It was Small Dog's turn for a bit of surgical trauma today, courtesy of a broken dew claw.
Early yesterday evening we noticed that she was constantly licking her paw, and further investigation revealed that the dew claw on her right leg was broken right through, revealing the flesh and nerves within.
A quick call to our vet secured an appointment for very early this morning, with the admonition not to feed her in case she needed sedation.
Anxious that she didn't knock it in the meantime, we decided to perform some rudimentary first aid. Needless to say she was a tad reluctant to let us examine it thoroughly, although we did brave her displeasure in order to put a bit of Savlon on the claw, and wrap her foot in a bandage to avoid further damage.
Fortunately, PP escaped with only a minor flesh wound, and once released, Small Dog limped, heart-rendingly slowly into the sitting room, holding up her paw and whining mournfully to be picked up and set on her comfy fleece blanket, where she remained for the duration of the evening, assiduously removing the bandage, strand by strand.
We were up at the crack of dawn this morning.
Well we were.
Small Dog blinked uncertainly in the early morning light then went straight back to bed, before being dragged out and carried bodily to the car, where she perked up somewhat, presumably thinking that she was going out somewhere exciting.
As soon as we turned off the main road into the driveway leading to the vet's surgery her ears went down and she began to whine piteously. By the time we were actually INSIDE the vet's waiting room she was trembling all over and looking extremely worried and apprehensive, in the way only Small Dog can.
Other dogs were sitting calmly, completely relaxed, but SD put on a bravura trembling performance worthy of a doggy Oscar, drawing concerned comments about her well-being from other dog owners, and reprehensible looks aimed at us for being so hard-hearted and callous as to laugh at her.
Once inside the consulting room, her trembling ratcheted up a few more notches so that I was sure that the vet was going to diagnose St. Vitus Dance who in an ironic twist of fate is also the patron saint of dogs.
We explained the problem. Then PP got Small Dog in a half nelson and I prepared for all hell to break loose as the vet, not our usual one but a locum, examined her and confirmed that the claw was indeed broken all the way through and very loose. He then went on to explain that the best course of action was to remove the claw completely, which could be done under sedation or a few whiffs of anaesthetic, but as it was so very loose he would simply pull it off.
Incredulously, I wondered if he had actually read Small Dog's notes in advance, which would surely have brought to his attention her extreme 'vet phobia' and ludicrously low pain threshold, which actually comes into effect several inches from any part of her body.
Grimly, and with no thought for her own safety, PP tightened her grip on Small Dog, as the vet selected a pair of forceps, and I moved slowly and quietly to the back of the consulting room. I did this partly to avoid having to witness such a traumatic procedure, and partly to avoid being in Small Dog's trajectory when she catapulted off the table, teeth flashing, like a whirling dervish.
And so I waited.
Then a very brief, yelp.
"Ha!" I thought.
"It begins......" I thought. Anticipating that this was Small Dog's initial response to catching sight of the forceps, and her warning shot across the vet's metaphorical bows.
"All done" said the vet, releasing the forceps to drop the broken dew claw onto the table.
I don't know who was more surprised........ PP, Small Dog or me.
Small Dog didn't even demur when he checked to see if she was bleeding!
I was even more gobsmacked when we were only charged a tenner! Cheap at twice the price.
Also, on the plus side, for the first time ever, we have been in the happy position of being able to praise Small Dog for her bravery and endurance following a visit to the vet and the house has been resounding to "Good Girl", "Who's our brave little soldier then? etc, while Small Dog laps up the unaccustomed acclaim, all the while insisting that it was just like having an amputation, with lots of stitches and no anaesthetic.
No doubt she'll be dining out on the story for days..........