One cannot simply receive a written request to search something to do with a dog's bum. One must make a phone call.
So I rang mummy dearest to ascertain exactly how she thought Google might help.
Now, we're all adults here so let's try to keep this medical. But for the sake of your eggs benedict, instead of the word "anus" let's use the word "apple".
Dog owners will likely already know this but dogs have glands near their apple. The apple glands in a dog exist for a reason and as far as Google is telling me, when a dog passes stools, the fluid that builds up in their apple sacs is expressed and therefore helps to mark territory.
OK, so far, so good. However, sometimes the apple glands do not empty by natural means and this procedure must be done manually, by a vet or for the enthusiastic dog owner, by yourself at home.
As one friend said to me, "I love my dog but I am happy this is a job that can be outsourced."
And as I have no shame, I posted mum's request on social media wherein a stranger told me that in her family, the kids played paper, rock, scissors to see who had to hold the dog while their parents did the trick.
Anyway, mum's dog Molly did not have her apple squeezed by a vet, or by anyone as far as we know, and ended up on antibiotics with an infection.
Therefore, mum's wish to be schooled up on dogs' apple glands is actually quite sensible.
So, yeah. Dogs. Man's best friend? Man's grossest friend. In fact, let's not even call them a friend. I would never ask any of my friends to do that for me.
In between giggling and googling I explain (in very hushed tones because I sit in an open plan office) things to Mum. For some reason, she is obsessed with equating these things to the appendix and tells me dogs' apple glands are "extinct" and no longer needed biologically. I have a deadline and try to cut the conversation off.
We say goodbye. I wish Molly a speedy recovery.
Ten minutes later my phone rings again.
It is Mum. She has rung a vet and discovered the apples are still necessary, unlike the appendix, which is not.
I assure her this is fascinating but I really have to go and that this is the last time we discuss anything to do with dogs' apples.
Grow up, she says. Even your cat has an anus.
I desperately want to deny this but I cannot. My cat does indeed have an apple but he would never need me go anywhere near it.
That's how brilliant cats are. That's who really is man's best friend. A pet that takes care of his own Granny Smith.
I apologise to anyone who can no longer eat fruit.
-Originally published in The Press