One night this week I came home from work to find Lilly curled up on the couch, rather than stalking impatiently by the internal garage door. I noticed, but thought little of it.
As usual, I put down my handbag and opened the pantry door to get the cat food. Lilly remained on the couch, and this unsettled me. I served up the tinned food, keeping one eye on the disinterested Lil and rationalised that she was protesting. So I served up some kangaroo meat as well.
Still Lilly held fast.
I’d already been to the couch a couple of times to pay homage and enquire as to her day. This time I went over, asking whether she was protesting. Lilly rolled onto her back for a tummy rub and it was then that I accidentally touched one of her back legs.
As I may have mentioned before, Miss Lil has a deep forbidding growl. This growl was emitted when my hand grazed her leg, and it was then I knew for sure that something was wrong. Immediately, scenes flashed in my mind of squealing wheels and Lilly getting clipped by one of the neighbourhood hoons. I placed Lil on the floor and she gingerly walked over to the food but wouldn’t eat. Her attempt to jump back on to the couch was unsuccessful.
So, after a couple of phone calls Lil and I were on our way to the emergency vet hospital, the bills for which are easiest to pay in gold bars. Lill serenaded me with her “I hate the car” yowls and a couple of times while changing gears I nearly lost my hand to grasping claws flashing out of the kitty carrier.
Once we’d arrived at the vet hospital, we were placed in a queue according to triage. A little black kitty, no bigger than my hand and consisting mostly of green eyes and a fuzzy tail was being examined for a scratched face.
Next to arrive after us was Jerry, a 16 year old Jack Russell who’d just had a stroke. Jerry’s owner knew his little mate was on the way out but was doing his best to be brave. He was a big, blokish bloke and it broke my heart to see him cuddle little Jerry and whisper reassurances to him. Next to arrive was Steve, a liver and white coloured Setter who’d eaten something he shouldn’t have.
By this time, Miss Lil was sitting up in her travel box, silently alert to the dogs in the room. I noticed she was sitting on the leg that was earlier causing her distress and thought it was a good sign.
We humans chatted for a while, despite being strangers, sharing information about our pets and why we were there.
Jerry was bustled in to see the doctor first, and about half an hour later his owner emerged clutching an empty towel. I wanted to hug this bear of a guy, but the evening’s earlier camaraderie had fled, leaving us to mumble inadequate apologies as he paid the bill and left.
Lil and I were shown in to see the doctor next. At first we couldn’t even find the spot where her legs were damaged, and when placed on the floor of the examination room, inquisitive Lil jumped up on to the bench. That ruled out any broken bones. Further examination elicited the now familiar “don’t touch that” growl and identified the bruised and bitten spots on her back legs – the result of fighting with other cats.
Miss Lil was given two injections, antibiotics for the bites and pain relief for the bruises. I handed over my gold bars, bade farewell to Steve and his owner, and headed home.
I was warned that Lil would be a little woozy from the painkiller, but she seemed completely zonked when we got home. She was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor when I went to bed, but ten minutes later when she had not joined me I got up again to find her sitting in exactly the same spot. So I carried her to bed and she slept all night in her usual spot, curled like a croissant in the crook of my arm.
Next morning Lil was her normal chirrupy self, demanding breakfast and tummy rubs.
As I performed my duties I though again of Jerry, and was grateful for being granted more time to spend with my pretty girl, also known as The Boss.
Poor Jerry. Our old Labrador is 13 1/2, and although still quite well, can’t possibly live forever. Apparently labs rarely die peacefully in their sleep, so the time will come when I will have to make the final decision. We may have another dog and three cats, but I can’t imagine life without our beautiful friendly boy.