I GUESS for many of us – if we get our pets as puppies or kittens – we’re never quite sure how they are going to turn out, writes Dominic Plumley.
Of course, some of us will have gone to great lengths to research the breed and even look into the family lines of the parents if going down the pedigree road.
However, a good proportion of our patients are still the good old Heinz 57 – unique in their own special way.
This backdrop of unpredictability can play havoc when choosing a name. Apart from the obvious confusion on the gender front, with Charlies that become Charlottes or Davinas that are really Daves, there are those that are named after sporting heroes or celebrities – at the last count we had over 60 Shearers registered with us.
There are plenty of popular animal role models. We have 80+ Scoobys (not all Great Danes) not to mention several hundred Ladys though only one Tramp to go with them – and she’s a cat.
The flip side of all this is that occasionally we get an animal in that is the spitting dab of a famous character but its ultimate persona was barely hinted at when it arrived as a ball of fluff all those years ago.
One such character is Crispie who had us entertained over the Easter weekend.
When describing him I only really need one word, Garfield, and I know you now have him picture perfect in your mind.
Weighing in at a little over 15 pounds, this happy-go-lucky moggy has nailed the art of life, though as with every chancer he is prone to the odd mishap.
As you might imagine Crispie’s physique is - how can I put it kindly? Better suited to the winter, with plenty of insulation against the cold. Unfortunately, his curiosity is totally unaware of the limitations that this handicap brings.
Only a few months ago he managed to get himself wedged between a garden wall and adjacent shed. I kid you not, he was stuck fast, beyond reach and ultimately required the dismantlement of the shed wall to free him.
I’m certain a similar fate will at some time have befallen the real Garfield though, no doubt, he will have been left to diet his way out of the situation.
Having obviously not learnt his lesson, while most of us were enjoying our Easter eggs, Crispie couldn’t help but notice how interesting the swifts looked as they flew into the stable through the opened top half of the door.
Remembering the athletic prowess of his youth, he managed to get himself onto the lower half of the door – in position to have a go at the birds as they shot through the open gap.
Fear not any avid bird watchers – this was always going to be a mismatch. Like Usain Bolt lining up against Eamonn Holmes in the 60-yard dash, it was always destined to end in tears.
Losing his balance at the first swipe, Crispie tumbled to the ground putting his back out in the process.
On examination, he had deep pain sensation in both hind legs, though he had lost his proprioceptive responses, basically the nervous reflexes that tell the brain where his back feet are in relation to the rest of his body.
Rather alarmingly this meant that initially he couldn’t move without dragging his back legs behind him.
Fortunately, some pain relief and potent anti-inflammatory soon initiated signs of improvement allaying fears of more permanent spinal damage.
I am glad to report that a week or so later, though still on enforced cage rest and medication, he is just about back to normal and has also lost a little bit of weight.
I am suspicious though, if you excuse the muddled nature of this metaphor, like an old dog, this old cat will again learn nothing from his experience and it is only a matter of time until Garfield’s next adventure.