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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Day of the De-balling

Sunday 2nd October 2011  -  The Day of the Deballing

Following on from yesterdays appointment being made for today, we were up bright and early in readiness for the neutering of our three dogs. 

Husband set to rounding the dogs up  whilst I was gathering all the things we may need – just in case – dogs passports, records, our passports etc.  
I heard a lot of shouting outside, not unusal in our household as my lovely husband is not known for his patience.  

Buddy, our ten month old cross breed big dog, had slipped his collar and on no account was going anywhere near husband for the foreseeable.  More shouting, kids joining in yelling out dogs names, general chaos whilst I’m still trying to make sure I had everything together.   

Finally ready, I went out and popped on Buddy’s collar and lead and we made our way to the car we bought yesterday.  Buddy is a big timid dog that was dumped in a bin on a beach in Spain and hates shouting, it terrifies him.

Labrador and Cocker straight in, Buddy, flat refusal.  He is a big dog, not sure what breed mixture, but I guess German Shepard size-ish.  After a lot of coaxing and cajoling, he decided I could pop him in the back of the car and he settled down in the back.  Feeling quite smug that we were all in the car at the right time and with the right amount of animals, we belted up.

We set off in plenty of time so we could give the dogs a walk, let them ‘relieve’ themselves so no accidents at the vets, and to tire them out (plus the children) before we arrived at the meeting point with the lady who organises the neutering.

Found the meeting point (a restaurant with a car park on the edge of a main road) and parked up, a lot of waste land all around, very convenient for our three bouncy dogs to do their stuff.

I telephoned the lady to double check we were at the right place and as I was talking, was joined by another lady with three kittens in her car.  Still quietly smug and so far so good.  Being new to the area I am keen to meet new people and make friends.

Husband had gone off with three dogs and the kids and, not surprisingly, a lot more shouting was coming from over in the wasteland direction.  I had just started talking to the lady with the kittens – she seemed really nice – excused myself and went to see what the  latest bout of yelling was about.  Buddy is not used to walking on the lead as he generally just bombs around the garden and has only been used to walking up mountainsides - leadless.  

Husband had done his best with a bit of webbing and made a lead/collar which was kind of strangling him, not sure if Buddy has been mistreated by a man in the past but he really is very nervous of men and prefers to keep away when they are being loud.  Cocker was bombing around having a lovely time and Labrador was being her usual bouncy self. 

Husband still shouting to me that Buddy is useless etc etc., so I tried to help as best I could.  Got Buddy walking up and down the road quite nicely, much work needed and now I am lucky enough to have time again, something I plan to work on with him.

Another car pulled up and it was the lady who organised the neutering.

She explained that we should follow her up to a house, go in one gate, drop the animals off and then drive out the next gate.  Husband said he’d put Buddy in the back of the car whilst I got the kids and the cocker in and ready to go.  Done. 

Suddenly husband is saying that buddy has got diahorreha and has pooed himself all over his feet (husbands feet).  Two cars waiting for us to follow and Buddy is refusing to get into the back of the car, has runny poo dribbling out his back end and I am very aware of everyone watching us.

I got out the car, managed to entice Buddy back into the car and off we went.  Smelling slightly er, unpleasant.  Husband was moaning so much about the poo – that actually didn’t go on his feet – that I didn’t feel it was quite the right time to tell him I actually had it all over my left foot and flip flops.  My quietly smug feelings were evaporating as quickly as the steam of the runny poo on my foot and flip flops.

We followed the cars about 200 metres then went into the ‘vets’.  Now this was not what i was expecting at all.  I introduced myself to a guy standing there and it turns out its his house and he had volunteered to help an animal charity who get cats and dogs speyed by letting them use his garden as an operating room.  

There was chaos everywhere, cats who’d been trapped from the wild, cats that were pets, no one knowing what was going on, no plan as such, just good hearted people doing their best.  The other lady and I stood looking at each other with open mouths as we really didn’t know what to make of this rather comical situation.  

The lady vet was as wide as she was tall with a very abrupt and brusque attitude.  We were told to leave our dogs there and come back in five hours when it was all done.  Simple.

I set about trying to find somewhere to tie the dogs up, very aware that the beautiful gardens with all the ornaments, buddhas, plants and pool could be easily damaged by our bouncy trio.

Cocker spaniel secured, I went back to get the next dog only to find the vet had decided to sedate them all there and then.  The lab got her shot – no problem,  the cocker got his shot, big snap and a yelp, Buddy got his shot – no problem but the vet leapt what seemed like three foot in the air when he turned his head around.

We were told to wait twenty minutes as the shot would make the dogs drowsy, then to leave them and come back.  Again, simple.

After about ten minutes nothing seemed to be happening, the lady with the cats and I were giving each other furtive looks and wondering what to do with ourselves.  The vet was shouting out from the area she was working that we should keep our children quiet because the dogs wouldn’t fall asleep if they kept talking.

Turning to talk to the man who generously lent his garden for the weekend, I heard an awful squirting sound, let my eyes drift downwards to see Buddy having the runniest poo ever all over the mans foot.  His leather shoed foot.  Our eyes met and all i could say was ‘I’m so sorry’ whilst getting an attack of the stupid giggles that sometimes happens in the most embarrassing situations. 

As he moved backwards from the still squirting Buddy, Buddy literally fell asleep in his stance.  He keeled over as if in slow motion and landed rather inelegantly into a still steaming pile.

