Our Monthly Trip to the Vet


Who knows what a foxtail is?  If you guessed a hordeum murinum disarticulating spikelet cluster, you’ve almost got it.  But if you guessed the two-inch bunch of hard-speared and piercingly sharp dead grass diaspore that lodged itself into our cocker spaniel’s right ear canal this morning, you’d be right on.

So we had a good run along the river this morning, and then an even more pleasant walk through the district for bread and veggies afterward.  Everything seemed so peaceful when we returned to the flat, had some coffee and cheerios and settled in to start the day around 7am.  Györgyi was just out the door, and miraculously on time for her first intensive Spanish language class at the office.

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Suddenly  Barnabás leapt onto the couch and started to scream.  Now from a dog who barely barks and only sometimes howls at the tone of a rotary phone, hearing him make this noise was completely shocking.  He was furiously scratching at his ear, running room to room, crying and screaming, crying and whimpering.  We held him down on his side and shined a light inside of his ear, but couldn’t see anything.  Then, I noticed on the floor by the couch the enemy of long haired and long eared dogs everywhere–a small little foxtail.  Oh no.

And so we had to wait a painful 90 minutes and he paced and scratched and cried before being able to take him to the vet, Dr. Gerszi Kornél, who is fortunately just three blocks from here.


Barnabás was irritated to say the least.  It took both Györgyi and I the full force of our strength to hold him down, and eventually the doc had to give him TWO shots of sedative so that he was finally calm enough/sleeping to examine the deep inner ear.  He pulled cotton swab after cotton swab out of his ear but still could only see a little poking white spear.  Then, with one final pull he brought it up.  The foxtail.  He exclaimed hoppá which is like oh my or maybe something a little stronger.  We were all a little shocked by how big it was.


It’s a good lesson. Barnabás is quite injury prone and always walks and plays hard, just like a little boy.  But after glass in the paw, the many ticks, the broken foot, the strained tendon, and now this latest injury, we’re going to have to be more vigilant with him.


I carried him home from the vet and he was just dead weight in my arms.  His lips and tongue and ears flopped over the side of my right forearm.  I mean he really looked dead.  A few of the old ladies in the building we very concerned, but Györgyi reassured them that he’s going to be fine.  I hate to suspect it, but probably he is always going to be a little bit wild, a little bit accident prone.  Of course this is one of the reasons why we hopelessly adore him.  And also why our next dog is going to be a goldfish.


3 thoughts on “Our Monthly Trip to the Vet

  1. istenem… it was sooo painful to see him like this. but now he’s gonna be okay. and every night will end in a foxtail-check. and no more walks in the bushes. just on the asphalt.
    thank you, Dr. Gerszi.

  2. Oh no, poor Barnabás!!
    It really bothers me to see animals (especially dogs) in pain.
    I hope he’s feeling better.

    PS: Go Pittsburgh Pens!!

  3. Me too! I have this really primal reaction and I just can’t STAND to see animals in pain. But he’s going to be okay, I think. He finally woke up from his sedative and he’s stumbling around a bit, but he’s going to be okay soon and, probably, back to his old tricks 🙂

    And yes– I’ve even been able to watch the games here with Hungarian announcers 🙂 GO Pens!!!

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