Saturday, January 19, 2008

Veterinary veterans

Butch and Kadi both had appointments with the vet yesterday. It was time for their annual checkups and vaccinations, so I scheduled them for dental cleaning at the same time. They’re 8 and 9, respectively, and I have personal experience in the importance of being able to chew properly when one is getting on up in age.

The dental cleaning requires anesthesia, so the dogs couldn’t have food or water after midnight Wednesday night. For Butch that wasn’t a problem, but Kadi woke me up no less than five times to alert me to the fact that the water dish was empty. Yesterday morning, when I opened the gate that keeps them in the bedroom area at night, Butch trotted to the back door, as both of them usually do, but Kadi ran instead to the second water dish, the big one we keep in the den. Much to her dismay, that one had been picked up and moved, too.

I didn’t want them to eat grass or drink rainwater, so instead of opening the door to let them run into the backyard on their own, I put their leashes on and went out with them. It was still dark outside. I squinted my eyes to try to see the wet ground better and avoid stepping in poop. Instead, I stepped into a hill of fire ants. Believe me, I'd rather have stepped in the poop.

By the time we got back inside, both dogs were thoroughly confused by the change in our morning routine. I took their leashes off and they ran to stand expectantly in front of the treat cabinet, the next step in the usual beginning of our day. When I skipped that step, they looked at me as if they thought I’d totally lost my mind.

I can handle Butch or Kadi on a leash, but not both of them together, so my daughter came over early to go with us to the vet. Thank goodness.

This was the first time Butch has been in the car since his checkup a few days after his eye surgery last year. I was worried that he’d be afraid, that he’d remember the trauma of that experience and spend his day in fear. In fact, he was trembling as he rode in the car, but when we got to the vet’s office, you would have thought we’d just walked through the gates of Disney World. He started sniffing the floors and wagging his tail, turning enthusiastically toward each human voice he heard. “I know where I am,” he seemed to be saying, “and I have friends here.” I guess soooo. He spent a lot of time at that animal clinic last year, and he won the hearts of everybody there.

(First published at Velvet Sacks on August 11, 2006.)

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