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Dog + Stick = Trouble

June 9, 2010

We finally managed to rent a car the other day… finally! We’ve been trying to hunt down an ‘auto’, but manuals seem to be the transmission of choice here. Bugger. The last time I drove a manual was… oh… a good seven years ago at least! No matter. I’ve been dying to get going and explore all that Aquitaine (pronounced ‘acki-ten’) has to offer – and believe me, there is a lot to see and do!

Beyond the city of Bordeaux, there is Cognac (famous for… you guessed it), Cap Ferret (Cape Ferret – a lovely area situated on a cape that forms a spit and separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Arcachon Bay), the Arcachon Bay with it’s 3km long Dune du Pilat (Europe’s largest sand dune), the northern end of Basque Country… there are the wonderful surf beaches all along the coast (which happens to be the longest stretch of coastline in Europe), the vineyards after vineyards, lovely national parks, over thirty freshwater lakes, an abundance of beautiful old towns (including some fortified medieval villages), a plethora of amazing seafood, more foie gras and duck confit than you can poke a stick at, the Pyrénées… and I could keep going.

Our first couple days with a set of wheels were marred by Finn (the gregarious, loveable, but somewhat-daft-at-times black labrador that we are pet-sitting) having a run-in with a stick. If you have a dog, let me just tell you now… dogs and sticks are not a good idea. You always see dogs in movies fetching sticks, ears flapping in the wind, big grin on face, right? Yeah, well… apparently sticks are to be avoided. Horrible accidents with splinters and piercing are not uncommon. Damn Hollywood.

L was out playing with Finn at the park; a little game of fetch to give him some exercise. All was going well until the silly pup decided to chew the stick, toss it back to himself and somehow catch it pointy end first. A couple of chokes and a slobbery gag ensued. The stick dropped and he was back to his regular jovial self. A few hours later, however, we noticed that all was not well; he refused to eat, drink, move or do anything. The poor thing looked utterly miserable and was slobbering like an old drunken fool. I rang the vet’s after-hours number and attempted, in what I can only imagine was the most frantic and ridiculously fragmented French this poor country French vet has ever heard, to explain what had happened.

A visit to the vet and several hours later, Finn was a new dog. Apparently his despondency had been part mildly-irritated-throat and part man-flu. The big sook… we had been so stressed, so worried! We’d made a very late night call to the couple whose home and beloved pet we were supposed to be taking care of to let them know the situation and that in itself had been an unpleasant situation to be in. They were great about it and said not to worry: that he had a habit of being a bit of a baby. As if you’re not going to worry though! It would have been stressful enough if Finn was ours, but as he was someone else’s, it had us feeling extra agitated. Thank goodness he’s fine. Oh, the relief! No. More. Sticks.

Now if only the weather would sort itself out, we can finally get going!



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