Tuesday 25 March 2014.
Mufti is partially blind. It looks to me that he is totally blind in the right eye. He keeps knocking his head against every obstacle along the way; his hearing, however, is very good, so when I call him he looks up in my direction and comes to me. That’s how we negotiate his path when I take him out.
Most of the time I take him out on the lead, but sometimes I let him enjoy the freedom of movement and I call him and clap my hands and he always comes…but not that night. What on earth possessed him to suddenly turn right and completely change direction? Did he hear any other sounds apart from my ‘Mufti, Mufti, come, this way, come here, Muftiii!’
It all happened within three seconds at ten to eight on that dark Tuesday evening.
‘NOOO’, I screamed as Inspector Mufti turned 45 degrees and was moving with determination towards his chosen destination, under the railing to the edge of the terrace, and I saw him flying into the darkness like Superman…My heart stopped beating… Was it an inspecting job?
THUD! OUCH! His scream sent shivers down my spine. I ran downstairs as fast as my old legs would carry me, picturing the little Shih Tzu lying motionless in a pool of blood. ‘What if he’s dead? Oh no, no. I’ll be devastated. Chrissi will be devastated. I’ll lose her friendship for ever… You can have him if you like while I’m away, just five days, she said. But only if you want to, otherwise Jenny can look after him. I said, yes, I can do it… I had looked after Mufti many times before Sasha’s illness back in 2009, no problems ever, but now I‘ve failed miserably. I’ve failed so miserably in my dog minding duty; I’ve failed a poor old, vision impaired little dog.’
I was shattered.
Downstairs, on the brick pavement, Mufti was sitting up! Not even unconscious.
‘Thank God he’s alive.’ I picked up the little bundle and took him upstairs, my heart pounding. I put him gently in his bed and stormed into Sasha’s study.
‘I’m in shock’, I said, breathless.
‘What happened? What happened?’
‘Mufti’s just had a nasty fall.’
‘Whaaat? Where, how?’ And I told him what had just happened.
‘That’s two and a half metres! My God! How is he now?’ he said, getting up to have a look at Mufti.
Mufti was standing in front of his bed.
‘Thank God he can stand. He hasn’t broken any bones,’ I said. But he was breathing heavily, standing motionless, his eyes half shut. I put him back into his bed and he got up instantly, walked out and stood there breathing heavily, just like before: motionless, like a statue, just his rib cage expanding with a deep breath in, and then a very slow breath out.
‘He’s in shock’, Sasha said, looking very worried. So there were two of us in a state of shock now.
‘Will he vomit? If he vomits, it’s serious. I’ll have to watch him all night… Well, no, I’ll ring the vet’, I decided.
It was ten past eight by then. The surgery was closed, but the message on the answering machine provided the emergency phone number of North Shore Veterinary Hospital. When I explained to the nurse what had happened, she suggested bringing him in for a check-up. And that’s what we did. Sasha quickly looked up the address in the street directory and off we drove with Mufti huddled in my lap.
The receptionist took his details and sent us up the stairs one level. Oh my legs! I didn’t have my walking stick because I needed both arms to carry Mufti. My groins were hurting, I wasn’t steady. Sasha with his crutch could hardly manage up those rather steep stairs. But we managed. With plenty of sighs on my part.
‘I’m Alanna,’ the young vet said with a friendly smile when she showed us into the surgery.
‘I’m Irina, and my husband Sasha. Mufti is our neighbour’s dog, we’re minding him.’
‘So you’re not his mum and dad.’
‘No. I’m his aunty… granny, actually. He’s been here before, when his mate Cameron passed away, tick paralysis, Mufti was OK.’ I remember thinking, praying really: Let him be OK now, let him be OK.
‘Do you know how he landed?’
‘No, I didn’t see it. I just heard a thud and a scream.’
The vet gave him a thorough check-up: first feeling his spine and rib cage, turning his neck left and right, then examining his paws, his legs, ears, teeth…
‘His eyes were like that before the fall?’ she asked, looking at his red eyes, the right eye bulging out and sideways, and a growth on the eyelid of the left eye.
‘Yes’, I said. ‘He’s blind in the right eye. But Chrissi is afraid he might not make it through surgery because of his advanced age.’
‘OK. I’ll just check his eyes for possible new scratches. I’ll put some dye in to have a better look.’
She shone the light into each eye…’No new scratches’, she said, and I gave a sigh of relief. Then she put him down on the floor. By that time it was 9 pm, an hour and ten minutes after his free fall onto the brick pavement, two and a half metres from the launching pad. He was standing there alert as if nothing had ever happened to his little body.
‘This dog is made of rubber’, I said. ‘It’s a miracle.’ And I thanked God again.
‘Yeah, he was very lucky’, the vet smiled. ‘I don’t want to give him any medication now and I see no reason to keep him here. You can take him home, but keep an eye on him. That was a nasty shock. He’s been bruised of course, so he might feel some pain in a few hours. If you hear him whimper, take him to the surgery tomorrow, he’ll be given some anti-inflammatories, but if you’re worried during the night, bring him back here. And keep him quiet for a week, no walks except when he needs to pee and poo.’
There wasn’t a single peep out of him all night; I went to check on him twice, he was sleeping like an angel. I, on the other hand, slept a sleep of a tortured mind: his little body, limbs outstretched, flying into the dark void, kept reappearing before my eyes.
The next day he was his normal self, as happy as before his leap of freedom of movement, or perhaps it was Inspector Mufti’s leap of duty. I’ll never know what prompted him to execute this extraordinary feat. One thing I do know, though: from now on I’ll tuck the little Superdog under my arm and carry him past the fatal spot to safer grounds, where he can do his business in peace, away from the danger of his flights of fancy.
Inspector Mufti is resting after a hard day’s work.
All’s well that ends well.
© 2014 Irina Dimitric