Jake A Vets Dog

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Jake A Vets Dog

by Avi Levine

The Vicar comes to call

When the Vicar walked through the waiting room door a frisson of excitement rippled round the people already waiting there. Glances were exchanged even as the seated men and women greeted their spiritual leader. They knew the antipathy that existed between the Vet and the Vicar.

Of course I, as the ever-present companion of the Vet, also knew of this state of affairs. It was at least as old as I am and almost certainly went back two or three generations before I came on the scene.

I had heard whispers from friends now in their dotage - perhaps 13 or 14 years old - they had learned from their parents or grandparents that the feud started because the Vicar, a bachelor who always kept two dogs, objected to a bill he had received for their treatment one winter.

The Vet had prescribed some expensive medicines and the Vicar had looked them up in his care-of-dogs books when he got home. What he read made him grow hot under the dog collar, he thought he found similarly effective cures at a quarter the price.

It should be remembered at this stage that the Vicar was exceptionally careful with his money, despite having inherited a considerable fortune in his younger years. People said that before the inheritance he had been a generous man, but all that extra cash had turned him into a miser ? and a misogynist as he feared to share his possessions with any woman.

The Vet, of course, was aware of all this and continued to allegedly over-charge him at every visit. Why, asked the village, did the Vicar continue to attend the Vet?s surgery all these years and pay out what he considered to be excessive amounts of money?

The answer was because they both enjoyed the bitter verbal confrontations that inevitably ensued, leading at one time, it is claimed, to a full physical fight. Both have denied that story, but there are people who say they remember the screams of pain during that visit - which certainly did not come from the dogs.

On this occasion I took up a strategic position by the door and waited expectantly as the Vicar walked in with his two beagles. I followed them into the surgery, making sure to leave the door ajar. The greeting from the Vet was mild and seemed to be genuine, much to my surprise. On all other occasions the ill-will flowed from the first moment. It was if the Vet sensed a change in the Vicar.

The Vet then asked to examine the dogs and said they both had bad colds and he would prescribe appropriate medicines. Everyone in the waiting room sat on the edge of their seats. Here it comes, they thought.

But no. The Vicar accepted the medicines and the bill that came with them without a protest and paid up promptly.

As he left the surgery he called out over his shoulder. ?I have misjudged you all these years and wish to apologise. Your prices have been most fair, as a colleague has proved to me. Good day to you and God bless you.? With that he strode out.

I subsequently learned from one the beagles that the dispute finally reached the ears of the Vicar?s Bishop who not only proved the Vet?s bills to be quite fair, but thought harm was coming to the parish because of the bitterness engendered by the dispute. The suggestion was made that it should be brought to an end. And that was as good as an order to the Vicar.


Regarding my recent blog on dog coats and our (my friends and I) determination not to wear them. We solved the problem quite simply by rolling on our backs, paws in the air whenever attempts were made to fit them on. The Vet and other owners soon tired of tussling with the buckles and belts and gave up pretty quickly. I did not hear the Vet mention the subject again.

For more see: http://www.buddies-direct.co.uk/blog

Tale of a Dog Coat

It is easy to become lazy when you are well looked after, but I make a point of exercising regularly, sleeping a full 8 hours a day (and some eight again a night), not forgetting the odd nap in between. A dog needs all the rest he can get when his duties include keeping a watchful eye on all the animals treated at my Vet?s surgery ? and their owners, of course.

The other day in walked a lady I recognised as Mrs Cuthwaite dragging her handsome young dog on a long lead. Nothing unusual in that you might say, but two things caught my attention. The first was the change which came over the Vet when he entered the waiting room to see Mrs Cuthwaite there. The second was what I took to be a tartan rug over her arm. This I found a little odd, as the reception area is well heated.

The Vet could not stop fussing around her. Please come into the surgery now Dear Lady, he crooned, ignoring the six other people who had been waiting when she walked in. Attraction between humans had always been a mystery to me and when I told my gang of four closest friends about the Vet?s behaviour towards Mrs Cuthwaite they had no explanation either.

On this particular day I crept up to the surgery door to listen and caught snatches of the conversation between the two. It really did not make much sense as I missed too many words. But the drift I managed to catch concerned winter, cold snaps and coats.

Naturally I surmised that they were talking about her Skye Terrier, Jock, who did have an extra-long luxurious coat which I believe was trimmed just once year in the Spring. I scrambled away as they left the surgery.

Yes, she said in farewell, we must think carefully about how we should approach the problem - and swept out dragging poor Jock behind her. Although not a member of the gang, Jock was a pleasant and trustworthy fellow and I made contact the following day by walking very slowing past his front gate. As usual Jock was sitting nearby gazing into the distance, but this time looking really sad.

I was eager to get to the nub of the conversation between Mrs. Cuthwaite and the Vet and demanded to know from Jock what went on. Then out came the sorry tale. What she had been carrying was a Dog Coat and she wanted to know the Vet?s opinion on this particular piece of apparel, which I might add was anathema to most dogs of my acquaintance.

According to Jock the Vet told her he was in favour of putting coats on all dogs in very cold spells and was thinking about carrying a selection in the surgery for sale.

