It’s a dog’s life

dogs lifeSo it’s four days before we leave on our holidays – about time I rang the kennels to book Doughnut in for his annual break with his old friends at The Retired Greyhound Trust kennels. It’s a home-from-home for Doughnut and where he lived after his glittering racing career (one time track record holder at Wimbledon, I’ll have you know!) until he came to live with us almost six years ago.

I ring Joy at the kennels to arrange a time to drop him off but horrors – she’s fully booked. She sounds almost as upset as I am and says she’ll have a word with a fellow kennel owner up the road who may have some space.

Meanwhile I begin operation Plan B. Within an hour we’ve organised a rota of rolling volunteers that would make Age UK proud. Two friends have offered to sleep over for a few days each, which combined with supervision and coordination from his most devoted champion, Liz, should mean that he’s never more than an hour away from a sausage or a trip to the park while we’re away.

As plans go it’s a minor miracle, but as with anything complicated it’s only one slip up away from disaster. All we need is one missed key drop off or a crisis at work and Doughnut could be left howling at the moon. On top of that it’s time for his six monthly trip to the dentist – and this time he needs more than a filling. Greyhounds’ teeth are notoriously bad and Doughnut’s have suddenly taken a turn for the worse. When I take him to the vet they book him in immediately (I took the precaution of delaying his breakfast) so with four days till our flight we now have Doughnut under anaesthetic for a scale and polish).

As usual we all pace about restlessly while Doughnut’s at the vet, with the vet’s warning that general anaesthetic is a serious procedure for any dog, especially Doughnut, who is Doing Very Well For A Greyhound. All going well we should be able to pick him up at 5.30 – exactly the time we are due at Jack’s prize day. But I’ll worry about that later.

I try not to call until lunchtime and am told he’s still on the operating table and to call back at 3.30. The vet beats me to it and rings at about 3pm to say Doughnut’s absolutely fine but one of his molars was so bad he needed an extraction and because it took longer than expected (two hours) they want to keep him in overnight to make sure all’s well.

True enough when I turn up the next morning he’s as right as rain and just a tiny bit wobbly on his legs, so the bus is out of the question. While I’m waiting for a greyhound-friendly minicab (the vet has one on speed dial) I take a look at his teeth. Apart from a few stitches at the back of his mouth they look perfect. The two remaining slightly protuding gnashers at the front are gleaming white. He looks like Tom Cruise.

Once home I cook up a batch of mince and rice (soft food only for a week) and wonder how the neighbourhood rota will cope now we have added home-cooked food into the mix. Just as I’m dishing up I get a call from Joy at the kennels. “I’ve had a bit of a change around and moved two dogs up to my friend’s kennel up the road – when would you like to bring Doughnut in?”

Liz and I dropped him off yesterday, complete with his bed and overnight bag – medicines, three days’ supply of mince and most important of all, his toothbrush and toothpaste (chicken flavour).

Much as we know he’ll be surrounded by friends – two and four-legged – it’s still a wrench to drive away and I can’t help calling to check on him and ring up at 8.30pm to see how he’s doing. Joy answers and tells me she’s just about to take them out now it’s a bit cooler and Doughnut is absolutely fine. He’s in a kennel with an inside sleeping area and an outside yard so he can wander out to pee whenever he likes. And I’m not to worry about his teeth as they will clean them once he’s healed. It’s all in hand. “My partner does teeth and nails,” she said.

Perfect, we’re flying economy and Doughnut has an en-suite with a spa!

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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