Small Dog had to go to the vet today.
She's been limping a bit for a while but we put it down to her careering up and down the garden steps like a Tasmanian Devil in pursuit of squirrels. However it's been getting worse just lately and she's taken to barreling around on just three legs, and even when stationary, holding one of her back legs off the ground which obviously isn't right.
Her terror of the vet has already been well documented but today she excelled herself. She had to be carried through the door, whereupon she sat, trembling all over her body, with a hunted expression on her face until we were called.
Her reputation proceeds her, and the lovely young vet, having presumably read Small Dog's resume, asked us whether it might not be a good idea to muzzle her before she even laid hands on her.
Muzzled, Small Dog looked like nothing so much as small, hairy Hannibal Lecter, and stood miserably on the examination table, trembling so much I imagined I could hear her teeth chattering.
Very, very gently, the vet started to manipulate Small Dog's bad leg to try to identify the source of the problem.
If you're not au fait with small dogs generally, it can come as a surprise, the speed at which they can move. Even in her muzzled state, Small Dog demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that she was NOT HAPPY at her sore leg being bent at right angles to her body.
We did eventually manage to get her down from the top of the cabinet,and the crash team who were summoned by what sounded like10 rabid hounds running amok were eventually persuaded that all was well, and the heart rate of the vet, PP and myself eventually returned to normal.
OK, so I exaggerate a bit for comic effect but only a tiny bit. There WAS madness and mayhem in abundance, and the young vet was a bit wide-eyed and breathless by the time the examination was concluded.
Small Dog was also wide eyed and breathless, so we drew lots to determine who was going to un-muzzle her.
To be fair, the vet did say that the examination probably hurt QUITE A LOT, which went some way to explaining why Small Dog felt moved to try to eviscerate the three of us.
She has been prescribed the following:
COMPLETE bed rest.
I know I anthropomorphise Small Dog to the nth degree, but I'll swear I saw the flicker of a smile when she heard the treatment.
Since she got home late this afternoon, she barely moved from her basket, until dinner time, when she limped slowly into the kitchen to wolf down her carefully prepared, hand-cooked dinner, with added medication. Since then she's been carefully placed on her cushion in the sitting room and covered with her blanky in case she catches a chill. She's been carried upstairs in her basket so she doesn't have to put any strain on her leg.
She's currently lying, Camille-like, commanding attention and strokings.
We have to ring the vet on Monday to report on Small Dog's progress. Next step, if the problem persists is a more probing examination (UNDER SEDATION) and an x-ray.
It's almost definitely luxating patella, which may require surgery at some point down the line, so we know that she's not swinging the lead, and considering how painful it must be for her, she's really been very good, just trying to cope with it as best she can.
I'm just worried about breaking the news that her tap-dancing days may well be behind her now......