Our Nurse

Wow, that was dramatic. Stomach flu for all of us. The only one in our house not to get it this week is Fin. She lay on our legs instead. I’ve never seen her looking so concerned. Or maybe she didn’t feel so well either. Hard to tell.

This wouldn’t be surprising since Fin is usually the puker in the house. It takes a lot for me to hurl. Things have to bad pain-wise to stick my head in the toilet. Fin, on the other hand will eject the comings and goings of her gut seemingly quite happily.

So, no word from the dog as she lies on my legs except for staring brown eyes and a well-timed yawn. She could be asking me for a rice bone. I wish she could talk. There’s always this polite dance between us- like permanently hanging out with someone from another country. The idea of learning the language has been long given up, and we’re left with amiable silence. Drawn closer by the commonality of bodily function. In this vein, Fin hovers by the bathroom every time it’s someone’s turn to puke.

‘Not just me,’ I swear she was thinking.

‘Yeah Fin, but your puke is usually bright yellow with bits of sticks in it.’

‘Well, yours is full of hazelnuts and stinks like norovirus. I mean who eats hazelnuts and then pukes?’

She had a point. If only in my head. She might not talk back when you argue, but animal silence is a double-edged sword. I’d love to have a good old chat with her. I wonder what her conversation would be. There’d be a lot about walking in it. And how fun it is to chase rabbits. She’d have a few opinions about Quest too.

‘Please don’t make me go back on the boat – crossing the Atlantic was not a good look for me. And remember that time I fell overboard?

‘Yes Fin, we remember.’

I can’t help thinking that she’d also have a lot to say about food. Even though dried-up meat granola is her standard chow. And rice bones.

Plus, I could finally reason with her about being nice to small, barking dogs. ‘Don’t take it so personally Fin! Save it for the big boys.’

‘No excuse. They shouldn’t be rude.’

‘But why do you have to be the one to teach them that lesson?’’

‘Please! Have you not seen me? Now, stop yabbering and tell me – do you have a cut that needs licking?’

This is another of Fin’s tricks. She is an obsessive cut-licker. Scratches, mozzie bites, anything inflamed and sore. She sniffs it out and goes to town on your skin. To be honest, I’m not a hundred percent comfortable with it. This is the same creature who barfs yellow liquid and sticks. But apparently (I could be wrong and I don’t want to google it in case I am wrong), dogs have some of the strongest stomach acid. As they handle the most, well, interesting objects in their mouths, they have to be able to break it down in their digestive system. And this has the upshot of making their saliva very clean.

Jack said the taxi driver in Egypt told him and Lu that there used to be a town in Egypt where sick people would go to have their wounds licked by dogs. And dogs were especially loved in Ancient Egypt (this bit I did google). Their god-Jackal Anubis guided dead people to the Truth Hall. Plus, they had big funeral ceremonies for their domesticated dogs. Cute or what?

‘Fin, stop licking Delph’s puke up! I’m getting a cloth.’

Those chocolate eyes. And the whites of them like truth-telling saucers. ‘Chillax, lady. Let me do my work.’


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