You may have this on your mind when you see people fuss over their dogs on social media – or when I talk about Indy, my mature-aged English staffordshire bull terrier. I’m working from home today, keeping a company of our whiney, sooky boy.
Indy had a little bump and a skin tag removed yesterday, so he’s feeling a bit sorry for himself. The skin tag on his tail had been there for a couple of years – the vet said that we could ignore it if it didn’t bother him. However, when I noticed a little bump on his belly a couple of weeks ago, I raised the issue with the vet when Indy was up for his heartworm vaccination. The vet suggested that we remove the bump due to Indy’s age and breed. Indy will be 10 years old next May, and in staffy’s term, it’s pretty much the breed’s median lifespan … The vet asked me whether he spent a lot of time in the sun when he was small. I mentioned that we adopted him when he was three, and I believe the previous family kept him outside a lot, due to a new baby in the family – and Indy was quite a handful to manage.
So, I dropped Indy in the morning before I went to work – he was shaking as soon as he knew that we were going to the vet. As much as staffies look like muscly brutes, they are really gentle, kind-hearted sooks. After the nurse did her brief interview on what was going to be done, she held Indy by the leash, and told me to leave the consultation room. He was racing to go with me, his eyes pleading.
The vet called me when I was having lunch, saying that the also found a questionable mole near his penis – I thought she was talking about Indy’s set of nipples that are located near his penis. In my mind I kinda thought, surely she would know that. I told him that they had been there for years without any issue – in hindsight, I should’ve asked her to send me the image. So when I collected Indy yesterday afternoon, she showed me the mole and suggested that I might also want to have it removed. She was apologetic that she didn’t make herself clearer on the phone about the mole. The additional cost won’t be as significant as the cost of the main surgery, as Indy will not need to have his blood re-tested – but all, in all, it would be quite expensive for any standard.
“Why would you waste all that money on a dog?”
Some of you may ask me this …
When I brought Indy home, he was still quite in a daze, thankfully he still had his healthy appetite. I had the foresight to buy some petfood meatballs after I dropped Indy off, so he could have a more ‘luxurious’ meal when he returned home. His elizabethan collar made it hard for him to eat, so I had to pretty much handfeed him one at a time …
“It’s just a dog!”
I hear you say it.
Throughout the night, Indy was whiney and restless. His e-collar makes him move awkwardly, bumping into things as he moves around so unfortunately he can’t move as freely or scratch his itch leisurely.
So today, I work from home, keeping company of our sooky boy – he whines a bit from time to time. I handfed him the meatballs again this morning along with half a tablet of the painkiller that the vet gave me. On Monday, Indy will be dropped off at the vet again, to remove the mole near his penis. Hopefully this is it, for now and forever. I feel sorry for the big guy, as that would mean longer discomfort, waiting for all of the wounds to heal.
Yes, Indy’s a dog – but he’s a friend, he’s a companion. I remember him sleeping by my feet in front of the heater as I grappled with my Masters thesis data, as I worked the whole night. He was also there when I did my analysis and writing for my PhD. Indy’s quiet presence (and gentle snoring) gave me some mental support when I needed it. He greets me in the morning, smiling and lying on his belly – presenting himself submissively. He smiles as I rub his belly before I start off my day. His cheerful face when he goes for a walk with me, says it all: he’s happy and proud being with his dad. Gone were the days of him forcefully tugged me to keep up with him. The neighbours always joked that it was Indy who walked me. Now, he’s just all proud, panting and cheerful, with me smiling behind him.
Indy’s a dog – but I will really miss him when the time comes to say goodbye. I really hope that that moment will not come too soon.
He’s a dear mate, much more than just a dog.