My heart dropped. I have never seen any dog who did not look like a complete idiot in a coat. It just did not make sense ? we have natural coats which for centuries have done the job quite adequately.

This affectation is more to do with owners? wishes than their pet?s needs and I have met only the occasional Chihuahua who could have a genuine claim to a coat ? after all the breed comes from South America where temperatures rarely drop below 30deg C, so our winter weather was a strain on the poor creatures.

Jock?s information could have dire consequences for me and my friends and I could only hope that with global warming on the horizon, extremely cold winters will be a thing of the past.

However, the Vet just might carry out his threat and I could find myself wearing one of those dreadful tie-on blankets. This called for immediate action and a meeting of the gang. Somehow we had to come up with an idea to foil the Vet?s coat ambitions.

Our solution, which even if I say so myself is quite ingenious, will be made clear in the next blog .

For more see: http://www.buddies-direct.co.uk/blog

The Colonel

Once peace ruled in the surgery after the morning meyhem , the Colonel can be seen sitting patiently waiting to be called in with his dog Rufus, a great pal of mine. We often meet in the nearby woods for a stroll together. Today the Colonel thinks Rufus is looking a little ?livery?, his word for anything from drooping watery eyes to pimples on the nose. The truth is that Rufus is in the best of health, but the Colonel, a childless widower, lacks company and finds a twice weekly visit to the Vet a good excuse for a chat. Other regulars have learned to avoid him in the waiting room, as his conversation rather wanders around incidents in the Second World War in which his heroic exploits are painstakingly revealed. Those in the know believe he was actually in the Catering Corps where he reached the towering rank of second lieutenant. The title of Colonel was self inflicted years ago.

Rufus, however, is a dog after my own heart. He bears these visits and examinations by the Vet with great fortitude, even tolerance, much as he puts up with the monthly bath he is subjected to in the large tub upstairs. Piping hot water in a freezing cold room. The Colonel does not believe in central heating, having a giant log fire in the study which keeps him and Rufus happy.

They have a ?lady what does? who comes in every morning to light the fires, cook breakfast and tidy up the house. She is called Katarina and comes from some outlandish country way out in eastern Europe. Her English is poor despite having lived in the village for 25 years. Rufus and the Colonel have great difficulty in either making themselves understood or in understanding what she says. Rufus tells me it?s a bit like the Himalayan tribes, except there is little hope that Katarina will one day disappear. She is 65, in rude health and with a brood we have never quite numbered accurately. There is even a rumour that all these children came from four different husbands, three buried in the churchyard and one seen occasionally, ghostlike, walking round the house. He does seem to be a man who is depressed about his future.

Of course Rufus is not my only friend. There is a long line of them and they will be introduced to you gradually as time goes on. Living with the Vet gives me a unique advantage regarding meeting other dogs (and cats, budgies, rabbits, even the odd horse and pony) but, while conversing with these other creatures is not beyond my ability, they are nowhere near as interesting as my own kind.

For more see: http://www.buddies-direct.co.uk/blog

Annual photograph

Today the practice?s annual photograph is due to take place ? a prolonged, tiresome affair for all dogs. Once a year the Vet warns his favourite clients that he has arranged for a professional photographer to attend at whatever time he thinks best and invites their attendance, with pets of course. These are restricted to dogs only.

This is an important event in the village calendar and those invited are judged to be the cream of local society, or more truthfully, the Vet?s top-spending clients. The invitations are most sought after and often lead to terrible squabbles between members of the same family. We have an uncle and nephew still not speaking after a row, now ten year?s old, over which seat to sit on. Each wanted the front row and only one, the uncle, was able to fulfil his long-held dream. These seats are reserved for those whose vet?s bills exceed some exorbitant sum which the Vet keeps a closely-guarded secret.

In fact, the Vet is quite careful with the seating arrangements, recognising the sensitivity of all the guests, and solves the problem by having three rows of banked seats each one numbered. Those allocated the second or third rows and argue about it are flung out unceremoniously. There is a queue at the gate eager to replace them. Every year at least five guests are expelled and advised to take their dogs home. The humiliation is a delight to watch.

The reason everyone wants to attend this event is not just for the photograph (the Vet insists on each guest buying ten copies at grossly excessive prices) but the lavish buffet and drinks selection provided afterwards.

The only fly in the ointment, if one is permitted to mix metaphors, is that rather silly cat, Biggins, the bane of my life and the other household pet. War between us is never ending and at times quite vicious. He has a terrible temper, while I am inclined to stay calm, no matter what the provocation. However, a sharp kick from me is usually enough to send him squealing to the nearest hedge.

Cats, as you know, are mainly creatures of the night and Biggins spends little time at home, day or night, showing that distinct streak of independence for which these animals are famous. Surprisingly, he never gets lost, unlike some friends of mine who often have to be returned home in a recovery van.

When the pictures have been taken and the food demolished, it is time for the Vet?s speech of welcome. His droning voice goes on and on and all the dogs fall asleep at their masters? feet.

So, being a loyal companion, I was forced to listen to the Vet and his endless stream of stories about how he made his way in the world, from a poverty-stricken youth to his current pre-eminent position.

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