Sunday, August 25, 2013



My dog, Willow, had her annual physical last week.  She’s the only dog I’ve ever had that loves going to the vet’s.  All of my others acted as if they were in the movie, “Dead Dog Walking,” as they headed toward the entrance door to the animal hospital. But not Willow. She always leaps right out of the car and drags me to the door. Then she stands there wagging until I open it.

I think part of it is because she’s in love with Gene, who works there. He always greets her with hugs and then play-wrestles with her, which she loves. I just pray he never mistakes my other rottweiler, Raven, for Willow. If he ever tried to hug her, he’d end up with his arms ripped off. Even I wouldn’t dare roughhouse with that one.

As I sat in the waiting room, I thought of all of the crazy things that have happened at veterinarians’ offices over the years, and pretty soon I was giggling to myself. People sitting near me were staring at me as if they thought I was the one who needed my annual shots, not Willow.

I thought back to one vet, who never failed to crack me up. I remember the first dog I took to him. She was Lhasa Apso that looked just like a dust mop.  The doctor lifted the dog’s tail and said, “Hello, there!” followed by, “Oops!  Wrong end!”

Then there was the time I brought my pet turtle to him because I’d turned it over on its back and saw what I’d thought was a tumor near its tail.

“Um…Sally…that’s not a tumor,” the vet said. “Your turtle is a male, if you know what I mean.” He then laughed and added, “And I think he’s happy to see me!” 

Even though I was embarrassed for being so dumb, I burst out laughing.

There were other vets over the years. When baby hedgehogs were being sold in pet shops at one time, I mentioned to one vet that I was thinking of getting one because they were so cute.

“Hmph!” she said, “Why don’t you just get a pet rock? It’s more exciting!”

And I’ll never forget the day my dog, Sabre, suddenly got violently ill. That’s when I discovered she’d eaten some toadstools, which, until then, I hadn’t noticed were growing at the very edge of the yard. My grandmother, who was an expert at determining which wild mushrooms were edible and which were poisonous, frequently had warned me not to even touch toadstools because they were toxic, so I panicked and rushed Sabre to the vet’s.

When I arrived, the receptionist, who was young, probably about 20, greeted me and asked how she could help me.

I practically shouted, “My dog ate some toadstools and is really sick now!”

She gave me an amused smile and said (and I’m totally serious here),  “A toad’s stools? You mean toad poop? Ma’am, their stools are so tiny, I don’t think they would have any effect at all on a big dog like Sabre!”

I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes.

Sabre turned out to be fine – after the toadstools ran their course.

Then there was the time Sabre was sick with a kidney infection, so the vet asked me to get a urine sample and bring it in. I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought that day as they watched me holding an aluminum pan and chasing my dog around the yard.

Every time Sabre squatted, I’d shove a pan underneath her. The minute I did, she’d stand, give me a dirty look and walk off.  This went on for about 20 minutes until Sabre finally decided she’d had enough. She plopped down on the grass and went to sleep.

I sat and waited a few minutes, then woke her up and got her moving again. Her appointment with the vet was in less than an hour, so I was getting desperate for a sample. Finally, she squatted and I slid the pan underneath her just in time. When she stood, I saw liquid gold in the pan.  I picked it up and was so excited, I did the “happy dance.”

And then I dropped the pan.

I could swear I saw Sabre laughing at me.

I’ll never forget the look on the vet’s face when I presented her with only two drops of urine. She immediately had one of the assistants take Sabre outside to get a larger sample. Naturally, Sabre cooperated for the assistant, just to spite me.

I’m pretty sure I drove many vets crazy over the years, what with my variety of strange pets – a de-scented skunk, an armadillo, chinchillas, turtles, a dwarf cat, an iguana, a one-winged pigeon and some albino African frogs, among other things.

But now, I just stick with dogs.  They’re more than enough to keep me – and any poor, unfortunate vet – busy.

Although, I did see these giant guinea pigs (capybaras, which can weigh over 60 lbs.) that look as if they might make pretty interesting pets.


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