Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Yep, completely surrounded by the brown stuff

YOU might want to look away now if you’re eating your Corn Flakes, or eating anything for that matter. That is if you haven’t already moved on to the property section having been, quite rightly, put off by the headline.

I apologise for this, I really do, but I didn’t know how else to put it because this past week has been a s**t show of epic proportions both in and around the House of Elliott.

It all started with poor Cookie, our stunningly bonkers nearly two-year-old Irish Setter, being unable to, er, contain himself overnight, thus emptying his bowels two, sometimes three, times a night. On the kitchen floor.

Now, despite loopy appearances, he really does know better than that and has never been averse to scratching the locked back door to within an inch of its life in an effort to wake me up, open said back door and let him out so he can do his thing in the garden or on the paving stones along the side return if it’s raining and the grass is wet (he’s a sensitive soul).

So after two nights and several daytime disasters, when the back door had been flung wide open and I was desperately trying to usher him out like a demented air steward, gesturing frantically to the nearest exit, only for him to look at me blankly and assume the position, I finally took him to the vet.

And even though poor Cooks did not fully submit to the rectal thermometer (who can blame him?), I gave a brief and totally disgusting description of the symptoms and a diagnosis of colitis was swiftly made.

Had I changed his food lately? Does he seem more anxious than usual to me? What on earth have I done to this poor, unsuspecting and devilishly handsome hound?!

I owned up to screaming at him mid-poo that very morning, blaming a lack of sleep and running out of Febreze for my outburst. Maybe that made him nervous? Or, quite literally, scared the s*** out of him.

The vet nodded sagely. “And what have you been feeding him?” he asked.

“The usual stuff,” I frowned, looking at the floor while my mind licked its fingers and flicked through the pages of my memory, “Kibble, some wet stuff… obviously, he steals food from the kitchen bench top regularly… salmon skins...”


“Salmon skins?” I said slowly, suddenly realising that Cookie’s problem could, in fact, have been completely caused by me, my scoffing habits and a history of playing fast and loose with all the variations of salmon from the Co-op.

The vet sucked on his lips, shook his head, dropped to his knees and hugged Cookie as though he was in an old Lassie film and they’d just been reunited after months of forced separation.

“But I thought salmon skin was good for him — you know, the benefits of fish oils to keep his coat shiny and that beautiful rusty colour.”

“No, no NO!” The vet leapt to his feet. “Salmon skin is incredibly fatty, far too rich for a dog. His large intestine will be extremely inflamed.”

“And I suppose the sweet chili sauce didn’t help...”

The vet’s face fell and he looked at me like I was an idiot. Cookie’s jaw dropped and he looked at me like I was an idiot. What could I say?

“God, I am so sorry, Cookie.” I try to cuddle him but he thrusts his snout in the air and stands behind the vet’s legs.

I draw myself up to my full height and declare that we must do whatever it takes, whatever the cost. Well, you can’t put a price on your beloved pet’s health now, can you?

A timely injection, five days of antibiotics, 15 cans of ludicrously-expensive Royal Canin and one optimistic insurance claim later, Cookie’s totally recovered.

But I haven’t. And I won’t anytime soon considering that just now both kids have come home with dog poo on the soles of their shoes. Two kids. Four soles.

As I lose the will to live and scrape their shoes clean, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life comes to mind. Especially these lines:

“Cos life’s a piece of s***
      When you look at it…”

And I smile to myself in a slightly mad way.

But that’s another story…

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