Posted on April 01, 2020
My name is Andrew and I am, so I am told, a Scottish Terrier. Andrew is apparently a difficult name for humans to pronounce, so everybody calls me “Andy”. Because Scotties are stubborn, independent and proud with a bad temper I do not like it, but I cannot convince them through growling not to do it.
I have a Scottie friend, Mickey, who stays with me, but only because I tolerate him, because Scotties protect their territory, and if they happen to be on it, also their human parents. My human parents are really strange because every now and then they put us in a car and drive seven dog days to a big dam where the water makes a lot of noise. Scotties cannot swim, so I do not particularly like this place that Mom and Dad call the sea. Fortunately my Dad is old now, so he decided we must sleep half way in a place where the beds are not our own and somebody else brings us all food.
Last year when we stayed at this place there were a lot of other dogs, and I had to clearly lay down the rules and mark my territory and also read all the SMSs they had left. While I was doing this important job my Dad called my Mom and said that my wee-wee does not look right because it was red. So for some reason red wee-wee is a problem and after a short time at the big dam my Dad, who kept crying, said we had to come home – and I was actually very happy.
But then strange things started happening to me. I was taken to various people at different places with ears that are attached to tubes that they use to listen to my chest and who prodded and poked me and who hurt me because they put tubes in me to get blood – and after a while we would go back and Dad would talk to these people and he would start crying. I could not understand what was going on, but it apparently had something to do with a bad thing growing in my waterworks that frightens humans, especially old men like me and Dad. Just when I thought it was all over, Dad and Mom put me in the car and we went to a place where there were many more of the long-eared people.
Dad was strangely happy, because he said these are his people – I think he called them colleagues – from the University of Pretoria and they are special because he said that Onderstepoort has the smartest and most intelligent people in the world and that everybody should take their sick animal children there. I did not really care about that, because I am the alpha male and I am the smartest in the world. When we got there everybody was so friendly – from the place where we go in with a big log that magically opens for us to go in, to the place where Dad talked to Martina who likes to take my Dad’s money to the person that my Dad called “prof” Leisewitz.
From left to right: Me after chemo; Mickey and I. My best friend forever; Mickey wanting to go to Everest
They say that “profs” are smart and intelligent and those there obviously are, but my dad who is also a “prof” is stupid, because I cannot teach him how to walk slowly in the afternoons when I go out to irritate the other dogs and to read all the new SMS messages against the trees – but at least he was smart enough to take me to Onderstepoort.
My Mom and Dad then went home and left me at this strange place – but I had my own bed and my own blanket – and did not have to fight Mickey for a place to sleep. It was not very nice, because I was alone and scared and they also wanted blood – why do they not hunt for their blood? – and they shaved my tummy and used machines that make noises to look at my waterworks. I must say, although I wanted to be home with my Mom and Dad – the people were always friendly with me and I did not have to be driven around to different places to see different people. My Dad calls them “specialists” and many of them prodded and poked me and “tut – tutted” and said strange words but then rubbed my ears and talked softly to me and made me feel so much better.
When my Dad and Mom came to fetch me “prof” Leisewitz talked to my Dad – and although he was very friendly my Dad cried a lot. From then on I had to go back to this friendly place every three weeks and they put a tube in me with funny looking stuff that made me very sick and nauseous. Later Mickey developed the same problem with his waterworks and he had to join me and we are looked after by doctors who are women, like my Mom, and who are so kind to us – my Dad calls them “McClure”, “Celliers” and “Engelbrecht” and they are helped by sisters Angie and Emily because Scotties do not just roll over and play dead.
I did not know that humans could have so many “sisters” like dogs from the same Scottie mum, but I do not care – because they helped the smart people and told the other people who kept writing things down, who they called “students”, not to hurt us or shave too much of our hair. They said I was too sick and that I will not see the big dam again, but it is now more than a year and I still chase the cats and lizards as I always did and I eat my food and drink my medicine, with a growl or two, every night.
Every three weeks when we go back my Dad laughs when he fetches us, because although he is moody and cantankerous like I am, he says the people there are so friendly and it makes him feel good and they give me the best care that they can in the world because they are the most intelligent and caring people in the world. Onderstepoort is now like my second home – and the bonus is there are many people in one place that fuss over me and try to make me healthy again.
I know many animal friends will read this when their human parents are not at home and will wonder why their human parents do not take them to Onderstepoort. Maybe their parents think they are not allowed to go to Onderstepoort or that it is too far or some other excuse. If this does not convince them, then they should come and talk to me and look at my shiny coat and I will, due to the temper of a Scottie – convince them with growl that will make a lion run away. I know we are not allowed to give “high fives” anymore and that we should touch with the elbows. I cannot do that because my elbow is too low, but I will stand on my hind feet and smile at you and say in my little head - “Onderstepoort of niks” (Onderstepoort or nothing), like in “Tuks of niks”. I need to go now, because there is an irritating English bulldog next door that needs his daily lesson on obedience from me.
The Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital provides a unique and highly valued service to the greater veterinary and pet-owning community. It is also a world-class practical training facility for veterinary and veterinary nursing students studying at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.
See more pictures of Andy and Mickey on Facebook
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