Richard Ord: A week of fur and feathers

feathered friends
feathered friends
Have your say

ANIMALS have been dominating my life this week. I’ve been reading about them, listening to anecdotes and was even shown round a pet hospital for my troubles.

Honestly, my week has been so full of cute and cuddly animal stories I’ve barely had time to just sit down and eat one of the blighters.

The first story that caught my eye in the Echo this week was the terrible tale of a pigeon cree wiped out in an arson attack. The story revealed that fire-fighters managed, in the words of the owners, “to get four of the birds out alive”.

I had visions of firefighters kicking down doors and running in and out of burning buildings with pigeons over their shoulders.

Surely, they don’t put that much value on the life of a bird?

I was wrong.

Further down in the story, it revealed that only three months ago firefighters, called to a blaze in which several chickens and a goose were killed, managed to revive one of the chickens using an oxygen mask!

What next? Mouth to mouth! Hey, why stop there. Little bird defibrillators may be the future. (“Clear … Bzzschump! … C’mon Polly, stay with us … Clear … Bzzschump! … Stay away from the light birdy … Clear … Bzzschump! … it’s no good, she’s gone … Why (shaking fist at sky, tears streaking face) does He always take the good ones?”)

Thankfully we haven’t taken our love of pets to those ridiculous levels yet, but we’re not far from it.

On a visit to the PDSA pet hospital in Castletown this week, I was told by the staff that they were trained in animal CPR (visions this time of a nurse straddling a stoat, beating down on his chest). Fortunately, they are so good at helping animals they aren’t required to use it too often.

When I was in there, they were operating on a ferret with an abscess the size of a golf ball. Actually, it may have been a golf ball – they don’t half find some weird things in their animals.

There was a dog in with a couple of fish hooks in its mouth and one of the senior vets told me how a perfect Homer Simpson appeared in an x-ray of a dog suffering stomach cramps. He’d swallowed a kid’s toy.

I recounted my day at the pet hospital to a work colleague, who then proceeded to tell me how her dog’s bum was bald (I attract this type of conversation in life). The cure? A medical cream used to clear up a particularly unpleasant sexually transmitted disease.

It reminded me of my wife (pause for effect) who sent me to the chemists to buy Anusol, a popular cream to ease the pain of haemorrhoids. She’d been told it was good, when applied to the face, for clearing up wrinkles under the eyes. Of course, it was muggings here who had to go out and buy it.

And I thought that was embarrassing. At least I didn’t have to ask for a cream used to clear up a sex infection.

“I rub it on the dog’s bum every day,” she told me. “There’s a few hairs coming through already.”

It was almost enough to put me off my chicken sandwich. But then I thought of the efforts of that fireman and his oxygen mask, and ate it all up. I didn’t want his heroism to have gone to waste.