IT’S been suggested that I should think of a device to hold pets while they are being dosed with pills.
I’m very wary of designing devices for pets. I was once asked on a radio show what I was currently building.
I replied: “A machine for removing the spots from dalmatians.”
This prompted an emergency meeting of the Leeds RSPCA to stop me doing it.
The gadget was an illusion device that only worked on drawings.
On another occasion, I was subjected to an outraged public when I designed a security device for parrots.
It was a cage on a bike, so you could take your valuable bird with you when you went out.
At that time, there was a lot of parrot purloining going on.
Funnily enough, nothing was ever said about my dog somersault training catapult.
I’ve found concealing pills in food does not work for some dogs.
Our dog Timmy had a selective mouth. We would feed him some of my wife’s delicious stew in which there was sweetcorn.
Timmy could take a mouth full of stew, swallow it and then spit the sweetcorn back in the bowl, with all the gravy sucked off. You try to do that.
The problem is to get the pill past the mouth and down the throat.
There once was a device that held the tongue down, giving easy access to the throat. It was meant for humans and has since been banned.
It was called the ‘Scold’s Bridle’ and was used as a punishment for nagging women.
In the past, the problem was solved by blowing pills down the throat with a pipe.
This was hazardous because if the animal coughed, the vet would end up swallowing the pill.
They improved on this by pushing the pill up the tube with a rod.
They called them ‘balling guns’. They were used mainly on horses and the pill was the size of a gobstopper.
I have two of these in my collection They are far too big to use on pets.
But recently, I’ve acquired from Ireland a ‘ball spoon’.
It's a piece of wood with a groove down it. At one end there's a small hollow for the round pill.
The device is introduced to the pet’s mouth and the pill is flicked down the groove (pictured). Marble players should be pretty adept at this.
Don’t any of you realise you are looking at this from completely the wrong end?
Try the other end that doesn't bite. They have the right idea on the Continent. Suppositories.
I have a large collection of suppository moulds, including two reusable wooden ones.
I am quite prepared to loan them to anyone to try out, on the understanding I’m allowed to film the application for my archive.