Yesterday, I blogged about my eternally-un-named friend’s desperate search for a slug-slaying hedgehog. I quoted what she said at a garden centre near St Albans. But I recorded more there.
I tend to quote people directly in these blogs. That is because I record them on my iPhone. But I always make sure they know they are being recorded.
However, I made an exception at the garden centre.
I was sitting having tea when my eternally-un-named friend said to me: “I’m just going to ask where you get hedgehogs from,” and off she went to the Information Desk.
After she had gone, I started listening to three people sitting at a neighbouring table. A middle-aged woman was talking. At the point I switched on my iPhone, this is what she was saying:
“He’s obviously shifted his centre of gravity so his leg, to compensate, is now in the middle of his bottom, instead of being on one side. It looks just like it’s a toy dog with two legs at the front and one at the back. And he goes along! It was only a week ago and he’s still wearing a collar because the stitches are all fresh, but he was shooting round the garden.
“The trouble was he hadn’t been able to use his other leg for so long, he was helpless, it was useless. That’s why it had to come off. So I suppose it’s nicer for him now. He’s not dragging this other leg around.
“It’s like he’s a toy on wheels. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see. Like a cat on castors. I suppose, at some time, someone must have amputated a dog’s legs and put wheels on them.
“Talking of which I think Karl, my cat, has got some wasting disease because he can lift his tail a the end of the day about halfway up but, in the morning, it won’t rise. He’s got quite a lot of wasting in his back. I mean, he’s not in pain, but there’s something going on.
“When you stroke him and play with the end of his tail, he’s totally unaware of it until you get about halfway up and then he’s got some sensation again. It’s like the last six inches is dead. If he trails it around, it gets dirty.
“When he walks over the chair, he arches his back a bit. He does look old. He looks tatty, but he’s very bright and bossy-eyed. No, that’s wrong.”
“Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” suggested one of the other people at the table.
At this exact point, my eternally-un-named friend returned from the Information Desk with news of hedgehogs.
But, frankly, I was more interested in hearing more of amputee cats and dogs.
Afterwards, I found there is a London-based website called DogsWheels.com which has pictures of and supplies accessories for – as the name implies – dogs whose legs have partly been replaced by wheels.
Their inspiration was Eddie’s Wheels in Massachusetts, who commendably supply mobile devices for paralysed dogs, cats and sheep. Their slogan is: WE TEST OUR PRODUCTS ON ANIMALS.
Finding this sub-culture was akin to, years ago, stumbling on the Russian Amputee Mail Order Bride site (which had been recommended as mildly eccentric by an article in the Daily Telegraph). Sadly, shortly afterwards, the entirely serious Russian Amputee Mail Order Bride site (it did what it said in the title) was taken over by a porn site and much spam ensued.
It seems unlikely that DogsWheels.com or Eddie’s Wheels will suffer the same fate, but non-one can tell how far human foibles will stretch.
Eddie’s Wheels has a video on YouTube HERE.