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Skidmore's Island: Every Day Has Its Dog

"I am concerned that vets are becoming the Dick Turpins of our day. On degree day they wear a black mask with their gowns and mortar boards. Compared to Vets the Great Train Robbers were a Hospital Saturday Fund,'' says Ian Skidmore whose dog Taz is being treated for a broken leg.

It was a funny sort of birthday. Celia painfully pulled a muscle either leaning backwards over a basin at the hairdresser or heavy duty gardening. The dog broke his leg in several places for no apparent reason but perversity. Minimal fee for physiotherapy for the Head Ferret. The dog?

We spent the day ferrying him between vets and specialist clinic. Our vet had him in for two days to take X-rays; said we had three options euthanasia, amputation or send to a specialist vet. For that, and little else, he charged us £400. The specialist was in Newmarket and deals with costly racehorses. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the clinic had four receptionists and a glossy brochure on the desk in its palatial premises.

Estimated bill £2,500 to £3,500, plus VAT, with the possibility of additional fees. I have to say from the point of view of the dog it is a bargain. Chicken lightly broiled and a phone call three times a day to tell us how he is enjoying himself.

His glance has become so imperious I am practising coming to heel on his whistle and it is a good job we take the Independent. I cannot see him fetching the Daily Mirror and its like. I wouldn't be surprised to hear he was getting up a party for Ascot. I will be taking part time work to pay his fees. Not that I am complaining. I remember what my chum lifeboat cox Dick Evans said to the man he rescued from a watery grave. The man asked what he owed. Dick explained there was no charge because the RNLI was a voluntary service. The man insisted. “Very well,” said Dick, “pay me what you would have given me two minutes before I pulled you out of the water.”

When I heard Taz howling with pain I would have given half my pitiful kingdom, and the leg was so badly smashed it was a long and complex operation.

Having said that, I am concerned that vets are becoming the Dick Turpins of our day. On degree day they wear a black mask with their gowns and mortar boards. Compared to Vets the Great Train Robbers were a Hospital Saturday Fund.

As I write, Taz is convalescing with his new mates, aristocratic racehorses, and nibbling caviare blinis, washed down with Louis Roederer Crystal Brut. One of the legions of nurses who are there to do his bidding tells us he will have permanent limp.

He always was a master of the martyr's glance and the eloquent whimper. Now he is going to be unbearable limping like a latter day Long John Silver. But we cannot wait for tea time to-day to resume our roles as hand maidens.

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Do visit Ian's Web site http://skidmoresisland.blogspot.com/

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