I am a man, in case people out there don’t realise it. However, my goatee beard should really give it away. Being a man allows me to do several things, not at the same time, as that would be too much. I am allowed to own the remote control and give special dispensation for my fiancée to flick the channel. I can play championship manager 4 on the computer for hours, even though I promised that I would only be an hour or two and most of all, when I am poorly and lay on my bed, I can ring that little bell and say in a weak, poorly sounding voice “can you get me a”, pause for coughing fit, “double cheeseburger with fries please”. I can convalesce properly as most men can do. Women on the other hand work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, or so my mum says. They say that a dog is a man’s best friend and I agree. If your dog has been ill or had an operation of some kind, you will have to give him some special care and attention. The kind of attention that a poorly man in bed with a really heavy cold clambers for. Dogs need love and affection the majority of the time anyway, but while he is convalescing he will need extra care and attention. You will probably have to give him medicine, keep an eye on any surgical wound and change bandages. Nutrition and feeding are also important. Your extra attention will help him to recover quickly. The recovery process of a dog is a lot quicker that a human’s and a lot quicker than a male human. However that doesn’t mean that you can leave them to recover alone. Your dog may need to eat special food and at the start you may have to coax him to eat. But once the process begins, you will find that the dog heals a lot quicker than us humans. Your dog needs plenty of sleep, rest and peace. However, this is nothing to worry about, as this is a natural reaction to illness or surgery. It means that your dog is conserving energy while his tissues heal and his body gets back to normal. Good nutrition is especially important for a convalescing dog as if he doesn’t eat properly at the beginning of the healing process, his wounds may not heal right away and he is more likely to get an infection. Supplying the right amount of high quality nutrients will prevent your dog’s body from using its own important tissues as a source of energy. All dogs should eat a nutritionally balanced diet, convalescing or not, but when a dog is in the convalescing stage he will need all the essential proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in the correct proportion. The balance of what is required will have probably changed and his normal diet may not provide the correct balance. The correct balancing of the nutrients required allows the convalescing period of a dog to be quite quick. It’s a common fact that dogs are unbelievably quick heelers and don’t spend much time in their sick beds. While this may be true, it’s down to the fact that we are normally giving them the correct medical attention. While he is recovering, a dog may have a poor appetite and you may be required to encourage him to eat. Your vet will probably prescribe a special diet that covers all of the dietary needs of your dog. A close eye needs to be kept on your dog while he is convalescing. Stroke and groom him gently, and keep a look out for any changes in his coat or skin. If he has had surgery check to see if this area has any redness or discharge and tell your vet, straight away, if you notice anything that appears unusual. Always remember to give the full course of any medicines that your vet prescribes, even though your dog seems better. Stopping the medication may cause your dog to get worse and could potentially make future treatments somewhat difficult. Your vet will always be on hand to offer any advice that you may require. This is what they are paid for, they can show you how to give the medicine and how to change bandages, splints and casts. When I have a tooth problem I consult my dentist. The same thing should apply to you if you think that your dog is suffering during his convalescing period. RING THE VET. They are there to serve a purpose – to look after poorly animals. Use their skills, use their knowledge and utilise their advice. As mentioned before, dogs are unbelievably fast healers, that is if, of course, given the initial care and attention from the start of the process. A dog recovering from pretty severe injuries can be an amazing sight to behold. Hold on, surely a man can recover from his injuries quicker than a dog? I went on a mission, the mission to find, to prove one way or another that us men were able to recuperate better than the species we called canine. My research led me to this remarkable but true incident. Thieves, in Suffolk targeted a kennel that was a regular haunt for top champion dogs. Their aim was to steal a bitch to breed. They stole two dogs and half a mile up the road they realised that they had a dog and a bitch. Obviously not wanting the male as they intended to use the female to breed, they threw him out of a moving vehicle, where he fell into a ditch and heartlessly drove away. The dog lay in the ditch for four days solid and was not able to move. A postman, on a bike, eventually spotted him and knowing of a recent dog theft he informed the kennels. The kennel staff went to collect the dog and took him to the vets, where the vet confirmed that he had broken both his front legs. Unfortunately, one of the legs was beyond repair and one his front legs had to be amputated. Twelve hours later, that’s right, twelve hours later, and obviously a leg shorter he was back in his kennel, where he was wagging his tail, eating his food like a pig and generally getting on with life as if nothing had ever happened. Bearing in mind that this poor dog had lay in a ditch for four days, with two of his legs broken, I think that this is a remarkable recovery. I can assure you that this story is true. Unfortunately, I cannot find a male volunteer to go through the same ordeal, get kidnapped, thrown out of a moving car, fall into a ditch, lay there for four days with two broken legs, finally get found and taking to hospital where they remove one of your legs. Then, twelve hours later you are ambulanced back to your home where you then go about your business as normal. I think that I, personally, would have wept like a baby upon being kidnapped, offered them my switch debit card, and shouting out my pin number as I was flung from the car. Taking things seriously though, with the injuries sustained I would probably have given up on the second or third day and gone to meet my maker in the sky, if not sooner. Of course, it is all hypothetical, but that story makes you think how and why dogs deal with illness and injury the way that they do, and how their minds work. Obviously, emotion plays a part in the whole process, man has evolved to be emotional and I guess that means that we experience and feel pain on a greater level. It is obviously a different feeling for a canine to be seriously injured or seriously ill, they will have some emotional feelings but I don’t think that they can comprehend what has happened to them. Their ultimate goal is to get better so that they can be on their paws in no time. Worry is another emotion that we are graciously blessed with. A man terminally ill from cancer is bound to show worry and question “why me”. When a dog is terminally ill from cancer it is us that seems to do the worrying still, and the dog seems to carry on as normal. You sometimes wish that a dog could talk and it could tell you how it was feeling, or it could ask for a cuddle and a hug. We tend to think that a dog has the same emotions as us, but it is simply not the case. Their lesser emotions have made them stronger and, maybe, even more resilient than us.