Working from Hard Copy While Nursing a Patchwork Dog

Here I am again, at last!

As mentioned in my last post, my sweet old chocolate Labrador bitch had to undergo surgery to remove some lumps, one of them a nasty mast cell tumour. On the day of her surgery, it felt as though I was delivering her to a torture chamber.

Usually the association in my dog’s mind between visits to the vet and bountiful “good girl” treats makes things just about okay. However when a dog has had no food since 8 pm the evening before surgery and then has the vet steal her away from her family on an empty stomach, this is bad news. The previous morning it seems she sensed the need to build up her strength.

Following many hours of waiting, the vet called us to say the surgery had gone well. Late in the afternoon, we collected a very sorry-for-herself but brave dog all trussed up in a string vest to hold the padded dressings in place and protect her stitches. She came home armed with anti-inflammatory pain meds and some tasty soft food, her appetite unaffected by the experience.

We live on a hillside and that means loads of steps in the front and back garden, but our list of instructions for her included no running up steps or stairs. Initially this meant carrying her up on to the lawn to do her business and banning her from going upstairs in the house. She also had to stay on the lead in the garden, to prevent her from chasing marauders, scratching her underside on undergrowth, or jumping against the fences.

Of course I made sure to stay downstairs with her, so she didn’t feel lonely or unloved! This meant a holiday from my computer, which lives upstairs. With editing still to do on my manuscript, I decided to do it the old-fashioned way and print it out into hard copy. This enabled me to set up my nurse cum editor station on the sofa, with a wedge pillow as a climbing slope for my four-pawed friend.

On Day 3, the vet removed the string vest and suggested our old girl wear a T-shirt instead, to help the air circulate better to assist her healing. Mister and Son donated one garment each for this purpose, and pretty super-cool madam looked, too. As for the indignity of wearing one of those lampshade collars, Mistress Houdini was out of the offending anti-fashion item in one minute flat. Mister tried it on as a hat and it suited him much better. Shame I didn’t have my camera to hand at the time.

Zoom forward to 13 days later and freedom at last: stitches removed, off the lead in the garden, stairs and steps permitted. And a week on from then, her undercoat has regrown and resembles brown carpet underfelt. She is back to her usual happy and exuberant self, even demanding I play tug of war with her today.

As mast cell tumours have a habit of popping up elsewhere on a dog that’s susceptible to them, I’ve added cod liver oil to her diet, for its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. I’m also treating her with relevant homeopathic remedies, plus the twelve cell salts. Fingers crossed, she’ll be with us many more years yet, hopefully as long as our last Labrador who lived to the grand age of 17.

I’m taking homeopathic remedies, too, along with probiotics containing anti-histamine bacteria — all to good effect so far, other than my inability to put on weight (unusual for hypothyroid, I know). Unfortunately the synthetic thyroxine medication prescribed by the doctor made me very ill and I had to stop taking it, but that’s another story for another day.

Have I done much editing during the last month? That’s questionable, although the experience has reminded me that working from hardcopy has its definite merits. It’s easier to spot errors, get a sense of flow, and put yourself in the reader’s head, plus it stops you going boss-eyed in front of the computer screen.

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

22 thoughts on “Working from Hard Copy While Nursing a Patchwork Dog”

  1. Dear Sarah,

    So sorry you and your pooch have been through this. I’m glad things are on the upswing for her and will be for you shortly. Missing you in my blogging and internet world.



    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Rochelle,

      It’s been really emotionally draining, but I’m so relieved my beautiful dog is doing well. I’ve missed you, too. Fingers crossed that the gremlins will lay off me for a while and I can return to doing some pleasurable things, including chatting and engaging with my friends.

      All best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a dog-lover, my heart breaks for any four-legged furry creature when they are ill. It sounds like your little darling is being taken good care of, with copious amounts of love and tender care. I’m cheering her on from across The Pond, and sending positive vibes to her owner.

    Good to have you back, Sarah! Hope to hear from you more often as Spring sweeps over us.

    Take care dear friend


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Bill, for your kind comments and thoughts. My four-legged furry friend has been very stoic and as loving as ever, despite her discomfort after the op. She is doing very well and maybe the lead did her some good by way of retraining, as she now seems to have got the message to treat steps and stairs with more caution now she’s older, instead of flying up and down them like a puppy!

