“Your dog can’t walk,” the woman shouts, after whistling at me to stop. Sure enough Daisy is lying in the grass bank, head down in her paws and pulling at something. A minute earlier she was playing with the woman’s dog, and I had walked on, expecting Daisy to follow, as she usually does. I walk back to Daisy, who won’t let me look at her paws, snapping and growling at me when I try. I have a fair idea of what’s happening; she’s caught those long nails on the side of her paw on the ground while twisting and turning with the little black dog. I put the collar on her and continue walking, she gets up and follows, though she stops now and again to lick her wounds.
We make it home from the park, and Daisy goes straight to her bed to recover. I give her a snack, and she seems fine, still licking the sore paws but able to walk around and greet the others in the house. All evening she’s protective of the nails, hiding her paws from me and growling if I try look. Animals are often best left alone to look after small injuries, though I expect Daisy will have me at the vets at some stage. In the morning we go for our walk around the park. Daisy is running fine, but I can tell the paws are still bothering her as she stops every now and again to give them a lick. Back home I call the vet and make an appointment for that evening. Daisy is well capable of taking it easy, and I leave her sleep for the day, though she does follow me when I go out in the garden. Each time it’s the same when I look at her paws, a growl and a snap at me, so I know she’s still having problems. During the day the secretary at the vet’s clinic calls to reschedule Daisy’s appointment, and at just gone 5pm Freddie, Daisy and I head off to the surgery.
At the clinic a man is sitting with a German Shepherd pup, who gets excited when she sees Daisy in my arms. Daisy growls a small bit, but she knows the smells of this place and isn’t very confident in her surroundings. I recognise the man with the pup from somewhere and we smile in brief acknowledgment. He’s holding onto the strong dog with a stiff leash and though it is excited the German Shepherd isn’t a threat to Daisy. The nurse comes out from the surgery behind the desk and smiles at me.
“He’ll be about ten minutes,” she says referring to the vet, “we’re a small bit behind.”
“That’s fine,” I say, “we’ll wait.”
Freddie is looking around and Daisy is now glued to me, knowing that all is not as it should be. The door to the surgery opens and a lady comes out with two pet carriers, about the size for a small dog or cat. She looks like a lady in her mid-fifties, hair in a bit of a mess from being too busy to do anything about it and her round face has a serious look, yet ready to break into a smile at any moment, I reckon. She’s wearing a cream short-sleeved top and a long dress, down below her knees. A woman who cares for others and doesn’t take any nonsense, one who may, or may not talk, if she’s not bothered. She lays the two carriers on the floor and looks at Daisy, while behind her the vet sticks his head out and calls in the man with the German Shepherd.
“Oh, she’s beautiful,” she says, her face opening up in that smile I guessed was there somewhere, “what is she? A Cairn Yorkie cross?”
“We don’t know,” I say, “we got her as a bit of a rescue when she was nine months old but there’s definitely some Yorkie and Cairn in there. Daisy is her name.”
“Oh you’re beautiful,” she says, coming over to pet Daisy, who, of course, loves nothing better than being told she is beautiful, while being petted.
“You’re saying all the right things now,” I offer.
“I often say the best dogs are the mixes, they’re far better than a pedigree,” my new friend is saying while petting Daisy’s long hair, “you have gorgeous hair, haven’t you?”
“It’s the hair that makes me think that she is a bit of a Cairn and the face is definitely a Yorkie,” I say smiling at Daisy’s new admirer.
“Well I do a lot of judging at dog shows around the county and Daisy is definitely the best-looking dog I’ve seen in a long time,” she says, “a long time indeed. She’d win prizes”
I smile at this, as I tell Lisa regularly that we should enter Daisy in competitions, as the €1000 prize money would be nice to win. Of course, there isn’t such prize money but the joke continues.
“It’s great that the hair is long too,” she continues “I see too many with that short hair and it looks stupid, they wouldn’t win a thing if it was up to me.”
She heads off to sit on one of the three, now free, chairs. I follow her as I’m enjoying the conversation. Daisy is still in my arms and the lady continues to pet her as we talk.
“What have you got in the carriers?” I ask, “cats?
“Yes, I bring them in to be treated for parasites,” she says, “Do you know what’s the biggest killer of rabbits?”
I’m guessing myxomatosis or some new equivalent, but I shake my head.
“Parasites, parasites,” I’m told, “they get into their kidneys and livers and destroy them, that’s why I bring my ones in to be treated. They pick them up anywhere so you can’t take any chances.”
“How long have you had them?” I ask.
“Oh the one at the back I’ve had for about six years, a friend of mine found him in her garden and I took it in.”
“How long do they live?”
“At least ten years, more if you care for them. I’ve had the fellow in the front about two years now, so he has plenty left in him.”
“Where did he come from?”
“A rescue,” she’s looking at the two carriers all the time while she speaks and the rabbits are shuffling around, getting Daisy’s attention.
“Ah, the poor fellow,” I say.
“He’s only one ear you know,” she continues, “his mother bit the other one off in a fight when he was small. I call him Vincent, of course.”
I laugh at the idea of tough love but quickly stop when she looks at me.
“Great name,” I say to retrieve the situation.
“What else could I call him?” she laughs a bit too, “he’s a lovely fellow but very timid.”
She goes on to tell me how she found Vincent for sale at the mart in Listowel. Vincent was in a poor state and looked closed to dying. The man who was selling him is famous in the area for being cruel to animals. My new friend went to take the rabbit from him and when the man stepped in to try stop her, she turned on him.
“I ran him out of the building, shouting all kinds of abuse at him. Everyone was laughing and you never saw anyone run so fast in your life.”
So now Vincent has a good home. Getting treated for parasites regularly and is expecting to live a long life.
“I love the two of them and all my animals. The husband thinks I’m a bit cracked but sure what’s the harm.”
She was painting a lovely picture and yes, where is the harm in caring?