|Freddy five minutes beforehand. He was no different afterwards|
Good grief! If only it had been the circle rig he'd eaten rather than the usual one. Then I could just have pulled the entire thing out easily and without any chance of hooking him in the throat in the process.
I packed down hastily and we returned home so I could take a more studied and unhurried look down his gob but when I tried the trace had vanished. He'd swallowed the lot and the offending article was now in his stomach...
Dominic arrived and Judy was back from London just after so we took Freddy, who was completely unconcerned, to the PDSA. I was in there just a few minutes before I walked out in disgust. The quote for immediate treatment — because we were now 'out of hours' till Monday morning — was just eye-watering.
A sum total of £1000 for consultation, an X ray and removal of the hook by minor endoscopic surgery. Half up front. And now, please.
So much for charity! How does that stack up when a benefits claimant who can afford to buy and feed a brace of pitbull terriers has their squabble wounds stitched up by this organisation for free and gratis, out of hours, or not?
We paid the consultion fee of £130 for what was about two minute's work of gullet and belly squeezing by the vet's assistant, her going backstage for the quote, and Judy taking up valuable desk time signing shit and coughing up the dough. And dough was exactly what Freddy had when we got back home. Half a loaf of brown bread to bind the trace up in. He may have been bemused by the fuss, but that bread was wolfed down with gusto...
Dom was raring to go next morning. I waited for Martin and we all met up a little later in the basin just round the corner from home. Freddy slept well, wasn't showing any signs of distress, and so for now there was only the concern of what might happen later because nothing had yet. I really wasn't in the mood for fishing. But I fished anyhow having nothing better to do than await Freddy's fate.
But all the while I was timing the progress of the trace through his gut. By now I thought would be through the small intestine, entering into the large intestine, to be shat out some time in the afternoon. It takes us two days or more but healthy dogs get it through fast. From meal to crap in just 8 -12 hours if they don't have to retain till walkies time comes around.
And they can eat almost anything. Molly once ate a good part of an empty beer can she'd found in the grass. She shredded it (still does this if I don't catch her at it) and chomped on the tasty bits. Came to no harm. Didn't even cut a gum.
And it all came out the other end soon enough...
These trains of thought are why I could not fish. What if that hook was now dragging through the gut not bend down, but point down? Would it, could it, snag?
And what if it did?
And what if it did?
I prayed it wouldn't because then we'd have major surgery on our hands and a stark choice between coughing up multiple thousands of pounds or having young Freddy put down...
'Trust in nature' was my mantra. 'Let nature take her course'.
The fishing was terrible anyhow so I wasn't missing much. Dom had a few perch on lures, Martin similar on worm. No zander were banked though I did have a few missed runs and lost one fish. I was glad of that. My current perplexing run of failure where there's always been assured success gave me something technical to mull over other than the soft mechanics of Freddy's gut. Who was just fine according to Judy's next phone call asking about our present location and about to walk the dogs down the canal.
Half an hour later I spotted them across the far bank, so I called her back. Freddy had just expressed his absolute disinterest in our worries and concerns in the form of a firm and distinctly 'bready' chunk of crap with a somewhat battered and acid etched trace in it...
Thank Mother Frickin' Nature for that!
Checking for dog turds as you must, I knelt down and kissed her lush green towpath grass. Half an hour later still, Molly and Freddy and Judy were seen bounding and striding down the same lush green towpath toward us and on their way back home.
All was well with the world. And I was off the hook.