Thursday 16 August 2018

My Pet: Brave Phoebe, our very own film star

Phoebe the Golden Labrador
Phoebe the Golden Labrador

Vanessa Bradbury

Phoebe is a 10-year-old Golden Labrador. She was born with a deformed leg and has had numerous operations to help her walk, which is difficult for her at times.

Unlike most humans, she has no capacity for self-pity. Phoebe appreciates a soft field or a beach to walk on but especially loves to swim. In the water she is as good as any.

She used to be the greeter at the vet's practice, rushing out from behind the desk to slobber over anyone or anything she could reach. She was left there because her original owners could not cope with her handicap.

When we first met her she had an external fixator bolted to her modified leg which had to be regularly adjusted.

The theory was that this would elongate her bones. It was no doubt painful because she was prescribed large doses of pain relief. Then she came to live with us. When Phoebe was introduced to the dog of the house, her fixator became fixed to him. During their first meeting their enthusiasm for play in the garden caused the nuts and bolts of it all to become caught in his collar. She was yelping as he tried to free himself while the humans flapped and panicked in their attempts to help.

Then came her first walk without the contraption which saw her running giant circles on a beach. The fixator and the painkillers are long gone but arthritis has developed and is now here to stay. But she does love her walks - and they have to be hers for she will not move unless she approves of the route and will not return if her surroundings are too interesting. And when it appears she has walked too far she may lay down and stare at you or then hobble along in some exaggerated way but then sprint after a rabbit or charge off and shoulder barge another dog being walked nearby.

A Labrador's universe is subject to the first law of food and just like any other dog Phoebe loves dinner time. But to add insult to her injuries she developed an allergy to meat!

Eating meat makes her fur fall out in clumps, leaving patches of pink oily skin that emit a quite putrid smell. A mystery at first, it was diagnosed after blood tests. Food is now limited to fish and fish biscuits.

But Phoebe is looking well. Have a look for yourself. She has recently completed filming her part in a forthcoming movie called In Laws and Outlaws. When you see it you'll see the bravest dog we know.

Name: Phoebe

Finest hour: Supporting actress in 'In Laws and Outlaws'

Likes: Food and swimming

Dislikes: Harps (she even refused to walk past one being played in the street at the Sligo Fleadh)

Vanessa Bradbury, Dunmanway, West Cork

Sunday Independent

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