Monday, May 26, 2014

Mr Ben

Was off visiting the mum and dad this weekend again.

My dad is a lifelong supporter of the Millers, aka Rotherham United Football Club. While I do follow a lot of sport, football isn't one of them. It's a fun game when played among mates but at the professional level, it takes on all the worst aspects possible in sport. There's ineptness, thuggishness and blatant cheating. And it's all excused because of the tribalism involved in supporting the team. We've even seen that this week with the sexist trash leading the Football Association being excused from the horrible things he's been saying behind closed doors.


It's Rotherham. And a Wembley trip. And my dad asking if I want to go. Second thoughts ? Hell no.

What was it ? The game was the play off for the League One. That's the third tier of football here. Whoever won would be promoted to the Championship, which is the tier below the top tier.

It was a pretty decent game. Rotherham were doing a great job of controlling it but weren't doing much in terms of turning that control into threats for goals. Leyton Orient were being very physical with the referee showing a blind eye to their tough tackling. He also turned a blind eye to a blatant penalty that Rotherham should have been awarded in the opening minute. Meh.

We went down 2-0 in the first half but came out fighting in the second to draw level. The match then went to penalties and everyone was biting their nails. Rotherham win ! Hurrah.

But I don't really want to talk football that much. I do want to talk about this fella :
That's Ben the Staffy.

It's always good to see the old dog when I go to the parents place. He's getting on a bit and starting to struggle but he's still the same : affectionate, loyal, loving puppy he's always been. He's in great condition in general now too. He's been on a bit of a diet and that coat of his is shining and the muscles are well defined. He has been a bit of a barrel in the past but he's back to about the right shape for him.

He's a typical Staffy in temperament. They're very gentle dogs. When confronted with a naughty child who was taunting him and Murph with food (we were in a pub beer garden and the child was running loose), Ben comes back to his people.

But when treated right, he'll slurp anyone. It's great to have a Staffy Dog type welcome when you get there and there's genuine Unhappy Pooch moping when he knows you're going away for a bit again. He loves his people.

I don't think he likes Murph (Sister's dog) that much. Murph's very definitely just at puppy mentality and that gets very wearing on Ben. But at the same time, Ben doesn't want to be left out of play, even though his body isn't letting him keep up. There's a bit of "Oh Dear Bone, that obnoxious other dog will be here too soon" neurosis coming in with poor old Ben.

Old ? You can probably tell from that grey muzzle that Ben's getting on a bit. We think he's thirteen years old now, which is doing pretty well for a Staffy. He's on heart pills, plus his natural paw is bending in even more now. He's really struggling there :

Right paw - broken by car accident before we had him. Sister looked after him while he recovered. This paw mended straight and is still in great condition.
Left paw - is subject to a genetic defect where the paw turns in towards the right paw. It puts a lot of stress on the lower joint, more stress than poor Ben can take at times. He can still put a fair bit of weight on it but I doubt whether he'd be running on it given choice.

That's where Murph can be a strain for him, because Ben will want the agility to avoid him which isn't there due to the bad left paw. Sadly, the only way to fix it would be to surgically break it and have it mend properly. But - would you want to inflict that on a thirteen year old dog ? It's that conflict between :

Consistent lower level pain through inaction
Acute high level pain through action

You know that the surgical option would relieve the pain in the long term but you don't want to inflict that pain on a beloved member of the family.

And such a character too. Here's the last pic :
There's never a more adoring or desperate sight than a dog awaiting his dinner. I think there's a little limp on here too from that paw, conflicting with the urge to BOUNCE in anticipation of his munchies.

And there's Ben ! I wanted to share a bit about Ben. We don't know how long he has last. Between his paw and his heart, we don't know how long he's got left. But, he'll be missed. He's a typical Staffy :


And a true friend.

No comments:

Post a Comment

So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.