Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Doggone Tough Week

The Daemon Meets Margarita
The Daemon Meets Margarita, originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
Keeping a puppy quiet with an IV canula in her arm is not a job for the faint of heart. My current houseguest Tracy and I have spent a rough four days and nights adjusting needles, replacing Ringers Lactate and Glucose bags, and injecting antibiotics into canulas. So this morning when a suddenly recovered and starving Morgana bounded into the kitchen for the third time asking for yet another breakfast, we were delighted. As she's felt increasingly better over the day, a number of plastic bags, a pair of rubber sandals, a rope and about four plastic dog toys have fallen prey to the galumph of a newly bouncy Great Dane puppy.

We arrived home from a ride at sunset last week to hear a hideous racket from the corner of the garden just as the Dalmation and one of the rat terriers decided to take a stroll through the fields. We broke up the altercation but had to wait for the terrier to decide to come home, which he did eventually. When he finally showed up, he was stiff and not at all willing to be picked up. One of the other dogs had picked up a couple of nasty bites that needed stitching. When we called around to collect supplies and aid, we discovered that one neighbour had driven a mother and son to nearby hospitals after a pickup truck driven at ridiculous speed (we'd seen it flash past my driveway earlier) plowed into them as they sat outside their door. Another neighbour came over with some sutures and we had a quilting party with poor Harpo as the quilt.

It's pretty hard to pay attention to three gimpy dogs at once. The slightly banged-up wanderer probably got the least attention. Morgana got the most attention until this morning when Harpo's stitches had to come out and we realised that one of the wounds had gotten infected despite the antibiotic he's been taking. Off to the vet office for yet another visit. They really do think that I'm going to rent a room now.

Veterinarians are not the most highly revered doctors in Egypt on the whole. Traditionally being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer is of higher status than being a vet, which is a problem for people needing veterinary services. I have many young friends who are recently graduated veterinarians. Most of them are not in the career to make a million dollars, but the likelihood of them even making a decent living isn't always so great. A few young vets have been fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Adel Amer, an Egyptian vet who worked for almost thirty years in the United States and then opened a clinic in Maadi after retiring in Egypt. Many Egyptian vets are more concerned with protecting their client lists than they are in providing training for successors. Today one of Dr. Amer's young doctors spent a couple of hours cleaning out Harpo's infected bite.

About four hours and ten stitches later Harpo is asleep on the dog couch while Morgana has asked for an additional five meals. The rest of the pack, most of whom had been avoiding Harpo prior to the cleaning out operation, are scattered around the invalid. Both Tracy and I had noticed the change in attitude of the pack after the fight and tonight's change surprised both of us. All we could guess was that somehow the other dogs were noting and avoiding the smell of the infection. Now that it is gone, Harpo is lovable again.

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