In late spring we decided to have Nellie and Anna, the female Border Collies, spade. The veterinary surgeon who did the job had undertaken every operation that, over the years, needed doing such as a replacement knee-joint for Spotty and operations on Minnie and Barty, the Maremanni, as they got older and had health problems.
For quite some time Fritzy, the runt of Nellie's litter of collies, had evinced a limp but recently he was obviously in pain so we took him along to the veterinary surgery as well.
When the x-rays were done the vet came to me and said that Fritzy had a hip displacement and the ball at the top of his leg had become arthritic. I looked at the x-ray and, while being completely ignorant of medical matters, dog or human, I could clearly see (even without glasses!) that the ball-joint of one leg really was completely out of order.
'So what does this mean?' I asked
'An operation' was the reply
'What kind of operation'
'He's a young dog. The advisable operation would be to replace the arthritic joint with a prosthetic one'
I knew what was coming
'How much will it cost?'
In that moment the dilemma we faced opened like a chasm that I felt sure we were going to fall into. In essence, €3,000 or put the dog down (sooner or later depending on the effectiveness of other palliative therapies). Hmmm. It was all too hard so I put the thing away for another day and brought Fritz home.
Luca didn't have anything to say either when I recounted the situation regarding the dog. We didn't even mention it for some days. Neither of us felt able to make the decision that would bind the other. In my mind, I asked myself if a dog was worth €3,000. I knew of course, that if we put him down he would not suffer and would not know. But I also knew that Fritzy likes life, he is a friendly and affectionate dog and he makes the most of his life at La Faula. It seemed a big thing to eliminate a life to stop suffering when the expenditure of €3,000 would keep the life and abolish the suffering.
But the decision was too great to be taken and it would have to emerge itself from the sum total of all the elements, known and unknown, at play. Over time, I came to the conclusion that we should have Fritz operated upon. I felt that he was a member of the Faula team, albeit a canine one, and that when a team member is in difficulty the rest, or al least those that can, have to pull together to help. One can’t just ditch a team-member because it is inconvenient. Looked at this way the cost, while still shocking, was not the central issue. At issue was the saving of the life of one of the Faula who had faithfully played his part.
However, even having come to this decision, I didn’t mention it to Luca as I felt that both of us had to arrive at our own answer individually and in our own time. So on the sunny afternoon that Luca said to me ’call the vet and book Fritz in for the operation’ I felt that we had taken the right path for us (even though that sum of money would buy two brand-new stainless steel wine-tanks that I hanker after!).
Now we have a little break between the spring holiday season (Easter, Pentecost and The Ascension) and the summer holidays. The season so far has gone well and been pleasurable. The guests have been nice and we have seen the return of old friends which is gratifying and enjoyable. The Volunteer from May has been Eleanor, from Scotland, who came to La Faula following studies in France for a year. She has been a great addition to the team and good company. Emily, from San Francisco in the United States has been here for a month on a cooking and language course and having her in the Agriturismo has certainly brought an American (or Californian?) perspective to things!
We are rather enjoying running the Agriturismo without any prospective plans or works in the offing. Everything is pretty much as we want it and, given how hard we work in the summer, it would be too much to say that we are lying back and enjoying it but certainly the whole process is more relaxing with everything (more or less) under control!
The weather has been nice, the Golf Club inauguration went-off well, we paid to have a drone video La Faula and were happy with the results (this video will be loaded on the Home Page in the near future). One doesn’t want to risk fate but all is well - at least now - in paradise!!