This morning the phone rang at 8 am from an anxious local owner of an epileptic middle aged male German Shepherd named Jaws. Jaws is an impressive beast, the owner and all too often user of a set of good canine incisors and carnassials. He is therefore aptly named and his visits to the clinic are often an occupational hazard for the Vets and Nurses at Groome PetVets. Jaws' epileptic condition is compounded by the occasional bout of owner amnesia when it comes to giving the vital daily phenobarbital tablet to control Jaws' seizures.
His lady owner had been in hospital herself for two days, communications had missed a link at home in her absense, tablets had run out and the all important run to the vets for phenobarb was forgotten. So it was that I arrived out to find jaws prowling the garden in a state of semi-seizure, drooling and rolling his eyes -werewolf like- around his head as he staggered in the twilight zone between fits. Meanwhile the terrified family watched from the safety of the kitchen window too scared to venture out,knowing that Jaws normal truculence had a history of being exacerbated by epilepsy-induced disorientation in the post-seizure phase.
Armed with a plate of tranquilliser- laced dog food I ventured into the garden. The slight knot in my stomach reinforced my imagining of Richard Dreyfuss in a small boat on still water in the quiet moment before the shark struck, as I paused and met Jaws gaze. I could even hear the threatening two note musical pattern made famous by Spielbergs eponymous 1975 movie.
Luckily in this instance blood stain was avoided. Jaws did not prove to be a shark in wolf's clothing but simply a hungry dog who remembered he had missed breakfast.
Ten minutes after devouring his bowl of medicated food, Jaws was calmly snoozing as I administered his appropriate epilepsy medication.
A relieved family promised vigilance in therapeutic compliance in future!