Digby,the little one,has developed gallstones! This means a trip to the vet for an ultrasound examination. Following an unhappy experience with a young and excitable nurse in France who tried ( unsuccessfully ) to give him a suppository , a trip to the vet with Digby has become a logistical and emotional nightmare for all involved. By contrast, Wilf, his big brother, is close to being the perfect dog and accepts an examination with something approaching the canine version of stoical calm. He settles on the table and allows himself to be turned over, massaged, prodded and poked with a minimum of complaint. Not even injections elicit more than a muted whimper.
Digby by contrast does not know what canine stoicism is. He turns a visit to the doctor into loud and living theatre. From the second we turn off the road into the car park he starts to produce a whole gamut of noises ranging from excited barking to a deep basso profundo gurgling sound that would make you believe he has smoked eighty a day for life and is now being tortured with an electric cattle prod. The little angel has also developed a repertoire of tricks designed to let him stay in the back of the car. Coaxing him out requires dealing with a dog that is either lying on his back ( turning into a dead weight is a great delaying tactic ) or trying to squeeze himself into the foot well area behind the front seat ( anything that requires the owner getting into a cramped space inside the car improves his chances of escape) . If the drivers or front passenger door is left open even for a split second he will seize his chance,leap back in and trampoline off the seat cushion to the safety of the back before you can stop him. As a back up delaying tactic he's found that a very workable alternative is to get out of the car and go and hide directly underneath it.
Once when we were living in the centre of Avignon he managed to push the door of the surgery open ( impossible for a dog to get out they said , an opinion that quickly changed ) and disappear across the road into the safety of a large Gothic church opposite. To my dying days the images of the vet, the vets receptionist and our good selves trying to retrieve the snarling little darling from the midst of an early morning mass will be seared into the memory. It remains my firm opinion that certain sentiments expressed by the congregation should not have been heard inside hallowed walls - even in France.
More later when we return and I've had a therapeutic drink... or two.