‘What have I become?’
I ask myself this quite regularly. I often stand back and look at my life from a different angle – a bit like at art school, when you’re told to see your drawing or painting through different eyes by bending over and peering at it upside down through spread legs…we used to laugh at each other doing this….and now I laugh at myself…sometimes….when I see the funny side of it….sometimes I can’t find one…..
Thumps was growing up and we we couldn’t let him go out into the wild, I knew the day would come when we would have to take him to the vet to be neutered. The vet, muffling a laugh because to tell you the truth, every French person ranging from the gardener, the post-lady, the laundryman and, yes, the vet, all wonder if we are simply waiting for him to grow up before we eat him. So for me to seek advice from the vet, well that just added to the confused mirth at the veterinary clinic. I had very precise instruction,
‘It is very important to wait for his testicles to drop, we cannot perform the operation if we cannot see the testicles!’
This all said in very earnest French mad me want to laugh but I got the point and waited for the illusive testicles. What made it worse was the fact that hares have a habit of hiding their testicles, tucking them up if they don’t want you to know they’re there or they think you’ll hurt them so trying to find said testicles was proving to be quite a challenge. All we knew was that they should make their appearance between the age of three to four months so the grand moment was immanent. You see? I ask myself while I wait…’What have I become?’
In the meantime, Ted had to go to the same vet and have his other knee operated on and as he was being checked out – we took Tass to have the once over as well and discovered her twelve year old teeth need a good clean and possibly one needs to be taken out. The list of veterinary visits and procedures seemed to be piling up.
We took our minds off all the waiting and visits by picking cherries and bottling them in brandy and Triple Sec as well as stuffing more into my mouth while climbing from branch to branch in the tree than putting them into the basket. The Dear One, in between holding the stepladder and picking from lower down asked me if \i was actually putting them in the basket to which I answered with a muffled mouth-stuffed-full-of-cherries ‘yes’ and only told me I was a liar after a group of quests who were staying at the chateau had walked over, had a chat, tasted a few cherries and went on their way.
With a smirk on his face he said after they had gone..
‘You’re such a liar! You should see your face! I bet a lot of cherries missed the basket because your face is covered in them!’
Well….’What have I become?’
But as I mentioned, Thumps was growing up and in doing so, started to pee on me and everything I touched. He would follow me like a dog until I made his milk, jump on to my lap, finish the milk, get a cuddle and pee all over my lap. He would sniff on the couch and pee on the side where I sat and he was becoming a little more aggressive, digging on me which was accompanied by loud grunts and nips. He was up on his hind legs leaning on my arm when we saw them…the testicles had descended!
I emailed the vet an booked him in. for the following week….and then I started to stress. Poor little guy, will he be ok, are we doing the right thing but at the end of the day, we had to think of his safety. Life with us and the dogs is the only life he’s known and from a safety point of view, we could never release him to find a lady-hare…so I had to be content with the idea that this was probably the kindest thing to do for him.
The vet told me to stay and him while the sedative kicked in and I watched this beautiful, regal creature slowly go to sleep in my arms…I wanted to cry (and it wouldn’t have been the first time the vet had to hand me tissues -she’s very understanding).
Two hours later and a bit wobbly, he was home and asleep in his downstairs bed |(yes, he has an upstairs bed as well…) under the stairs. The next day, he was twirling in usual ballerina twirls and leaps around the garden. And joy of joys, he hasn’t pee’d on me or any other item of clothing or piece of furniture again.
It was a rainy afternoon and the Beloved was watching sports on the TV while I was studying for an acupressure course. We were all sitting on the couch, Tass on the back cushions staring out of the window, the Beloved, Ted (surrounded by his toys that he brings one by one from upstairs), me and Thumps was next to me on the floor in his bed.
‘Feel like a glass of wine?’ the Dear One asked while rummaging around under Ted for the TV remote.
‘Sounds perfect!’ says me not looking up from my pc.
‘Aah there it is’, he says looking at me as I lift my eyes to see him pointing a giant plastic squeaky-toy carrot at the television. He followed my eyes wondering where the buttons were. There were no words really. I was wheezing I was laughing so much and he, well, he went to get the much needed bottle of wine. What have we become?
And then there is bedtime.
Thumps suddenly decided that he was no longer going to be left downstairs on his own so as we got the dogs together and took them out for a last visit to the grass, he shot upstairs and sat in Tass’s bed looking highly delighted with himself. Fine. That meant I had to carry up the kitty litter tray of straw for him and some dandelions and wheat stalks because he is, after all, fairly nocturnal. His bed came up as well and all were placed in a line, Tass, Ted, Thumps, tray, water. Whenever we switch out the lights at bedtime, the dogs get a baby carrot (sounds weird but they love them). Thumps doesn’t eat carrots so he had to get a slice of apple. They all sat in their beds waiting. It was surreal. In the dark, we lay there listening to crunching sounds of apple and carrot. we were woken at dawn with Thumper ‘binkying’ from bed to bed, under the bed, around the bed, on top of us, flipping sideways, swirling up in the air, using us as a trampoline and in general – having the best morning….and asking for breakfast.
I had already thought of a cunning plan. I had a bag of grass, dandelions, apple and wheat packed the nice before. All I had to do was fumble around in the semi-gloom, pour everything into his box and we dozed once more to the sound of crunching until the alarm went off and Thumps shot under the bed scattering grass and wheat all over the bedroom.
I think I know what we’ve become….privileged, amused, honoured…happy.