I sat in my van for a moment, organising the day in my head. I nestled my bag on the seat, tucked my lunch into a safe corner, and then pressed the sticky note with the list of addresses up on the dash. The clouds hung low, dark, ready to veil the world with gentle pale wreaths of rain. The wet season! Not too hot, not too cold… However, having a rain coat behind the seat was a good idea. I pulled out onto the road, and made my way around castle hill, towards the beach. I turned left and rolled past the parkland on the righthand side, and headed towards Pallarenda. The beach looked grey and windy, Magnetic Island was completely hidden by rain tumbling down. A few spatters started to paint random, crazy patterns on my windscreen. I started the wipers thumping gently from side to side. Suddenly the rain was gushing down, so much I had to slow down.
I pulled up beside the house, and wrestled my way into my raincoat. I gathered everything I needed, then burst out of the door and made a run for the front door- fumbling with the gate, then up the steps to a waiting open door.
“Bit damp out today, isn’t it?” she said with a warm smile.
“Just a tad!” I replied, taking my raincoat off.
“Come in, come in, and take a seat. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“I’d love one, thanks,” I said, as I walked in. I could see the three red setters all crowded at the door, plumed tails wagging, barking at this invader of their home. The cats were sprawled about on the couches. I sat down and settled myself, opening my computer, glancing through the history of all the pets while a gentle clatter of tea making issued forth from the kitchen.
“There you go. Are you ready to let them all in just yet?” she asked.
“let’s have a bit of a chat before we let them in, see what’s going on…”
“Well,” she said, pausing for a moment. “The old man is getting a bit stiff in the joint’s, and I’d like you to check on those lumps again. Then his old friend, she’s in need of some more medication for her dribbly problem – it’s working really well, no more wet smelly spots on the beds. The puppy is full of life and trouble, but I’d like you to give him a quick once over, and then the cats both need their yearly checkup as well. Are you ready to let them in?”
“I’ll brace myself,” I said with a smile, as she opened the sliding door.
An avalanche of flowing red hair, goofy grins, and lashing tails poured through the door. The old fellow stood back and woofed at me – he’d been rescued, had a lot of trauma in his body and mind, and didn’t like anyone not his family touching him. The puppy, on the other hand, did his best to get all of him into my lap. I gently wrestled him off, and after a few minutes it all settled down somewhat. I checked the two more friendly dogs over, and then asked his mum to snaffle the old man of the house. He suffered me to check him over, tail miserably tucked and shaking gently. Then I examined the cats as well. All the while their mum chatted away to me, asking about new alternative and holistic treatments and supplements she’d found on the internet. I had to tell her some were rubbish, but at the same time she’d winkled out some good stuff that I would research more deeply later on.
“Ok!” I said. “I think your old friend has come to the point where he needs to go onto some pain relief to help him with that arhritis – he’s a lot stiffer than last time I saw him, so I’ll give you some meloxicam to give him each day. The lumps don’t seem to be growing, which is a good thing. I have some of the medicine for her incontinence in the van too. And all the rest of them are as fit as a fiddle! I’m just going to pop out and grab those medications while the rain has stopped…”
I came back in, distributed the medications, and made my farewells. Just before I was about to step out the door, it started pouring like you wouldn’t believe.
“Oh dear,” she said, with a giggle. “Looks like you’re going to get a bit damp!”
“I’m a bit used to it, to be honest,” I said, as I darted out the door and sprinted for the van.