Harvey’s neurological problem, his Ataxia, meant that when we brought him home from the vets his backs legs were not working. There are three reasons for this. The Ataxia, the operation to cure it and the fact he was shut up in a cage almost 24 hours a day because the vet didn’t want him to cause any further damage. It was the doggy version of complete bed-rest.
So when we brought him home Thursday it was pretty heart-breaking watching him struggle to sit up, let alone walk. Today it’s Monday and in less than a week Harvey is going from strength to strength. The only problem is I can’t keep up with him. He’s managing to walk, but with a somewhat unsteady gait. Sometimes his back-end wavers and at other times it’s quite steady. But to achieve this I have to carry him outside, gently place him on the ground (he’s not too heavy, I’m not too young) and then hold onto his backside while he tries to walk. Did I say walk. This morning he was running, which is something he didn’t do a lot of before his operation, he’s fourteen years old after all. So conjure up the image of a fourteen year old English Springer Spaniel with a new lease of life (almost) swiftly running followed by an unfit, huffing and puffing, sixty-three year old man in Star Wars Jim-Jams, almost bent double, trying to hold onto Harvey’s backside so he doesn’t fall.
Just to make matters worse, he’s not fitted with a stop light, so fails to indicate when we’re stopping for a rest, a pee or a pooh! Invariably this causes accidents… the least of which is smelly fingers and the worst is sticky fingers, but you get the picture… I apologise if you were eating when you read this.
This coming Thursday he’s back at the vets to check on his progress, and to see if they need to give him physio or if what we’re doing is sufficient. I think they may conclude I need the physio, not Harvey. I have muscles developing in my backside I never knew existed.
There is one dark cloud. Harvey is a little insecure at the best of times. He likes to be close, especially to me, the alpha male. With being shut away for three weeks at the veterinary clinic, day and night, he’s developed a much more pronounced clinginess. So much so if I simply leave the room he barks… incessantly. So, I have had to sit up with him at night for the last three nights. Last night we even had him in our bed laid between myself and my wife (her suggestion not mine) so that he doesn’t get stressed. Of course, this suits our other Springer, Holly.
There is nothing Holly likes better (after chasing the ball) to sleeping at the bottom of our bed.
Welcome to my brave new world of sleep deprivation, pooh-pit-stops and barking loud enough to wake the dead.
But I’ll do it all again just to watch Harvey mooching around the garden.
Copyright Tom Kane © 2018
As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.
Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back