Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Alas, Poor Morse
Pay heed, I have a cautionary tale to tell, ignore it at your peril.
Naturally, it was all hubby's fault.
Well, it's not as though I hadn't done my research, is it? I bought the books, surfed the net, even spoke to the local vet before committing to any final decision.
We bought the full kit; bowls, lead, basket, all the chewy toys, etc. weeks before he was due to arrive, but that was fine, it heightened the sense of expectation and excitement, especially since the youngest was so obliging as to double up for a practise puppy.
Eventually, the days finally fell by and the time to bring him home arrived. Being as how the kennels were a four hundred mile round trip away, we elected it made best sense for Hubby to do the collecting, so he and our eldest were entrusted to go to make the final decision as to which pup we would actually end up with (yes dear reader, I seek to minimise my involvement here).
I stress, the babes and I stayed at home eagerly counting down the hours, as off they sped on their mission of joy.
You have to make allowances, don't you? After all, the poor little darling had not only just been wrenched away from his mummy, he'd also endured a terrifying two-hundred mile car ride before reaching us. Little wonder he arrived all wrapped up in his own shit and vomit, but even then, I have to confess his copious drooling did, just slightly, give me rise for a wee tad of concern.
I was also surprised to find he'd changed colour. "I thought the breeder lady said he was brown?"
Hubby sagely nodded, "Yeah, it's unusual for Cocker Spaniels to be black and white, isn't it?"
I tried to put a bright face on it, "So what was it that made you pick this one, then?"
"I couldn't set one foot across that door for the stench, the place was disgusting..I waited outside 'til she fetched him out for us."
My hubby, the genius.
"So, er, you didn't actually see the litter then?"
"There were puppies tripping everywhere, hard to say."
Morse, as we duly christened him, brushed up well. True, he was incredibly stupid, took months to house-train, left his signature tooth mark on every stick of furniture (including on those of our friends and neighbours) and never quite managed to settle for more than a few minutes without attacking some unfortunate leg or another, but nevertheless since he was ours, we still loved him.
Puppy training classes failed to make much of an impact, Morse rarely came when called. He particularly excelled himself on one occasion. Bolting out of our front door, he landed up scarpering half way across Putney bridge before a successful rugby tackle from hubby brought him down. Shame it broke his elbow (hubby's, not the dog). Come to think of it, I'm not sure - do dog's actually have elbows?
Curiously though, Morse was sure shaping up to be big for a little Cocker Spaniel. The vet explained this was probably due to the fact that he was a Springer Spaniel. (Darn, all those months the man on the common had been right. I made a mental note to apologise when next I saw him.)
Unlike Cocker Spaniels (which make ideal house-pets) Springer Spaniels are renowned for being stark raving loopy. It appears, in his initial rush to escape, hubby completely forgot to demand pedigree papers in exchange for our cash. Course, it was too late now, Morse had become family, cuckoo or not, we were well and truly saddled.
We bit on it and doggedly (sorry) ploughed on, hoping to somehow manage to temper his enthusiasms as we went along.
Alarmingly, puberty turned our already rampant hound into nothing less than a full-blown, raging out of control hump-aholic. He soon took to raping every dog on the common (of either sex), and tried to mount the youngest on many an occasion (she was at that handy crawling stage at the time). Enough was enough, even I realised something had be done.
Despite the Vet's misgivings, I opted to have his nuts removed. He was only nine months old, but he had developed the libido of a seventeen year old on an overdose of Viagra. Yes, of course I felt guilty, but there was little else for it. The lad would simply have to be "done".
The following Monday, en route to taking the girls to nursery, I checked him in to the local surgery. Happily scenting a new clutch of victims to molest, he cheerfully trotted off to meet his fate with hardly a backward glance. Relieved, I hastily marched the girls back to the car, draped their matching green smocks over them, and set off for school.
Now this is where it gets scary.
Perhaps I was distracted, or maybe it's because I'm a crap driver? Possibly the latter. When I was waved through to turn right at the junction, I just naturally assumed the car that had stopped to let me through, had done so after first checking the second lane (blind to me) was also clear. Sadly, this wasn't so.
Talk about a dramatic crash. Most of my bonnet, what was left of the bumper and the last jagged remains of a broken headlamp or two were jettisoned half way across the Upper Richmond Road, as we shunted over the kerb and yards along the pavement.
Miraculously, no one was injured.
Now,I may not be any good at driving, but I am as it happens, surprisingly good in a crisis (so much practise does pay off). Well of course the police had to come, tow-trucks were called, witnesses stepped up, and a fine time was had by all. Finally, still somewhat shaken, I scooped a girl up on each arm, and numbly headed for home. I think I probably looked far worse than I realised, for an acquaintance whom I barely knew drew up alongside me and wound her window down to ask if I was alright. I gratefully accepted her offer of a ride home, thanked her profusely and entered the hallway. Barely two steps through the door, I was met by the phone almost ringing off the hook.
I answered to find the vet on the line.
"I'm ever so sorry Mrs. Shrinky, but I'm afraid your dog is dead."
They claimed he must have had a weak heart. Pul-eeze - they obviously never knew him very well, no-one who could keep up that level of shagging could possibly be accused of having a dodgy heart! Mind, they did waive their fees, and (kinda' hastily, if you ask me) cremate him for free. Real nice.
I reckon the young locum vet mistakenly overdosed him on the anesthetic. But, well that's when I got to thinking..
What goes around, comes around.
This was karma.
Every action has a consequence. By checking Morse in to the vet, I had inadvertently killed him. Morse died exactly at the same time my car got trashed. Not even cold from the table, he'd risen up, found my car, and zapped me for my sins.
He always did have the last word.
(Nb. This all happened well over a decade ago, we've mourned and moved on. It took many years before we opened our hearts and home to another puppy. Second time around, we made sure to select a reputable breeder. Jake, our now 8yr old Golden Retriever, is firmly my fifth, and most easily favoured child!)