After his week's elope with the Siberian beauty, Sputnik returned home thinner, dirty, and scarred. He had been staying at Cuz's Supermarket at the end of the road, but although we had tried several times to bring him back, he always found a way to return to his lady, the Ice Queen – so we let them be in their love nest between the gas bottles and the water tanks.
The Acolyte's blood had come off, but he still had some oil stains on his coat. “You should see the back of the supermarket,” Sophia said. “It's disgusting. No wonder he's filthy!” He had a bare patch on his hip, his ears had been bitten, and he had a cough.
“Dissolute living!” I told him as I poured his breakfast kibble. “There's always a price.”
But when Sophia noticed a trail of bright red blood under his tail after yesterday's walk, I decided that the time had come to visit the vet.
“Which vet do you use?” is a constant topic among Paphos pet owners. After much trial and error, I have cast my lot with Paphiakos who also run the largest animal welfare in the district. They are open 0700-1900 every day of the year (although clinic hours are shorter), have bi-lingual staff, clean premises, a tea-room, and plenty of love to go around. Also, their prices are well within the reasonable range.
We arrived at 8.40 and spent the twenty minute wait in the tea room with two enormous cats, two nescafes, and thick slices of banana nut loaf. Overwhelmed by his ride in the back of the Land Rover (“Mum, do you think that Sputnik hates cars so much because he associates them with having been abandoned on the road, probably from a car, and he thinks that we're taking him somewhere to dump him?”), Sputnik didn't know what to do with himself: he had to smell everything at once, to see everything, to investigate the cats, the cake, the outdoors.
The vet gave him a thorough examination, and pronounced him 'healthy, but a bit run down' when we told her of his escapades. “He's been very stressed, very excited,” she said. “He didn't eat well while he was away, and his immune system suffered.” (Why does that remind me of another adolescent male that I know?) “That's why he has an overgrowth of skin parasites that are normally present but controlled.”
“I don't want to put him on anti-biotics for his cough,” she continued, as his lungs are clear of fluid. “But if you notice that it gets worse, that he stops eating, or see more blood, bring him in again.” She gave me a worming tablet for him, and instructions for a thorough bath.
On the trip back he looked out of the window with interest rather than angst, and sprawled on the floor of the back while I nipped into Carrefour to see if I could find any gloves for the Littles (I did – the last two pairs of a size that will fit). When we got home, Sophia bathed him – to his disgust – and he's now sleeping in the sunshine.
The bill – for half an hour appointment with a full examination, two diagnostic tests (fungus and parasites), and a worm pill? Forty-six Euros. Seemed reasonable to me.