Now in a situation like this, one really isn’t sure of the correct etiquette.  Can’t honestly say I have ever been in the Spanish countryside in a garden of a guy trying to help, with a vet barking orders from under a tarpaulin and a massive sleeping dog lying in a pile of poo.  Oh yes and with a now dried out trail of poo on my left foot which was gathering flies rather nicely.  

For some reason I suddenly remembered saying to husband the night before that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to have given the dogs the massive black pudding sausage that we had left over from the cafe as it might give them the runs.

I stood fast, holding onto Buddys lead.  The guy squelched off to change his shoes pretty rapidly.  The lady who organised the event was fantastic and set to work with a hosepipe and dog shampoo.  I still stood holding onto the lead.  Husband bellowed out that maybe i should do something to help clear up as the dog was in no danger of running off.  He was right of course but I was kind of taking in the very surreal moments going on around us all.

Vet shouted out that she was ready for Buddy, so after a good hose down and a wash, husband lifted him up and carried him onto the ‘operating table’.  Putting his back out in the process.  Not good because though he is a fantastic man, he doesn’t have very much patience, so a rather tense atmosphere commenced.

We were then told that we should wait whilst all three dogs were operated on.  Fine by us.  It was too fascinating to go away.  We looked at the other two who were still looking surprisingly alert after being sedated.  Cocker spaniel then took the poo stance, and yes, did the same as his comrade, but luckily I had kept him well away from everyones feet.  He didn’t fall over but looked a bit spacey.  The vet said oh yes he’s gone and bring him in, but Rio got straight back up and had a walk around.  Vet shouted again that it was because of the childrens voices, but by this time we had contained them in the car with pencils and paper.

Next possible problem was transporting them home, we’d just bought one of the smallest cars ever the day before and whilst the dogs could join us whilst alert and awake, three sprawled out post anesthetic dogs were just not going to fit.

As there were still two dogs waiting to actually fall asleep, we said maybe it would be best if we whipped home and dropped the kids and one adult off before returning in one hour to collect the others.  So off we set.  My rather disgusting foot needed washing asap.

An hour later, Husband set off on the fifteen minute trip to collect.  Soon after he’d gone, the lady organising it telephoned to say where were we as there was a problem with the Labrador.  Taking a big gulp i asked if she was ok and she said there were some underlying health issues and that after a double dose of anesthetic, her tongue had turned blue and they decided they couldn’t operate.  Relieved she hadn’t died – that was my main concern – husband arrived at vets and i got things ready at home to welcome back our little pack.

After forty minutes Husband had still not arrived back, I thought he was probably talking to the vet lady but suddenly we heard our new car approaching.  All ready for the gentle calm welcome, I went out the gate to find a fuming husband sitting in the car which would now only go along in 2nd gear.  He’d taken so long because something had clunked and bonked and now would only crawl along.  Not good.  We’d taken ten months to finally buy a cheap little run around because I was so wary of every car we looked at - we are complete experts at buying cars that promptly die on us in a very short time.  Twenty four hours is a complete record though.

He said he needed five minutes by himself as he was set to explode so I got the two male dogs – very wobbly – out of the car and into their beds.  Our Labrador eventually joined us and spent the rest of the day sleeping.  

After a couple of hours I checked on the two male dogs who were sleeping to find the cocker had managed to get his head around the plastic collar and had taken all of his stitches out.  He now had a big gaping hole with flaps of skin flapping.  Phoned the vet lady who said it happens a lot and to keep an eye on it and not to let him near it.  Put some TCP or similar on the wound – ouch – and keep an eye on it.

So, all in all the day was OK so far except we now had no car, a dog with a big raw hole and a million and one things to do the following week.

I sent a text to the people we had brought the car from the day before and they seemed completely shocked – they do genuinely seem really nice people.  I put an advert for a local mechanic on a local facebook page that is kind of like a buy, sell and swap page for the local area, its brilliant.  Within minutes I had been given the names and numbers of two mechanic guys who would come up.  We phoned up and arranged for one to come around to us at dinnertime.  Lets call him Jim. Feeling happier for hopefully resolving the car problem, I sat back making reassuring noises about how it was all going to be ok and the car would probably be fixed tonight so no worries about the next day.

After about an hour the texts for a mechanic recommendation were coming thick and fast with a few comments about a dreadful mechanic in the area who basically butchers cars, keeps them for weeks then charges a fortune.  Terrible.  After a couple of other comments, I started reading them out loud and to our horror, realised that this terrible mechanic was actually  ‘Jim’ that was coming around in a couple of hours.

Now I am rather proud of my Husband taking charge of our latest predicament with ‘Jim’, he had a rant them phoned the guy and said we had the problem sorted.  Obviously we hadn’t but didn’t want to add to our current woes by having the car carted off. 

We’ve sorted out a lift from a brilliant man who will help Husband out tomorrow.  All I have to do is get the car down to the garage in the morning and keep my fingers crossed that it won’t be too expensive.

So, for a basic de-balling day, we’ve had our usual share of unexpected adventures, embarrassing moments and kind of success.  No dogs died, two male dogs are now no longer ‘entire’, one too fat labrador is on a diet, lift sorted out for Husband tomorrow and everyone’s happy.  Or as happy as we can be in todays situation.


  1. So funny, I haven't laughed so much in a long time. What a weird setup though! Certainly very different to France.
    Looking forward to hearing more.. xx

  2. Nikki - how thick can I be, I was just reading through this blog and realised I only put half of it on there. Hope the rest makes sense!