliction from hell and if I ever find a solution I would like it etched onto my tombstone.
It all started in May 2011. Jan’s children and decided to move to their mother and Jan got a contract to work in Switzerland for nine weeks. We had just sold our property, so during this time I had to pack up our things and move house. Allow me just a tiny bit if me-time here to wallow in self-pity and earn some sympathy from my imaginary -and very compassionate- reader. (My site only gets visited by spamsters, so I pretend to have fans and tell myself that many, many people of great intelligence and esteem visit my site and marvel and my words, they are just too shy to tell me.) What am I talking about me-time! This is my story, this is my website, oh what a fool I can be: so yes, indulge me: I have a really, really bad back, since my teenage years and with two operations already, er, behind me. And at the point of that move, without the help of my big, strong husband, in August 2011, my back was utterly wrecked. In November 2011 I had another massive operation including two laminectomies and a multi-level fusion involving titanium spares that would make Wolverine blush. Against all odds, I tell you, I’m a bloody champion; it’s just that nobody knows, but now you do, dear legitimate reader, and I feel consoled even though you probably don’t exist.
Moving swiftly on, so to speak, Max was terribly unsettled by the disharmony in his environment. His alpha male, whom he adores, had left the country without explaining that he would return. Jan works from home, you see, so Max is accustomed to having him there all day. The children didn’t come home from school like they used to and I was packing up the house. He began licking his paw. And so began a nightmare. He licked and he licked until it was raw. Then it got infected and he licked some more. (Read it again, it sounds like poetry. I could have been a vet and a poet) This vicious circle has been the bane of my life for the last two years, there isn’t a treatment or a salve or a pill or an ointment or a therapy I have not tried. I can list: three buster collars (The bucket like contraption of shame that you affix around the hound’s neck to prevent him from getting to the wound. They are rubbish by the way, far too pricey and no contest for a determined Rotti no matter how much duct tape you reinforce it with.) every animal anti-bacterial cream on the market, cortisone, Avert lotion (vile tasting aloe vera stuff meant to taste so bad he’ll stop licking…pah!) outrageously expensive imported Anti-Lick plasters, tea tree oil, Neem oil imported from India, Stockholm Tar, herbal tranquilisers, weeks and weeks of anti-biotic and kilometres and kilometres, I’m not exaggerating, of bandage and Elastoplast. No matter how I reinforce it – duct tape, even duct tape in reverse sprinkled liberally with chilli seeds – he will get it off sooner or later. With amazing regularity I bandage his leg and after a couple of days he rips the bandage off. And licks. Even if the leg is healed, he licks. And the refrain goes: He licked and he licked until it was raw. Then it got infected and he licked some more. Then I try again. And again. And again. He already knows when I call him to the front veranda to lie down on his back and extend his bad leg to me to have the old tatty bandage cut off and a new, white sock, several centimetres thick, carefully wrapped and wrapped and wrapped around his leg. He closes his eyes and waits to have his tummy scratched while mommy coos. “Gooooooood Booooooyyyyy”, as I learned in Puppy Class. (He learned diddly squat in Puppy Class by the way – see reference to IQ above). One has to be rather cautious not to hurt him, have you every cut a bandage off a Rottweiler?
One of our vets told me the he once put plaster of Paris on a dog in a desperate attempt to stop the licking. I even phoned an animal behaviourist who wanted R1400 for two consultations and I had to bring the hound to him, 80 kms away. Have you ever travelled with a Rotti? So no, I didn’t try that and I will also admit, I have not tried fluoxetine. I think that is pushing it.
So I’m done joking about this, there is no cure out there. Max has what human medical aids like to call a chronic condition. Please visit the link below to acquaint yourself with this, which is my cross to bear. Today again I shall head to the vets for more ammo, more cortisone gel and probably another course of anti-biotic.
So you wonder what the meaning in all this is, and you know by now that I am nothing short of a sage with the wisdom of Gandalf and the insight of Socrates. You see, God gave Max so that every second Saturday morning I get to be a vet. Granted I’m a rubbish vet, but a vet none the less.