Friday, 5 February 2010

The best odds

When my daughter was at Exeter University she bought a little rabbit and when she moved to Cranfield University he went too. When she came back home to have a flat in our house in order to do her PhD, Starsky came to live here as well. He has a hutch in the utility room but the hutch is never locked so he has full run of the space and in finer weather moves outside during the day in his outside run. Sometimes he likes to come into the rest of the house and make himself comfortable; he has always had comfort as a strong priority.

On Wednesday though, he seemed off his food and morose. He had spent most of the day underneath his hutch, not something he has done before. But our daughter was in Amsterdam so we had to take action. Yesterday Ray took him to the vet who thinks the problem may lie with his teeth. Today Starsky is going to have a general anaesthetic so the vet can examine him properly and, if necessary, file his teeth.

Animals are so vulnerable and ultimately dependent on us so it was difficult seeing him being taken off for his operation. Most of us like to be independent and it is difficult to put your trust into the hands of professionals however expert or well-meaning. Our instincts for self-preservation are very strong.

Having choices about whom to trust is therefore very important but ultimately we need our wits about us. The old days of just trusting the professionals blindly have long gone. Many years ago there was a BBC programme “Your Life in Their Hands” which was meant to boost patient confidence. I think nowadays this title would be seen as slightly ironical. There are still marvellous doctors and vets and patients must still be prepared to gamble a little in order to achieve the best result but we would all like the odds to be the best we can get.

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