We weren’t around, but Hamlet, the dog that attacked Margaret and killed Nero, got loose again. Neighbours found him at their gate snarling at their dogs and nearby cats.


The next day, we were due at the Vet. Ordinarily, Spice would be spayed after her first season, but given the number of uncontrolled dogs in Cyprus, a bitch in season in the garden would be asking for trouble. Tempting though it is to buy a rifle, let Spice run free in the garden and wait for Hamlet to show up, the grown up thing to do is neuter Spice.

Scent Memory

Entering the “business-end” of the vet’s surgery, we were both instantly transported back to the last days of Nero. Collecting Spice, a plastic cone around her collar, her eyes unfocused by the anaesthesia was difficult. The most striking flashbacks were the smells. The mix of animals and antiseptic is, I discover, seared into my memory.


Spice, now 5 months old, is oblivious to these references. All she knows is that she was at the vet, then woke up, feeling fuzzy, with an itchy scar and a plastic cone preventing her getting to it. She has every right to look askance at us.

Of course, she doesn’t. As she does with every situation, she attempts to overcome it with full pelt sprinting, jumping and licking. However hard we try to keep her calm and relaxed, she is a puppy. As I type, 60 hours or so after we collected her, Spice considers herself cured. If only she could convince us to remove the awkward cone, then she could get back to jumping up on the couch, sprinting round the garden and as a bonus, she would quickly remove the troublesome stitches. That she can’t convince us, frustrates her. When frustrated, Spice likes to let us know. Day and night.

She’s quite a handful.


Both Margaret and I are bags of nerves. Margaret’s heart stops every time Spice tries to stand on her back legs, or spins around, hoping that velocity alone will somehow dislodge the cone.

I’m not sure we will ever be over Nero’s end, but what I learned this week, is that the trauma is still raw.

However, I can’t help but admire Spice’s zest for life and enthusiasm. Despite being in pain, she wags her tail and wants to play. More flashbacks to Nero.