I don’t really consider myself a latte sipping city slicker with no real appreciation of rural life. After all, I do live in a trailer on an agistment property. But I just went to take a break from the computer, for some reason getting tired of typing the words ‘debridement’, ‘laparotomies’, ‘fractured acetabulum’ and ‘asystolic’, and began dragging the rubbish bin down the very long driveway. I met my landlord about halfway down, doing the same thing. I didn’t catch up to him until we were on our way back.

I told him I’d been cleaning out the back shed, and that I had somehow put the screen door on the back room, but that it was very probably upside down. He told me that he’d had to sell his cows because there was nothing for them to eat, and that Matilda the horse would be being leased to go somewhere and be a racehorse. Then he mentioned that his old dog had died. Well, I think he used the words ‘put to sleep’. And I commiserated and said how sad it was (while inwardly thinking that it really was sad, but that now Saffy would have no object to do furious cat rowboat paws at).

I asked him what vet he used. He looked at me in such a way, that I was glad I recently went blonde, even if it is a weird-arse shade of footballers wife blonde.
“Vet?” he said. “We don’t go to a vet. Costs too much money. I’ve got a mate, who’s got a [made a gun shape with his hand] and that was it.”

I put my hands up to ward off the image. “Argh! Don’t tell me that stuff!! What was wrong with him, or did he just get way too old?”

“Well, he was just having trouble getting around, and the little kids are used to playing all over him, and I was worried that on of them might lean on him the wrong way, and…”


“I’ll come and have a look at that door tomorrow.”

I thanked him, but said that I’d wedged it in, and it was fine, because I don’t need to open it. I walked down the rest of the driveway to the trailer, musing on shot dogs. I told Saffy, who is probably almost older than the dog, what had happened, but he just wanted dinner, and wouldn’t listen.