A Pill A Day Keeps The Vet Away - Barry Hill

I wrote this one a few years ago with a previous dog and well before the current pandemic.


Last week I had a lousy cold.  Actually, it was a really good cold from the perspective of a cold, but I felt lousy.  It’s a well-known fact that the common cold affects us fellas about 300 times as bad as it does you girls, so I was feeling as rough as Chinese justice.  I was supposed to take doggy to the vets for his monthly inoculations against dust mites (he’s allergic to dust of all things).  I mean, why couldn’t it have been something avoidable like unicorns, fluffy toilet seat covers or lamp posts.  Yeah, lampposts would have been great.  No, he has to be allergic to something that he can’t avoid.


As I believe that going out and about with an infectious virus (the cold) is tantamount to assault I asked Angie to take the beastie to the dog doctors.  I also asked her to ask for some flea tablets for him.  These are poultry flavoured chewy tablets that he thinks are a monthly treat.  He loves them.  Can’t imagine why all pet medicines aren’t flavoured the same.  These little cubes similar to sweetie chews you’d give to a kid or my hairdresser gives to Angie, my dog treats as, well, treats.  I’m sure he could happily eat several in one go.  


I’ve been giving my dogs these turkey chews for dog’s years (not as long as donkeys years but still a considerable time).  I tend to make a bit of a game about it.  Well when I say ‘game’ I make him sit in one room then go hide it in another room.  As games go it’s not Krypton Factor, more hunt the chicken smelling thimble.  


Anyway, all went well at the vets and Angie remembered the tablets.  The vet did tell her one surprising thing about these tablets though.  She said that Lex should have them with food.  Angie looked at the packaging and it does clearly state that they have to be taken with food.  Perhaps someone should have mentioned this to the blind man who can’t read the packaging… oh, I don’t know… maybe dogs years ago right at the damned start!


As well as the turkey sweets, I have a variety of medication that I have to administer to my poor beastie, but the order of play isn’t always straight forward:


“So, let me get this straight.  I give him one of these tablets twice a day for three days then cut down to one tablet a day for seven days then no tablets for ten days then one tablet a day for ten days and repeat on/off for six weeks; I wipe his feet with the wipes twice a week and his abdomen and bum-hole once a week; and clean his ears once a month or as and when?”  Ok let me just write that down eh?”


For once I’m not making this up for comic effect.  When my poor ever suffering beastie was first diagnosed with an allergy to dust mites this is what I had to do.  I still have to do the wipes and ear thing, but the tablets situation has settled down to one a day…. With food.


With the pills, I have to shove them down his throat several times.  Well if I’m lucky I only have to shove it down once,but he’s developed some weird Linda Lovelacesque throat muscles (You have to be a certain age and level of morals to know who she was) that seem to be able to regurgitate the pill no matter that I’ve just had my hand up to the elbow down his gullet.  


The pill giving process goes something like this:

1. I go to the drawer where his medication is kept, and he immediately goes under a table or in a corner to work on that invisibility spell.  He knows I can find him but wants to make me work at it.  He also knows that I’m not going to be able to get a good wrestling hold on him under that table without causing myself an injury.  

2. Next, I get a dog treat for the post-tablet ‘I still love you’ bribe and the dog comes looking for the treat.  Who said that guide dogs are clever?  They are to a point and that point is food.  Men are the same, although they can also be tempted out from under a table by sex or beer.

3. Now comes the wrestling match.  I get him to sit and put him in a gentle but firm headlock.  I then prise his mouth open and shove the pill as far down as I can.  

4. With the pill ‘placed’ as far back as I can reach without getting my arm stuck, I rub his throat to encourage him to swallow then I let him go.  Well saying that I let him go sort of implies that I had a choice in the matter.  It’s almost like he’s slightly resigned to the indignation of me shoving foreign objects down his gullet, but he’ll be damned if he’ll stay meek after the job has been done.  

5. After squirming out of my headlock he licks his chops. I search the floor for the pill that I know he has just spat out.  How the hell he does that I don’t know.  I shoved the pill almost down as far as his colon!

6. The process begins again but now with a soggy and slightly hairy pill. 


It’s a long hard struggle matching human strength and grip against canine strength and wiriness but eventually… I go get a piece of cheese and stick the pill in its hairs and all.  It doesn’t even touch the sides.


Still, I know that these pills are oral this time.  Well, I hope they are.  If they are actually suppositories, as much as I love and care about him, I don’t think I could force a small torpedo up my dog’s poop-shoot.  I mean, what wrestling grip would I use to do that?


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