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Full Circle

Day 128: Eva Valley

Michael Palin - Full CirclePeter and his English assistant, Trish, who visit here three times a year, are looking for somewhere to hold the surgery. They settle for a spot beneath the shade of a low-hanging flamboyant tree. A collapsible table is produced. 'This is luxury,' says Trish as she lays out the containers, the serums and the hypodermics. I'm despatched to fill a bucket of water. (The tap is right next to a particularly evil-looking dog who eyes me with brooding malevolence, probably mistaking me for whoever clipped his balls off last time.) The two Peters calculate how many candidates there are for castration (15 dollars) and spaying (30 dollars). Many of them will also have to be 'needled' - given a jab against worms, mange and scabies.

Then the rounding up begins. It is complete mayhem. The dogs race off in all directions, barking desperately. Their owners race after them. Most agile of these is a very elderly lady with wild grey hair and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt who sprints round the flower-beds and eventually grabs her dog in a full-length tackle and drags it kicking and screaming towards the table. Peter, nimbly avoiding its snarling jaws, prepares a quick jab of Metamil, a heroin-based sedative, which will have it ready to be operated on in fifteen minutes. As Peter moves in with the syringe, the dog's eyes roll upwards and it barks as if possessed by demons. Gradually the terrifying noise subsides and, as the Metamil begins to take effect, the ground beneath the flamboyant tree is littered with dogs in various stages of unconsciousness.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 128
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: Manyallaluk
  • Book page no: 185

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