Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Adventures of Frodo the Faller (5)

Following Frodo's first falling I took him to the vet. Naturally, by the time we got there he was absolutely fine and wondering why on earth he'd been dragged away from his friends and relations. A thorough examination revealed nothing untoward and the likely diagnosis was idiopathic epilepsy. Four years and two MRIs later nothing is different and although his seizures are alarming they are relatively mild. What has changed has been his attitude to life. He has always been a greedy dog, an opportunistic thief, like many Dalmatians. The medication has made him ravenous and if he were to be fed to satiety he would weigh at least twice his thirty-two kilograms. He filches the other dogs' food if he thinks he can get away with it and moves extraordinarily swiftly to achieve his objective. He spends a good part of his waking hours searching for food. Consequently, nothing can be left within reach and as he is a tall dog when on his hind legs this means that all work surfaces and the cooker hob must be kept clear of all edible substances at all times. Naturally, we do not always manage this because sometimes we are distracted by other things.

Our first warning that Frodo has discovered a source of food comes from Dominie. That is to say, she barks. We fondly tell each other that she is telling him off when in reality she's peeved that she can no longer stand on two legs and will therefore miss out on the delicacies Frodo is busily scoffing.

In addition there is often a loud commotion because Buddy, no mean pilferer himself (he stole a cabbage from the fridge yesterday) is attempting to share the refreshments, much to Frodo's chagrin. Cats may be able to purr while breathing in and out but dogs can growl and gobble at the same time. Should Dominie not have realised that Frodo is thieving the alert that rings through the house is the crashing of pans or dishes on the kitchen floor accompanied as ever by snarling slurps.

Our grandchildren, accustomed to their own biddable Labradors, have to adjust to our ill-behaved hounds every time they visit, usually after food has been stolen from hand or plate. It's not that our dogs won't do as they're told, rather more that they don't believe the children mean what they're saying.

Walks with the dogs are always entertaining. Jenna-the-Labrador does not consider that she has had a rewarding outing unless she has been in water. When her Labrador friends come to stay they form a small black and yellow pack, racing after the ball, retrieving in the long grass, jumping in every stretch of water, large or small. The Dalmatians form another pack, doing the things that Dalmatians enjoy, principally ambling along reading the pee and pooh mails. Unfortunately, Frodo's urgent hunger means that he often ingests the pooh mails. He knows he shouldn't but finds them very difficult to resist. Buddy has cottoned on to this and also attempts to sample the leavings. So our walks involve throwing the ball with a ball flinger for the Labradors, helping Dominie along when her back legs won't cooperate and watching Buddy and particularly Frodo like hawks and making discouraging noises as their mouths start to take over from their noses.

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