Thursday, 8 April 2010

Poorly doggy paw paw

Ok, firstly I owe you two apologies;
1. Just how immature the title of this blog is.
2. It has nothing to do with fruit.

Right, feel better? No?

During my time in Buckinghamshire and in the heart of the Hambleden valley area I made very good friends with an excellent chap called Jonathan, he was ex-army, a legendary story teller, now a motorbike instructor and in all aspects of the word “The dog man”. What he didn’t know about working dogs, living with and looking after them simply wasn’t worth knowing. His dog ‘Ben’ was a legend, he was a Huntaway (A relatively rare breed from New Zealand that are bred to work as sheep dogs/sheep protectors). Ben is amazingly well trained, loyal, protective, amazing with his then 2year old daughter and a real character, the country gent of the canine world. Anyway, Jonathan was full of self-help ways to heal your dogs general ailments and minor injuries to avoid costly vet visits. Now, I’ll get back to the particular tip in a bit.

My dog ‘Sil’ (after Silvio Dante of the HBO series ‘The Soprano’s, my favourite TV series ever) is a 3year old German shorthaired pointer cross Springer spaniel, affection machine and botherer of all things avian. Now, Sil is generally a ‘Good boy’, but occasionally on long walks, in particular on the old estate we used to live by. Would occasionally ‘Bugger off’ at speed after a Muntjack, pheasant or partridge. Especially muntjack deer’s. They’re his favourite moving fodder. The particular area of the estate they generally inhabited was strewn with sharp flints and rocks, so when he finally arrived panting like a jet engine and lying on his back half dead in front of me I’d give him a routine check of the paw pads to see if anything was damaged. Generally he got away unscathed. On this particular occasion, he didn’t. Upon checking his paws I realised he’s spit the main pad on his left fore leg about 12mm deep. It was pouring dog claret and he couldn’t stand on it. I panicked (a bit/a lot), I’m not afraid of blood (lucky really being a butchery trained chef) but the sheer rate it was pumping out and not clotting was alarming. I immediately phoned my good friend Jonathan. I think the conversation started along the lines of “Mate, Sil F****d off again, he’s come back with a split poor and it wont stop pissing claret, vet yeah?!?”.

Apparently not, I was calmly told to; carry him home to avoid any extra dirt getting in the wound, (fine, but I was 1mile from home, I did it though, all 27kg’s of the daft brute) immediately wash it in clean running water and hold damp kitchen towel against it until it clotted. Ok, did that, and here’s where the very tenuous foodie link comes in. I was then instructed to pack the now clotted paw slit/wound with cayenne pepper, butterfly stitch it tightly closed, dress, duct tape and apply a girls sock (don’t ask) with yet more duct tape and leave alone for 24hours. Sounds painful eh? Bloody must have been! Cayenne in an open cut?!? Bless him though, he didn’t wince once. He even seemed to have a spring in his step with his new comedy ball of duct tape paw (Fear not animal lovers, I was extra careful not to tape too tightly and cut of any blood flow). 24 hours later, as instructed I removed the dressing. Blimey charley! It had completely knitted back together, his body had ejected the cayenne into a weird paste now in the dressing (I didn’t taste it). I looked like a week old wound, amazing. He was fine, didn’t limp and it needed no further covering up or attention. Now supposedly, cayenne pepper contains naturally occurring anti-bacterial agents and something that promotes blood clotting and skin knitting. I don’t know if that is true but this old wives tail (or ex-army man’s) worked for Sil. Now don’t think I’m over reacting, this was a serious gash, definitely what the vet would consider a stitch job. Saved me the money, Sil the thermometer up the Gary and our wallet strings un-pulled. Thanks Jonathan and thanks cayenne pepper.

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