Molly, one of our vets, had explained everything and went through details again at the reception desk. We’d operate as soon as morning surgery had been completed. The urgency of the surgery on a Saturday afternoon underlined the seriousness of Belle’s condition.
“But I don’t think I can get back to collect her later on today,” the lady added tearfully, “I can’t drive and my friend brought me down just now. He’s busy this afternoon.”
Luckily, the conversation was overheard by another client sitting in the waiting room with his young son and new puppy, awaiting a vaccination. The chap recognised the lady – it transpired they used to live in the same village – and, without any hesitation, he instantly came to the rescue.
“It’s fine,” the man volunteered, “I can give you a lift back later. I’ve got a big pick-up and it’s no problem to come back to help.”
“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll come back straight away and help,” I said, “I’ll be about 15 minutes.”
Belle was a middle-aged collie. Her vague illness had quickly and efficiently been diagnosed by Molly as a pyometra – a serious infection of the womb, where the organ fills up with fetid pus. Toxaemia can quickly develop so vets usually don’t hang around because ovariohysterectomy is the best and most effective solution, removing the whole, pus-filled organ.
Belle was already sedated when I got to the practice and we wasted no time in getting her anaesthetised and ready. The list of consultations continued to grow, so Molly had her hands full, but I carried on with the surgery, dressed in my scrubs and cycling shorts. It must not have been a pretty sight. The distended uterus was not pretty either, but at least it was out of her abdomen before too long. She’d do well and a combination of efficient diagnosis and prompt treatment was sure to effect a full cure.
Later, Belle was up and about, seemingly not too much the worse for her surgical ordeal. Experience has taught me that dogs are usually best recovering in the loving environment that is their home, especially when the owner is anxious and worried. I arranged for her to go home, which was more complicated than usual because of three people needing to be in the same place at the same time.
“I overheard the conversation this morning and knew I could help,” the kind volunteer explained. I recognised him immediately, the son of a farmer who I worked with many years ago, right at the start of my veterinary career. He was grown up now. Very grown up.
In the post-Covid, end of clapping-for-carers era, it’s still worth remembering that not all heroes wear capes. And even if we are not all heroes, it warms the heart to realise (despite everything going on in the world) that people are nice.