This week's throwback Thursday takes us back eight years, with a post from 18 January 2009.
Poor old Flash. According to dogage.com his current age, in human terms, is ninety-one. By any reckoning, that disqualifies him from the puppy shows!
We have been concerned that he is off his food at the moment and losing weight at a rate he can’t spare; so we took him to the vet for a check-up. We also took Ulysse with us, to register him with the vet and to have him checked over.
Flash has three problems that affect his eating:
- his teeth are not the best, and he doesn’t always cope well with anything that needs to be crunched or chewed
- he has just lost his adoptive brother (imagine living for over ninety years, during which time there has not been a day when your brother wasn’t there, then to lose him)
- the bitch next door is in season, and Flash would so love not to die a virgin!
The vet took some blood from Flash, which we took to the lab for analysis, and received the results the following day. He is not bad for his age, slightly raised cholesterol and low protein – the latter being probably due to his not eating enough. Taking into account the problem Flash has with his gnashers (the vet removed the bad molars and treated the rest so knows his history), and in the light of the blood test results, the vet diagnosed Flash as being depressed. She has prescribed a mild antidepressant which will, over a few weeks, help him to deal with the problem. She also diagnosed the poor old boy with a heart condition as well, so he is now on tablets for the rest of his life. We shall have to see how he gets on with all that. We have to take him back for a check-up in three weeks’ time.
The vet’s receptionist, when I told her Ulysse’s name, replied “Heureux qui comme Ulysse!” which, of course, meant nothing to me. So I did some research.
Heureux qui comme Ulysse is a poem written in 1558 by Joachim du Bellay, and is a sonnet on the subject of homesickness.
Heureux qui comme Ulysse is a 1970 film starring Antonin Fernandel, concerning an old horse, Ulysse, saved from an undignified death by making a long and arduous journey to freedom in the Camargue.
Heureux qui comme Ulysse is the title of songs written and recorded by, amongst others, Georges Brassens (the theme song to the 1970 film) and rap artist Ridan (2007). Franz Ferdinand’s new release, Ulysses, has strong links to the sentiment of the poem, which seem to show that FF was at least aware of it when he penned the lyrics.
Which of these things the receptionist had in mind, I don’t know; but it did offer me a fascinating piece of research, so I should thank her for that.
But I digress. We did decide, in the end, to keep Ulysse’s name – he understands it, and there is really nothing to be gained by changing it. For the benefit of non-French speakers, his name is pronounced a bit like you lease, with the stress on the lease.
Ulysse is settling in very well, and he and Flash are becoming good friends. We are trying to help Flash with his eating problem by providing softer food and sometimes taking it to him – anything to encourage him to eat. Ulysse appreciates what we are trying to do and tries to join in – the eating, that is!
The dogs are also sorting out their sleeping arrangements. When I collected Ulysse, Kim let me have the bed he had been using, telling me that this bed was his favourite, and that he would always go for the smallest bed he could find, even if he could hardly fit in it.
There is definitely some truth in that, although, on occasion, he prefers a larger expanse in which to rest.
What is pleasing is the extent to which the two dogs have accepted each other. Flash had grown old with a single companion and had never, apart from a couple of visits from Tinkerbell, shared his home with any other dog. That he has happily allowed Ulysse to share his home is a testament to his tolerance and good nature. Ulysse, having spent the last year or so as a member of a pack of six or more, on a large farm with masses of room to roam, has settled very quickly into the family, enjoying the half acre or so that he can run around in, and enjoys long walks on the lead. Together, they seem to be quite content.
When it comes to home comforts, though, Ulysse knows how to relax and how to make use of any sucker who will offer him a comfortable perch!