      I’m very much looking forward to Spring sweeping over us. It has been very grey and windy for the last few days, although not that cold. I’m also very much hoping to be back to blogging properly, if I can get my energy back and retrieve my organisational skills.

      You take care, too,



  3. Sarah, you’re such a great dog-mom! (And human mom, too, I’m sure!) I hope you will start feeling as well as Miss Labrador seems to be doing, too. And the writing will flow from your wellness. Do take care in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leigh 🙂 Miss Labrador was walking very briskly this morning, especially when we had to pass the vets, where she bombed up the street like an express train, her ears pinned up! Her relief was clearly palpable when she realised we were heading for a lovely garden where she likes to walk rather than for further torture. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. Even to have got my head into order to compose a blog post is progress. Now I must get back into the swing of editing. At least my latest book is making me laugh out loud, which hopefully my readers will do eventually. I just hope they have the same sense of humour as me, as writing satire can rebound on the author if they’re not careful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like to think I do! But there are many others, too. Sarah, if you’d like a beta reader at some point, I’m still here. Ta and toodles to you and Miss Labrador. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So happy to find you in my inbox (even if I am slow to answer!) What an ordeal for your beautiful dog – and of course, her two-legged members of her family! So happy she is doing so well now.
    As for you, I have missed you and hope that you can get your own self all sorted out! Mind you, how great that you have been going old-school on the editing 😉
    Hope to see more of you, soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You needn’t apologise for being slow in answering, as I’m still so disorganised that I’ve not visited anybody’s blog yet — even those who have been kind and patient enough with me to comment on my last two posts, Yesterday, I was on fb literally for less than half a minute to verify my identify for a transaction I was doing. In that half minute Rochelle said “hi” on messenger, and I feel very guilty for not responding but I had to finish what I was doing and hurry up getting lunch, or else… Sunday is a working day for Mister and not one that I’m usually on the PC. When I get a breather, I will visit fb again and perhaps we gals can have a chat. Must get back into some kind of routine first, which involves visiting a few blogs a day, as well as carrying on with my editing. Also I need to get some fresh air and take my new car on some jaunts, especially to transport my dog to some local beauty spots for walkies, rather than taking her to and from the vet. The purpose of this will be to remind her that the car can take her to nice places, too!
      Hope to video chat soon and have a catch-up. Also hope to send you some beta-reading material sooner rather than later.
      Thanks for your patience and understanding xoxo


  5. I’m so glad she’s doing well Sarah, those hours of waiting are terrible and then it’s awful not being able to let them have the freedom to do what they normally do. We had to block off the stairs and take the chair away from the window that Winston used to get on the windowsill after his stroke and I was sure it made him miserable. Fortunately he can do stairs again and he now has his own window-seat (much sturdier and more stable than the chair!). Sending healing wishes your way and hoping that she makes a great recovery – and that your own problems also have a good outcome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your healing wishes, Andrea 🙂 I know you went through a very stressful time with Winston and am so pleased to know that Winston is doing so well, and has his own window-seat. They so hate not being able to climb the stairs or sit in their usual places. My dog has her favourite chair in Mister’s room, which was far to high for her to climb into after the op. We had to put a cardboard box on its seat to stop her trying. She would sit there glaring at the box, and turning to give Mister pointed looks. At least I tried to make up for it, by giving her extra snuggle times on the sofa. I’m mindful that I’ve lots of catching-up to do on your blog. Hope to do so soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Inese 🙂 Miss Labrador is very happy and playful again. We’re both loving the Spring sunshine. I’ve taken to editing my manuscript out in the garden in the mornings, while my canine companion stretches herself out in the sun. I’m still not that much on my computer, hence my continued absence from regular blogging. Meanwhile, I do so appreciate my fellow bloggers’ kindness, loving concern. and patience. I promise I’ll get my act in order as soon as possible. Am feeling a little more energetic than a month ago and my brain is working better, which is a start.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely to read the good news about your sweet darling puppy, dearest Sarah. Glad you’re doing better too. I am reminded of kitty’s illness in January; she wore a red ‘kittygro’ and looked so cute in it, walked like a little wind up toy! All better now though and what a relief as we do adore our family, furry or otherwise 🙂 Can’t wait to see you…lots of love, hugs and kisses xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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