A small victory to celebrate

IF the past 11 months have made anything clear, it’s that small victories can be important and should be celebrated.

Toby Chiang
Toby Chiang

So it was with a fist-clenching, guttural ‘yessssssss’ that my wife, Katie, expressed her joy at successfully collecting a sample of dog urine last week. Don’t worry, it was from our dog and she was following the vet’s orders. Harvesting dog pee under any other circumstances would definitely trigger ‘a sit-down chat’.

Her sense of achievement was heightened when another pet owner waiting outside the St Mary’s surgery offered a celebratory ‘woohoo!’ after noticing what she was attempting to do.

Having to secure a sample of dog wee is not something I had anticipated when Pepper, a female cavapoo (or cavoodle if you prefer), arrived two years ago. The process is as tricky as it sounds and initially involved us each trying to stealthily follow the dog round the garden before sliding a Tupperware container beneath her hindquarters when the time came.

Attempt one by Katie was a write-off; the sudden appearance of a plastic tray put Pepper right off her stride. I couldn’t help but sympathise while also wondering whether the whole operation would be easier with a boy dog. Presumably you could just do a really good impression of a lamp post or tree…

The following morning I crunched out over the frosty grass and did my best to look interested in other things while the dog padded about sniffing the garden’s borders. Having watched the drama unfold on the previous night, I had decided to hide the Tupperware in my dressing gown pocket before deploying it at the last-possible second – because we all know how hard it is to stop once you’ve started. Pepper began her pre-pee routine (smelling different parts of the lawn to see which spot to choose) and I slunk closer while pretending to watch the birds overhead. It must have looked like a weird avant-garde dance – no music, me in a robe and woolly hat, Tupperware shoved in a pocket, slowly following a dog on a frozen lawn; a real treat for the neighbours at 7.30am.

Obviously I was unsuccessful too, managing to catch just the merest dribble of liquid – nowhere near enough for the vet.

This left Katie making the last-ditch attempt outside the surgery. Along with a picture of the sample, she sent me a text that read: ‘Yaaaaaas!!! Just before the appointment.’

I replied: ‘Urinedispensable.’

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