4 February

Sometimes a little thing happens that doesn’t seem all that important but has a massive impact on our lives.

Today that little thing was a piece of cloth our Newfoundland ate. We didn’t know she had eaten it and I have never been so grateful that River has a fondness for socks.

She had been sick several times, not regularly but more often than a passing bug or a spot of overindulgence so I took her to the vet. They could find nothing obviously wrong but suggested she was scanned. She returned this morning for her scan. I got the call from the vet at 11.00. Blood tests were all fine but they had found a huge mass in her lower intestine and it really didn’t look good. We agreed that they would operate and see if it could be removed. If it couldn’t the suggestion was that we had her put down whilst she was under the anaesthetic. To say that was unexpected was somewhat understatement.

At the time I was on a workshop so I kept my mobile phone close and checked regularly. Finally I could bear it no more and rang the vet. River was apparently coming round and the tumour removal had gone well with no signs of metastases.

The reason I am glad she ate that sock…. The tumour was in fact only 3cm in diameter. The huge mass they had seen and had caused her to be sick was a large piece of sock which had caused a blockage in her gut. Had she not eaten the sock, we would not have found the tumour until it was a lot larger and possibly not so easy to remove.

I will keep a much better eye on her eating habits. But it is a lesson in appreciation. Something seems quite inconsequential or even irritating can turn out to be something very useful or helpful. Don’t ignore the little signs in life. They could be pointing you towards something much bigger.