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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


So, the situation is this.

We decided, battered by all kinds of external influences, that our animals must have come to have worms by now, so of course we have to de-worm them. Wisely, we wait until The One is back from his visit in the Cape so that I can have an assistant. Or accomplice, depends on which side you're on.

I procure the prescribed tablets and, early one Sunday morning, we bravely decide that this will be official De-worming Day.

We start with Alfred, who has to get a whole tablet (he is rather a sturdy dog). I break the tablet in half to make it easier to feed it to him. The One holds him while I pry open his mouth and shove the half tablet in. He doesn't like it, of course, and violently attempts to spit it out, which gets it stuck in one of the many folds in his mouth. The tablet has started dissolving and he doesn't like the taste. At first, we think that we've succeeded and that the tablet has gone down, until we find the slimy half-dissolved thing in his mouth when starting on the next half tablet. I fetch a syringe and fill it with water to try and wash it down. The water dissolves the tablet a little further and Alfred decides that he really doesn't like the taste. He spits it out successfully this time, adding a little water and some phlegm for good measure.

I decide to crush the tablets, dissolve it in water and spray it down their gullets. All is fair in love and war.

I have no idea why, but the tablets are made as hard and brittle as glass. I had forgotten that we have a mortar and pestle, so I crush the tablets in a plate with a spoon. When you finally manage to shatter the tablet, fragments fly all over the room. I have a suspicion that the manufacturers of these tablets are sadists. Why can't they just make suppositories? I'd rather touch that toothless, clawless end, wash my hands and be done with it than having to nurse wounds and looking like a particularly clumsy heroin addict afterwards.

Finally, Alfred's fragment from before is crushed to a fine, fatty powder. I use my fingers to fill the syringe and overfill it with water. We settle down to business, a fit-throwing Alfred pinned down on The One's lap. I insert the syringe's spout into his angry end. Something has blocked the syringe's spout and I have to force it to try and unblock it. Which empties half the syringe's contents into Alfred's mouth. He chokes and spits out most of the liquid, adding more phlegm, onto The One's shoulder. We continue and the next batch is spat out onto himself. At least 20% settles on his chin, where he can't reach with his tongue. I think we got about 60% down him.

We give him a treat to get rid of the obviously revolting taste. Can't they make them taste like meat instead of mouldy cardboard? Sadists. I tasted a bit of the powder, trust me. Smells like fruity spring sherbet. Tastes like crap.

Crushing the next tablet is a little easier. Geoffrey only has to get half a tablet (skinny little waif). I take the vegetable knife and try to dice it into smaller pieces before crushing it. This makes only small pieces fly over the room, instead of all of them at once. I finish crushing what's left and scoop it onto the spoon with my fingers and the knife. When unplunging the syringe, the spoon slips from my hand and its precious contents dissipates onto the floor. At least we know that that particular spot is de-wormed for future reference.

I crush another half tablet and fling the powder down the barrel of the syringe with the knife's edge like a pro. I learnt my lesson before, so this time I first open the tap to a drizzle and then have more control of the level in the syringe when filling it. We give Geoffrey a bit of a treat first to calm him, which helps. I insert the syringe into his unwilling mouth and find that the spout has blocked again. I take it out and force the plunger down, managing to spill only a little of the contents when it finally pops. We try again. We discover that Geoffrey has a rare, adverse reaction to de-worming tablets in that he produces an immediate and voluminous amount of phlegm. Which he spits across the room with gusto. The next batch dribbles out of the corner of his mouth to join its partner on The One's shoulder. We finish and I shake a twelve inch booger off my finger onto the floor where The One stomps it to death. Geoffrey shakes like a leaf, trying to get the vile taste out of his mouth. We give him a treat to soften the blow and he is the tiniest bit better. In my estimation about 50% had gone down. At least 30% had been soaked into his ear, and the remaining 20% is arranged in fascinating patterns on the couch and on our clothes.

Next comes Elizabeth. I get out the ski mask and armour. I crush her quarter of a tablet and fill the syringe with the powder without a problem, half fill it with water, shake the contents, making sure the spout is unblocked. When filling it with more water, I am so excited that I take my finger off the spout and let half the contents spill down the drain. I hope that Lizz weighs a bit less than we think so that the remaining medication will still be enough to kill those evil bastard worms. We assume the position and start with the therapy. Only to discover that Lizz has a similar reaction to the tablets as Geoffrey; she starts foaming at the mouth. Not fooled by her tactics to confuse the enemy, we soldier on. She embeds her nails into The One's arm and keeps one nail out to embed in my thumb that is conveniently close at hand. We finish the rest of the syringe and let her go. She has a slimy yellow foam beard and keeps her eyes closed. She looks a bit like a hung-over garden gnome. We try giving her a treat, having forgotten the pre-treatment one. She doesn't even sniff it, shakes off her beard and goes to her perch on the rose pot. A grim look on her face, she stares into the distance and contemplates her lot. It will be a long time before she forgives us for suffering such indignity. At the hands of slaves, too, can you imagine?

In the end, I think The One's jersey was most thoroughly de-wormed.


A while later, I find a rather large pile of what appears, in colour and texture, to be extremely saucy and spicy mutton curry, on my side of the bed. No worms, though. The counterstrike has begun. Three sulky pairs of eyes watch our every move, waiting for the perfect moment for vengeance. In future, I will gladly pay vulgar sums of cash to a professional to do the dirty work.

Happy worm-hunting.

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