This is Doody. She and her brother Andy have recently moved in with us at Cil Farm, because their boss is not well. That's why we are visiting the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital so much at the moment. The reason Doody is showing a bit of bare leg is that she's recently undergone an operation.
The vet's bill came as a huge shock to me. As a farmer, I'm used to taking the value of an animal into account before sanctioning treatment by a vet. If the estimate is over 75% of the animal's worth, better to put it down. I know its seems callous, but that's how I was brought up to think. But how do you put a value on a cat. Anyway, at least one veterinary surgery has just received the sort of fiscal stimulus that Gordon Brown keeps banging on about..
I was bemoaning the fearsomeness of this financial blow to a friend of mine this week, who happens to be a retired vet. He recalled once treating a cat for a local farmer with a substantial acreage (which had been sneaked into the surgery by his wife) and being ferociously abused about the size of the bill. The conversation went something like this;
Farmer - How the b***** h*** do you expect me to pay bills like this, and its only for a b***** cat which provides no income at all.
Vet - The operation was complicated and time-consuming, and that is our standard charge for it. No-one else has complained, and there are people living in Council houses whose cats have been treated at the same price. And they don't object.
Farmer - With bills like this, I'll be living in a b***** Council house.
I promised not to disclose the name of the farmer concerned. And I'm pleased to report that Doody is making a good recovery from her operation - and I'm making a more gradual recovery from the shock caused by the size of the bill.