Thursday 29 March 2012
Jack hadn't been in our car since the day we brought him home, & prior to that his recent experiences were of being driven to Battersea by his previous owners, the long journey from Battersea to our local rescue centre, & then the day we collected him. His report said 'travels well in the car', but even so we couldn't blame him if he'd developed bad associations with cars, & so we thought that it was time to remind him that such journeys can actually lead to nice things. Before it got too hot this morning (hot - in March?!) we decided to take him up on Dartmoor; our nearest bit of moor always has loads of sheep & ponies roaming around, so that didn't seem a good idea, but then we remembered a really nice spot that we'd passed on our way to one of the homing centres & had meant to go back & investigate, so decided to take him there. Jack initially got very excited at the prospect of a walk, but, almost more than hating having his collar interfered with, he hates having his harness put on, & he put up a real struggle; he was confused when, instead of hubby leading him down the front steps for the walk he was expecting, he was coaxed down the ramp & into the car, & then panicky when hubby strapped him in the car & left him whilst he came back to fetch me, so that for a couple of minutes he couldn't see either of us. So by the time we set off he was already agitated: he was shaking, panting, & whimpering, & in spite of me constantly reassuring him & sneaking him treats, the longer we drove the more anxious he became - he also probably picked up on the atmosphere in the car, as, being rather distracted on the dog-sitting front, I slipped up on my navigating duties & we got LOST! Being lost wouldn't have mattered if only we could have found a suitable spot to pull up & release Jack from the car, but it was ages before we found such a place. However, getting lost turned out to be A Good Thing, as the place we found was even nicer than the one we were meant to be heading for; it would be perfect for a picnic, so we definitely plan to go back there (what's the betting we never manage to find it again?). Jack's agitation could have been as much to do with a full bladder as being in the car, as the first thing he did when he got out of the car was an astonishingly long pee; he then rummaged around attempting to mark every tree & bush, but of course had nothing left in his bladder to achieve his aim! We spent an hour or so enjoying the scenery, Jack enjoying all the new smells, & I took loads of photos; but whilst many of them were of Jack, I decided to post this one - which did in fact have a bit of Jack in it (his slobber on the lens) before I Photo-shopped it out!
Jack was much more relaxed on the way home, so much so that, as we were passing that way anyway, we decided to take up our new vet clinic's invitation to take him in for an informal visit - the idea being that he would be more relaxed in the future if his first visit hadn't been at a time when he was feeling ill/about to have an injection. He was petted & fussed by the reception staff, made friends with another dog in the waiting area, & then we went to meet the nurse, who weighed him, checked him over, & after he'd flirted with her, declared him to be 'a splendid dog' who appeared to have fallen on his feet when he adopted us.
We were all in need of a drink & a rest when we got home, then more time out in the garden: hubby fettling the new arbour, me declaring war on another patch of damned 'sticky weed' that I'd spotted, & Jack alternately chilling out &
getting in our way helping us. I've been having a really good spell over the past few days, & have loved being able to spend time in the garden; when hubby & I were sat having a coffee we both agreed how jolly lucky we were to have such a wonderful garden, & how lucky it was that I was being allowed to enjoy it. We spoke too soon. I don't know how I managed it (though you'd think that, having done the same thing twice before on each foot, I'd have learned by now), but I stood up awkwardly (even more so than usual) & twisted my ankle. After another sit down & a rest it didn't feel too bad, & I managed to hobble back indoors for an overdue lie down; but as the afternoon wore on it began to hurt even more; frozen broad beans weren't helping (perhaps it's only peas that work?) & in spite of keeping it elevated it was swelling up, & then when I tried to stand on it white hot pain shot up my leg. So at tea time we made a visit to the cottage hospital minor injuries unit, where it was pronounced as a 'bad sprain' with probably a torn ligament, & was dressed with a support bandage; it's a bit difficult to judge how well I can walk on it when I can't walk very well at the best of times, but I was advised that if it's still as painful in the morning then I'm to present myself back at the hospital for an x-ray. Jack was howling when we got home, but he hadn't disgraced himself, & he gave us both an ecstatic welcome. Difficult as it is, he's just going to have to get used to us leaving him. As for me: an emergency dentist visit last Thursday, ahospital visit this Thursday, I can hardly wait to see what next Thursday brings!
Things we've learned about Jack
He has an amazing bladder capacity
He really hates having his harness put on
He still doesn't trust us not to abandon him
He's an outrageous flirt - & is basically anyone's