It’s a dog’s life

Having set myself the challenge of blogging (ironic really given that it was my idea to start this blog so we could record our progress for the auspicious year of 2005) I now find the identification of the interesting thing to write about a little challenging. It’s not that I’ve been idle or lost for words but I am trying to keep some sort of separation between this and the research by which I am, at times, totally preoccupied. Why bother, given that in some ways the two are inextricably linked? A generational thing I suspect and in the same place as my struggle with Facebook – great way to keep up with the younger, musical and filmic family members but not somewhere that I am moved to post. I did try to embed a link to this blog on my Facebook page but apparently that feature was disabled a while ago. So for the time being a personal – professional divide; now to the dog.

Once again I was in the Usher Hall enjoying the RSNO in a concert of Mozart and Strauss (Richard of course). I was finding the pianist a little too flamboyant and my attention strayed to the audience when I noticed a large golden labrador. The dog was so bored with Mozart, which was odd in itself as Agnes (the singing cat) is very partial to all good classical music. Anyway, the dog was doing three point turns, nuzzling the elbow of the woman in front, lying on its back with paws in the air for tummy tickles and generally not doing what assistance dogs are supposed to do. The assisted lady was doing a lot of petting and cajoling to persuade said dog to sit quietly but said dog was it seemed so very, very bored. And then, tah dah, the interval and dog was whisked out by assisted lady’s companion. I suspect legs were uncrossed and dog was somewhat relieved. Post interval, one and all delighted with Also sprach Zarathustra and dog lay quietly head on paws even through the timpani. dog231112.jpg

But in my brave new world it’s not a dog’s life but a kitten’s fancy – for without my two fluffy companions the Scottish winter would be much greyer. Currently, they have taken to their beds – Agnes with her blanket on the pouf and Bob is in Aggie’s basket deemed cosier than her own. And for the height of kitten comfort the human has thankfully seen fit to install an electric blanket. Bob now demands the bedroom door be opened by 10pm so heat is not wasted while Agnes waits for all the lights to be out before she assumes pole position at the foot of the bed ready to ward off any nocturnal spiders (she at least has her uses). To be fair to Bob though, she has been a little poorly following her field testing of harvest mites – tiny wee orange beasties, also known as chiggers! I don’t recall these pests being an Edinburgh problem when we lived in Morningside all those years ago. The household cats in those days, Jessica (black and white fluffy, cute but dozy) and Ygor (large, grey fearsome and fearless – slayed next door’s gerbil and once arrived home with a neatly folded Gregg’s bag containing a fresh jam doughnut) had fleas but not harvest mites.

Back to Bob and her affliction – the mites are apparently devilishly itchy and can drive some cats to utter distraction. The vet gave her the usual slug of magic cat potion – steroid with antibiotic. But she was still little Miss Scratchy. I asked said vet if cats could be given antihistamines (very cautious now about giving cats anything after very difficult situation with late lamented cat who was given aspirin after advice from helpful neighbour – highly toxic to cats). Back to Bob and my ongoing issues with self medication. Apparently cats can be given 1mg of piriton and so I bought her some, cut them in quarter crumbs and gave her one each night before tea. After the second night I noticed that instead of her usual tongue brandishing and washing, she immediately went to her basket for a post prandial lie down – caution this medication may cause drowsiness (even in cats who are not daft).

Which brings me back to the dog and the realisation that these days I may be taking more interest in animals than humans, for they are my constant companions.

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