The gentler side of Blue
For those that have followed Blue over the years, none of the following will come as a big surprise, for those that read about Blue for the first time, I am sure it will be descriptive enough for you to feel you were there in the waiting room with him.
It was 5:40pm on Thursday afternoon, and Blue was lifted into the back of the car, not that he can't jump, just not as much these days,beginning to show the mobility of a seven year old large German Shepherd, but in fairness he did leap into the back of the car unaided after swimming last night, sometimes I think he just pulls the wool over our eyes, the sheep in wolf's clothing so to speak.
So we set off to the Vets which is only a couple of miles away, sure in the knowledge that because of Blue's file note "a difficult customer" we have been given a time where there will be no others attending immediately before or after Blues 6:00pm appointment. We arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule, the journey into Reading met very little traffic. Out of the car, and muzzle put on we made our way into the reception, booked in and there was already someone sat waiting. We were informed there was a discharge, a dog being booked out, taking place, so we found a seat and sat down. But before sitting, as we always do, we weighed Blue on the electronic scales - 50.1kg oh dear that has gone up a little since his last visit. More about his weight later.
The surroundings are not unfamiliar to Blue, as he has visited this surgery many times previous, and the anxiety was already showing, his breathing had sped up and his senses were heightened to the max.
With his muzzle on, and the alertness, you can see how his whole demeanour changes, he is not happy and will focus on anything that moves, as time passed by it was evident that the "space" they promised Blue was not going to happen, and time had moved on, but Blue had begun to settle a little despite more people arriving, with a C-A-T in the basket, good job Blue can't spell.
Blue enhances his reputation, and this is not just an image, it is very real, he can not be approached when he is in this zone, he has enough about him to inflict harm, but only because of his anxiety, he is scared, and we do our best to reassure and protect him. The muzzle protects him as much as others.
Eyes firmly focused on the door, he knew where the biggest threat would appear from.
Finally it was our turn to enter "Consultation Room 2" where we were welcomed by a new Vet, who we had not met before. A young Spanish Vet called "Laura Blanco" who was not phased by the snarling and barking of Blue as we entered the room. Upon closing the door conversation was difficult over the constant barking. To her credit she was not concerned or threatened by Blue's antics, making a number of attempts to approach him, but no, Blue wasn't going to engage with anyone in this mood, the halti collar and muzzle were resisting all attempts of Blue to get out, just.
We were there for Blue to receive his booster, which required an injection in between his shoulder blades, (a feat the previous vet could not manage, and my wife Sue (@Bluesmummy) had to administer under supervision from the vet), the idea would be to manoeuvre Blue against the wall while we kept him still for the Vet to insert the drug. Despite all our efforts, Blue is one powerful and determined dog, using all his strength cunning and tactics, only 3/4 of the fluid had been injected.
We tried once more to put the last bit in, but then Blue used his final and most effective tactic, lunging, followed swiftly with a death-roll (just as prey animals, like sharks or crocodiles perform)
no injection was administered then, we had suffered a broken nail for Sue and I had a bruised knuckle.
The Vet said we had two options, either trained nurses would come in to restrain Blue, or as we finally agreed Sue would put in the remaining injection.
Success Sue put in the final part of the vaccination, and calm descended, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief. There is probably an element of us being there is not helping Blue, but because of his history we know that it runs far deeper, next time we will consider using a sedative to remove the tension, or hand him in, for them them to treat him in our absence. Either way, Blue is not helping himself, as he is missing out on a thorough examination, god forbid they ever have to take his temperature.
As we stood discussing the options Laura had gotten close enough to Blue for him to sniff her hand, relaxed, she was excellent, never batted an eyelid, showed no fear of Blue, and was equally concerned for the injuries suffered by me and Sue.
Anyone reading this who has had similar experience and found a way through it, it would be nice to hear.
On the wall was a list of dog statements, I said he is none of them, especially "Happy"
As is customary we left the Vets with a toy for Blue, who was now back to his old self, sat in the car being chauffeured home.
Blue, only eats dog food, apart from the licking of a lolly stick, once we finished a magnum, oh and when he does the pre-wash on the dishwasher.
Treats are not major, but yes he does have them, he is very driven by treats, but a treat for Blue is also drinking from the outside tap. Sometimes he has to search out the treat.
Anyhow back to his weight. He has perked up since his visit to the vets, so we are going to increase his minutes of exercise, but over more walks, so slightly longer but more frequent, and the last few days he has responded well.
This morning we had a good walk for an hour through the park and surround roads........
lolly stick licking,