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Kennel Nicktime Cairn Terrier - 3-legged dog
The 3-legged dog

Billede25In the month of March of the year of our Lord 1996, I brought home our first dog, a beautiful and bold red cairn terrier. Like all pedigree dogs, he has a long noble name: Tam O'Shanter's In The Nick Of Time – at our place he is called Nicky.

In many ways, it was like having a small child in the house – no lie-in in the morning -  me having to get up early and spend the day removing "lakes" and "poops", since the newpapers  weren’t hit every time. The family also came over to see the miracle, and during one of the visits my mother (who had a dog as a child) observed that Nicky was moving his right hind leg in an odd way. During the following days Nicky was studied with deep concentration regarding his right hind leg, and it actually appeared to me that he was somewhat kicking this leg to the side. I tried to examine (!) him, but he wasn’t sore, and the legs seemed to be equally long, so, since we had an appointment with our vet coming up within a short period of time, I didn't do anything further.

This short period of time, however, was never quite allowed to pass, before early one morning – coffee still brewing, oatmeal still in the microwave, me just coming out of the shower-  Nicky came in from the garden and lay down on the floor, from where he could follow the morning activities in the kitchen.

Suddenly I hear a scream (a mixture between a baby and a pig scream), and turn around just in time to see Nicky spinning around in 1.5 circles on the floor as if trying to catch his tail. Definitely, he isn’t playing a game, however, because he’s using only 3 legs, while screaming fervently. ‘There is something very wrong with the right hind leg, he doesn't use it - you have to call the vet’,  my husband, Henning, shouts. With trembling hands I manage to dial the telephone number of our veterinarian (who, fortunately, maintains 24/7 service hours) and explain to the vet that he must come to our house NOW(or perhaps I rather ordered him to do so), since there seems to be something terribly wrong with our little puppy. After having listened to my explanation, the veterinarian tells me to bring our puppy to his clinic , since -  according to my explanation - X-rays might probably be needed. That,  of course, really makes sense, I think to myself, and start giving orders right and left for everybody to get rolling and finally get off to the vet ….

Meanwhile, Nicky tries several times to get up, but falls over again and again, whining all the time. "I'll be damned, if I take him, if he bites," says my husband. So I put Nicky under my arm, and the whole family gets into our  car. At that time, Nicky was absolutely not happy with driving, so during our drive to the vet, I – by turns -held him over the plastic mat in the bottom of the car, when he was vomiting, and tried to fix his right hind leg.

The right hind leg, I thought, is almost completely locked and jammed along the belly, and I couldn’t the least move the leg from where it was stuck. Also, I was thinking why I hadn't gone to the vet the moment my mother pointed out that there was something wrong with his leg. Well, we finally arrived at the vet’s, and the vet stood ready and greeted us at the door. I found it unneccesary for my husband and kid to have to deal with the "experience"  of the vet telling us that we would have to go home WITHOUT our dog, so I asked the two of them to wait in the waiting room. I was convinced that this leg problem could not be resolved, and didn't want our daughter to stand by and hear and see the end coming, but somehow we eventually all ended up in the room with the vet , while I tried to place Nicky on his 3 legs on the table for the vet to check out the problem.

Billede23 My heart was in my mouth, when the vet began to examine Nicky. After a short while, the vet said: ‘Maybe it’s not so bad’, and I felt my heart sink to my throat. The veterinarian went on examining, and we held our breath! "Done!," the vet said, and shortly after Nicky stood on ALL of his 4 legs.

‘This is an extremly skilled vet’, I thought, and, of course, asked what was wrong. ‘Well’, the vet replied, ‘After all, it was just the nail which was stuck in the collar!’

My heart fell into it's right place, but now I had a hard time dealing with the embarrassing situation. My husband tried to maintain his composure by asking what would be the consultation costs. With a friendly twinkle in his eye, the vet replied, that it would cost us nothing. No wonder, since he would be spending many funny hours telling this story to others (in the years to come)!

I tried to talk about something else and enquired after one of the employees that I know – which, later, proved to be a very stupid idea. When I came back days later for the inoculation appointment, I encountered my friend, who was walking by, carrying a dog from surgery. ‘Wait, wait,’ she cried, ‘I need see your dog!’ I waited for a moment, and my friend came over and lifted up Nicky. Then she turned to the lady at the desk, pointing to Nicky and said ‘This is the one with the collar!’. I had to wait until they had finished laughing, before I could have my dog back and say, ‘Well, well goodbye and have a nice day’.

Even now - many years after this incident – it happens that somebody asks me to tell ‘the story of the 3 legged dog’ and then, occasionaly, some other courageous fellow being ‘dares’ to talk about how he or she has, once, made a (small or big) fool of him-/herself



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