Bassam is an old dog. If you take the old idea that one ‘human year’ is equivalent to seven ‘dog years’, she is close to one hundred years old. However, she is still pretty much healthy and happy and capable of running and playing in a way that few human centenarians could manage.
However, she does have one affliction; she has developed a lot of little warts and bumps on her skin and being a dog, when her skin irritates her, she tends to lick it; compulsively. She has one particular wart on her hind leg which has been irritating her for a while and she simply wouldn’t stop working at it. We eventually took her to the vet to have the wart removed, but she still worries away at the scar. If a dog is intent on licking at a wound, it is very difficult to stop them. You can buy noxious tasting compounds to spray on the wound, but after a while the dog just stops noticing them and carries on. We have even applied essential lavender oil to the region hoping that it will deter her from putting her nose near the strong smell. No such luck; though the house has a nice floral odour now.
So, for the best part of six months, Bassam has been condemned to wearing a ‘cone of shame’; one of those lampshade collars that make it look as though the dog could receive satellite TV. They say that a cat uses its whiskers to measure whether it can pass through a narrow opening; the same isn’t true of dogs wearing cones. Our hound seems to have no conception that it has this hard plastic projection around her neck and she blunders into people, furniture and doors with gay abandon. My shins may never recover. A particular favourite is for her to wander into a room and then turn around and close the door behind her with the cone, effectively locking herself in. Without the cone, she can squeeze her nose into the gap and lever the door open, with the cone, she just pushes the door further closed. Sue and I are now doorkeepers in the house of the dog – which isn’t quite what the Psalmist was aiming for.
We reached a low point last week, when we were out for most of the day and returned to find that Bassam had locked herself in our tiny loo. I don’t know how long she was locked in the lavatory – but nobody knew she was there.