June 10th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
It’s very hard to be without a washing machine when there are so many towels and other dog-related laundry items to deal with on a daily basis, so while I was waiting for possible sponsorship for a new machine I still had to go to Fortress and buy one. You’d think that would the end of the story, but as far as this company is concerned Lamma may just as well be on the moon, especially when there’s no ferry service to where I live. So as usual I asked that the machine be dropped off at the sampan pier at a designated time, telling the salesman that I would need an hour’s notice to be able to be there. The first delivery day and time was eight in the morning on Thursday, but the machine didn’t actually turn up until nearly two hours later, by which time I’d given up. Today was the second attempt but my lack of Cantonese and the driver’s basic English made communication impossible, but I did gather that he was at the wrong place and I couldn’t explain how to get to where he should be. After a very frustrating half an hour we both gave up, and that was the start of my bad day.
I noticed that Kota, one of my especially-beautiful puppies wasn’t looking well and I knew that I needed to get her to the vet. I had a choice of getting Hing to come over from Tai Po or making my morning walk as short as possible and going myself, and in the end chose the latter as I wanted to be with Kota and make sure she was as comfortable as I could make her. Going without a walk at all (for my older dogs) would result in rebellion, so I needed to get that out of the way first.
As soon as I got back I put Kota in a dog carrier, as well as Trinidad, the puppy with the broken leg who had managed to get rid of the splint and dressing overnight (in a separate carrier, although the two pups were living together so really it would have made little difference). Kota made it as far as the taxi before she took a few deep breaths, and that was it. I knew she had died. When I got to Acorn I asked Dr Andy to do a parvovirus test and it came back strongly positive even though the symptoms weren’t typical of parvo, thankfully, as the disease is normally so painful that it has the puppies crying out as the gut spasms. This was an acute version that affects the heart, so if there was anything to console me it was that Kota has passed painlessly and quickly. I have spent too many nights listening helplessly to the screams of agony from dying pups. Now, of course, all of the puppies that have been with Kota are under observation and can’t be taken for re-homing until they have passed the incubation period, and that includes Trinidad, who was as bright as a button as she was having her new ‘Robert Jones’ dressing put on.
Feeling very upset about what had just happened, and the fact that now I had to face the strong possibility of other puppies dying, I decided to stop off at Fortress in Aberdeen to tell them where they could stick their washing machine. Apart from anything else, it had cost four sampan trips for nothing, and at ninety dollars each way the cost of the machine itself was increasing rapidly. The salesman recognised me and told me that the delivery man had said he’d been trying to call me all morning but I never picked up the phone. Liar liar pants on fire! Anyway, there followed a good half hour of discussions and calls to various people, including the sampan driver, during which time I was standing with a dead puppy in one bag and a live one in the other, getting more and more irritated. At least there was what may be a satisfactory conclusion, which is that on Monday the delivery will be made to the sampan without me having to be there, and no, I won’t pay any extra to have the washing machine loaded onto the boat.
Back home and being faced with a pile of my personal laundry, there was nothing for it but to hand wash, something I can vaguely remember doing in my younger days but not something I’ve done for a very long time.
Kota was buried up in the woods, a long way from the house and anything else so there is no risk of contamination. Strangely I’d just had an e-conversation with someone about how long it takes for bodies to decompose (yes, this is what my life is about these days!) and I know that with young puppies there is nothing left after a very short time. How do I know this morbid fact? Because once, a few years ago, I buried a puppy in the bottom of a large pot, thinking that it would be nice to have a plant growing on top in her memory. Not too long afterwards, when nothing had grown and I needed the pot for something else, I completely forgot about the body and tipped the pot upside down to empty the earth out – remembering in horror just as I did it that I had buried the pup there. But there was nothing left, not even a bone.
There was a panic at our Ap Lei Chau Centre when Josie, our sweet small-sized mongrel, wandered out of the dog park when someone left the gate open (not one of our volunteers I’m sure). Being smart, she went back to the Homing Centre but was scared off by a group of children who chased her, and she hadn’t come back by closing time. Although I know there were volunteers out looking for her until she returned at 1.30m (you know our volunteers are amazing), I was never worried that she wouldn’t come back. The old part of Ap Lei Chau where we are located is a small area and a friendly neighbourhood . The local shopkeepers were on the lookout for Josie too, and I was reminded of how lucky we were to have found this spot for our Homing Centre. At least Josie is safely back, even if she did cause a few hours of worry. She’s a really special girl, so sweet and easy, and we all love her and wish she could find the real home she deserves.
Fortunately there was at least one happy part to my ‘day off’, and that was the adoption of Mousie, now Harley. I’d never been worried that he’d be left on the shelf because he’s so small that his size alone would ensure he’d find a home. He’s been in a foster home so his potential adopters went to meet him and it was love at first sight. How Mousie and his sister, Shrimp, had survived living wild is a total mystery. They were so tiny when I first saw them at AFCD, just the size of baby kittens, but apart from some typical bald patches on the tail they both thrived and now they both have lovely homes.