Our dog was traumatised by a twig | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

I have a very poor track record when it comes to animal husbandry –whatever that really means.

By Alun Newman
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 9:23 am
Alun's dog was traumatised and ended up at the vet. Picture: Shutterstock
Alun's dog was traumatised and ended up at the vet. Picture: Shutterstock

I’m very kind to animals. I think animals should be respected and treasured, yet often I seem to find myself at the wrong end of criticism when it comes to their care.

We have had a selection of pets in the past until I introduced a complete and final family ban.

This was after I became aware that children cannot be trusted.

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This is in no way a criticism of children. In fact, not being trusted is one of the best and most important parts of allowing a child to be a child.

We don’t trust children to drive cars; vote; make decisions within central government about nuclear power; and we decide when they’re old enough to buy certain products.

We don’t trust them to make healthy food choices, decide when it’s right to get an education and we don’t give them overall responsibility for the mortgage.

Not trusting children is key for a child because what they say can turn and change at any moment.

It means they can experiment with life and it’s not super serious.

It also means one minute they’re promising the world: ‘I’ll walk the dog, clean the rabbit, change the water in the fish tank’.

The next moment it’s not their turn, not even their pet and they never wanted it in the first place.

However, there are occasions when adults get by-passed from the decision world too.

We currently have a dog and I have been cut out from all dog-related decision-making.

I voiced that our dog is the most spoiled dog in the UK and I have subsequently been left out in the cold (amongst other transgressions).

It stems from the early days when the family was worried that our dog was unhappy when he was just a puppy.

How this conclusion was reached is beyond me.

But nevertheless and much to my protesting, he was taken to the vets to be assessed.

The vet made the assessment and several hundred pounds later, the vet declared the dog was, in fact, happy.

Since then, and due to my protests, I have been barred from decision-making. It was alleged that I didn’t care and that was six years ago.

Recently I returned from the radio station and there was no dog to be found in the house.

I didn’t ask because I instantly knew that the vet must be involved which inevitably means money, usually just under the insurance excess.

I didn’t enquire as I knew I’d get short shrift.

I already had an inkling as he’d had a weepy eye and I had diagnosed hayfever with the treatment plan of ‘it will get better’ or a homemade saline solution.

I suggested this in my head for safety reasons.

Surprisingly though the vet called. I feigned interest and concern with the vet on the phone. Until the vet started to explain that they believed the eye was in fact weeping and it was caused by trauma.

The reason for this I still don’t understand.

Although it might have been due to last week being Mental Health Awareness Week I thought the vet was suggesting that our dog had mental trauma and it was causing his eyes to weep.

Even more extraordinarily, I asked the vet how they knew it was trauma and what on earth they ask a dog to establish poor mental health.

After a period of quiet and several intakes of breath, the vet said ‘trauma, as in physical trauma’.

He said it was most probably a stick or twig that hit our dog's eye.

Ah! Got it.

I passed the phone to my cross-looking wife who said nothing, yet communicated so much.

I returned to the far more relaxing place of the naughty step.


I’m no fashion trendsetter – far from it, in fact.

I’ve never really been able to branch away from dark blue or black. They seem like colours of safety.

On occasion, I stray to a green but it can cause comments and fashion interaction which I’m not comfortable with.

Shoes are always in boot form and are always a shade of brown.

I work with people who are far from that. They can look cool and on-trend. They seem to have confidence and an ability to change their style with the wind and it looks great.

They are the work-based Trinny and Susannah (wherever they are now, I’m sure they look good).

In a moment of belief, I recently decided to buy a ‘gillet’ otherwise known as a ‘bodywarmer’. It was a bold move and was a fabric that had an almost sheep’s wool texture. It had a zip. It was in grey.

It was a move towards a more fashionable trendy version of myself. I was taking a risk and putting myself out there.

It received a good reception from the family and I was ready for the workplace reveal.

Sadly and evoking a million self-doubting questions, my dad, of retirement age, arrived at the weekend. He was wearing an identical item, purchased from the same chain store. A store I didn’t even know he went in or was allowed to go in.

I said nothing but this was a crushing blow. Not only can I never wear this item, but it must be gifted at the earliest opportunity.

Far more worrying than that, is the unstoppable reality, that I am becoming my parents.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron.

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