Trip to the Vet

Yesterday I took Teddy to the vet for his customary shots. I had a few strange experiences. One, I have asthma and, in fall, it tends to kick off around 4:30 in the afternoon. Teddy’s appointment was 4:45 right at the golden hour. As soon as I walked into the clinic I had a coughing attack. I said, “I’m not sick. I have asthma. I’ll put my mask on so I don’t scare anyone.”

Debbie, the office manager, whom I’ve known since I moved here, who had hip surgery when I did, who did PT at the same time and place, said, “No, Martha, don’t. That will make it even harder for you to breathe.”

A nice older lady from Texas (they moved here in numbers last year) with a little Dachsund/Chihuahua shaking on her lap said, “No, honey. Don’t do that. You need to breathe. It’s OK. I used to have asthma but thankfully, it went away as I got older.”

“Mine hit me when I was 60,” I said, breathing, finally, wishing I had my inhaler.

I sat down with Teddy, who just wanted to go see everyone, and waited. My turn came, and I was ushered into a little room by a young woman. The vet — Kayla — a young woman who bought the practice a couple years ago — came in and checked over Teddy. “He’s perfect,” she said. “Perfect weight, perfect teeth, everything.” They joked about his determined drive to kiss everyone, “He’d French me if I let him.” One tall girl caught Teddy in her arms as he leaped off the examining table. “He’d go home with you!” said the vet.

“OK,” I said. “There are a lot of dogs out there who’d like to live with me.”

“Really? You’d let him go?” asked the vet.

“No. I think my other dog would miss him a lot. My other dog is an Akbash.”

“Right!” said the vet. “You’re the lady with the Akbash. We don’t seem many of those.” So we talked about Bear. The assistants in the room had never heard of that breed. Anyway, they’ll see her when she goes in for her shots.

When we were finished, we went back to the lobby. There was my favorite vet, Dr. Crawford, the one who took care of Teddy’s leg this past March after Teddy lost in a fight with the glass in my front door, the one who has put down my dogs. After he did the surgery on Teddy’s foot, he came out to explain what he’d done, he cradled Teddy in his arms like a baby. When he saw Teddy, instead of crouching down for Teddy to run to him, he just said, “No, buddy, no happy right now.” Later I saw why.

I took Teddy out to the car, so I could pay the bill in peace and I saw, in the dog pee area, a beautiful, young red merle Aussie and her people. The Aussie was vomiting into a bag. “Shit,” I thought hoping it wasn’t the worst but knowing if it were Parvo, Dr. Crawford would be able to help as well as anyone could. It didn’t seem all that likely as the Aussie wasn’t a puppy, but parvo doesn’t just hit puppies.

When I came back in to pay, the Aussie and its people followed, thinking the Aussie couldn’t vomit more, but she did. When the dog stopped, they put it on the scales. “She’s a little overweight,” said her person. I heard this in the corner of my ear as I paid my bill, words of irrelevancy as a flag of hope.

The vet came in from outside where he’d been looking for the Aussie. He’d come in to fill a syringe and had gone out another door, expecting to see the dog in the dog pee area. He looked intently at me. He sees hundreds of people and their sick and dying animals, and I know from my own experience that sick dogs make him very very sad. He met me at 10 pm one night on the off chance that Bear had bloat. SHE had been vomiting. “I have to charge you for an emergency, Martha.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s OK. I love this dog.”

“She’s pretty special,” he’d answered, Bear was leaning against him and he was scratching her ears.

Yesterday, as we passed, he reached for my shoulder as he hurried to the Aussie.

Driving to the vet, I’d seen the moon hovering just above Mt. Blanca. When I left, there was an amazing sunset. I sent up some good thoughts for that poor dog and her people, but I don’t think they could be in better hands.

18 thoughts on “Trip to the Vet

  1. Not sure why, but this post made me tear up. Maybe thinking of the dogs I’ve had who have passed. Maybe thinking of the vets who have taken such good care of my animals, and who see death all of the time. Maybe just thinking that we don’t deserve dogs, or maybe just feeling that beautiful sunset. Anyway, thanks for this.

  2. This made me tear up, too. A good vet is so important. Many years ago when my son’s cat, Teemu (my avatar photo) was going through all his health issues, our vet told me I needed to get Teemu to the emergency vet for, what turned out to be, a few overnight stays. She wrapped him in the softest blanket, and before she placed him in my car, gave Teemu a kiss on his little forehead. I had to regain my composure before I could drive. She was an awesome vet.

    • ❤️ She sounds like an awesome vet. I don’t know how anyone survives that job, but I watch Dr. Crawford and I see that he seriously enjoys a healthy animal. I think on some level he savors that as much as he can to get through the sad stories. I saw Kayla do that yesterday, too. She was so happy that Teddy is “perfect.” Dr. Crawford is one of the first people I met when I moved here. He checked over Mindy and said, “One leg is shorter than the other.” And suddenly all of Mindy’s challenges were clear to me and I knew what to do. A good diagnosis is a wonderful thing.

  3. When I was a teenager we had a dog die of Parvo. The very name gives me horrible chills to this day, and my dogs? Always vaccinated promptly to avoid even the suggestion of it. I’m sorry you had to witness that, but you have a good vet, rarer than gold dust these days I think; and you have two healthy dogs, so the blessings outweigh the sorrow. Those poor people. 😦

    • Those poor people, exactly. I hope the dog is able to pull through and even more I hope my diagnosis is wrong. And I do have the best vet on the planet. Good doctor and wonderful person.

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