Last Saturday I was supposed to be helping out at a fund raiser for Twilight the retirement home for old and disabled dogs here in France which I think I’ve told you about before. It’s run by a British couple who take in dogs who would otherwise be spending the rest of their lives on a concrete floor at the back of a refuge somewhere being ignored by prospective owners – and that would be the lucky ones! You can read about their work here.
Anyway, I wasn’t able to help set up on the Friday afternoon so arrived early on Saturday morning but our esteemed team leader and champion cake maker Deb was in a state because she had just found a dog on the side of the road which she thought might have been hit by a car as his eye looked swollen and red and he was holding his head on one side. She wanted him taken to a vet to be scanned for a microchip and his state of health assessed but she couldn’t leave the venue and her husband doesn’t speak French so I went with him and the dog to find a vet open on a Saturday morning which happened to be the one right near my house that I’d left just half an hour before.
Here’s the little chap – a French bulldog who has definitely seen better days.
The waiting room was packed so I told Deb’s husband to leave me there and I’d call him when we’d been seen.
All the other patients seemed to be tiny little yorkshire terrier puppies and pristine white kittens waiting for their first vaccinations and there I was with this little fleabag straight from a horror film.
I sat up one end of the waiting room hoping that his gaseous offerings would not offend too many people. They did. A window was opened. Many fleas were visible on his body where his constant scratching had caused him to suffer from eczema and lose his hair in patches. I could sense people moving away from us and clutching their pets closer torn between sympathy and disgust.
I took him out to see if he wanted to do his ‘business’ in the vet’s garden and, when we went back inside and sat in the same seat, I noticed the floor was wet and could smell something that reminded me of flea spray. The nurse had taken the opportunity in our absence to spray all around where we’d been sitting in case we infected all the others. The shame! I felt like a pariah and he wasn’t even mine. I did make it clear to the assembled pet owners when we first arrived that we had found him that morning but as he kept putting his little paws up on my knees and gazing at me adoringly, I’m not sure they believed me.
The good news is he was microchipped and, even more miraculously, we managed to get hold of his owner who met us back at the venue and I was prepared to give her what for but it turned out she seemed to be guilty of casual neglect – mostly due to lack of funds – rather than cruelty. We would have preferred her to have signed the little chap over to us so we could then get him properly treated – that eye will probably need to be removed – but she promised me she’d go and at least discuss treatment with the vet. I don’t think there’s any equivalent of the P.D.S.A. or Blue Cross organisations where people with financial problems can take their animals for cheaper veterinary treatment although I might be wrong.
Anyway, I finally got back to the venue at midday and they obviously managed without me because we raised a nice amount for Twilight which was brilliant considering we were only really selling cakes, bric-a-brac, second hand books and clothes and holding a raffle.
I had pre-ordered one of Deb’s gorgeous ginger cakes which are always just the right sort of stickiness but I wasn’t keen on the label.
I’m more of a strawberry blonde.
So, a day of high and lows and I hope the little dog gets the treatment he needs for his eye and his skin and flea infestation.
Still, it could be worse, he could be a magpie.
75 euros if anybody wants me to go back to the junk shop and get it for them.
The little dog has now been taken to the vet by his owner, his eye has been treated and he is no longer constantly scratching. Perhaps we made the owner sit up and take notice and, in that case, I consider my two hours in the waiting room with a flea ridden, red eyed, farty dog time well spent. Let’s hope she doesn’t allow him to get in that state again.