My puppy has been showing signs of dissatisfaction with his doctor as of late.
Last year, three quarters of the staff was called in to hold him still, in order to draw a little blood.
He has peed on their floor. He has curled his lips and shown off his pearly whites. And he has growled a few choice four letter words.
But, I think what caused that big star next to the yellow high-lighted word MUZZLE on the front page of his profile, was that time he tried to take that arm off of that technician.
Since then, Hunter has been instructed to take three teeny-tiny tranquilizer pills, two hours before all visits.
"Two hours before. And no stimulation," his doctor had said.
That is why Sven and I were trying to get our dog, who seemed to be made of Jell-O, into the car.
"He's a puddle," said Sven as I walked in the door.
We tried to get him to stand up.
"Here puppy," I said.
"He is not a puppy," said Sven.
"Yes he is."
The wiener stuffed with cheese did no more than get him to lift his head off his bed. We knew we were screwed when he set it back down.
Sven propped the kitchen door open, as well as the back door of our Kia.
"Okay. One, two, three," he said.
We lifted Hunter's bed into the air and carried him, bed and all, to the car.
"Now what?" I said with my back to the open door.
"Try to get him part way in."
I pulled the dog covered bed past myself, squeezed my way out, ran to the other door, flung it open and began pulling on the mattress.
"Too late," said Sven. As I rocketed backward with an empty bed in my hands.
Hunter had rolled off and was on the floor behind the driver seat.
He didn't really fit there.
But we couldn't relocate him.
So Sven carefully pushed the door shut until there was a soft click.
"Okay, he's in," he said.
The reason we were making a trip to the doctor on this day was because of the arthritis in Hunter's hind legs.
Hunter takes medicine for that.
One being a pain killer.
And his pain modifying prescription could not be renewed without a visit to the doctor. And his visit to the doctor could not be renewed without him taking three teeny-tiny tranquilizers two hours before his appointment.
Opioid addiction is not just for people anymore.
This guy has to take a downer just to get his prescriptions renewed.
It's a vicious cycle.
This is just one of the reasons the world is so messed up.
Hunter snored all the way to the clinic, stuffed in an upright position behind Sven.
I dropped his bed on the frozen blacktop next to the opened back door and dragged him out of the car by his front legs, backwards over the hump. He flopped softly onto his bed, while Sven was inside looking for help.
The two of us carried Hunter in and we were motioned to take him straight to examination room A, where the scale-slash-exam-table was raised to table level and we set Hunter and his bed on top of it.
In walks Dr. Clouseau.
Now just because Hunter believes that this man is an asshole who torturously moves his legs around just to hear them click, pokes things inside his ears, and steals his blood like he's a vampire, does not mean that I feel the same way.
He seems like a pretty nice guy to me.
Besides being a veterinarian, he is a cross country skier who skis The American Birkebiener.
This is something we have in common.
Or we did have in common.
Sven and I no longer ski the fifty-two kilometer race.
And when we did our tour of Birkie years, the word race was optional.
But, people who do the Birkie in any capacity, are overcome with what is widely known among Birkie people, as Birkie Fever.
This fever brings on the inability to think of anything but, from February until February.
Everything a person with this fever does is somehow connected to the next race's outcome.
Fortunately, having stepped away from all the fury five years ago, Sven and I are one hundred per cent cured.
Praise the Lord.
But to the dismay of Dr. Clouseau's staff, I always ask him how his training is going.
The question makes his eyes glaze over.
And this makes Hunter's exam from hell last twice as long as it should because now both Hunter and his doctor are in an alternative universe.
And Dr. Clouseau cannot examine a dog while telling his latest Birkie tale, anymore than I can follow a recipe while I am talking on the phone.
Something is bound to boil over.
It is pertinent that on our visits to the vet that we take care of any and all medical issues that could possibly pop up, while Hunter is under the influence of those three little pills.
Therefore at this latest appointment, Hunter's file was updated with a distemper combination, a lymes booster, a bordatella booster, a heartworm test and a rabies vaccination.
"Anything else you can think of?" asked Dr. Clouseau.
"Well, he's been scratching his ears once in a while," I said.
"I should run a test."
"He could use a manicure and a pedicure," I said.
"We can take care of that."
He picked up an oversized Q-tip and took a swab out of Hunter's ears and left the room.
"This is going to cost us a million dollars," said Sven.
"Well," said Dr. Clouseau a few minutes later. There is a hint of a very tiny amount of yeast in his left ear. I think we should treat them both, immediately."
Dr. Clouseau began to apply a time released medicated-goo into Hunter's ear with a syringe, all the while explaining the difference in kilometers between the classic trail and the skate ski trail at the Birkebeiner.
"They are separate for most of the race now," he said. "They split off right away. The classic trail is fifty-six kilometers instead of fifty-two, but...
It was right about this part of his sentence that Hunter let out a muffled yelp inside his muzzle and simultaneously tried to take his Dr.'s hand off, and his doctor jumped off the table backwards at the exact same moment.
Satisfied with his statement of dissatisfaction, Hunter laid his head back down and closed his eyes.
".....there are less steep hills than there are on the skating route," continued Dr. Clouseau.
He exited the room.
"I'm going to say $650.00," I said to Sven.
"I'm raising mine to $585.00," said Sven. "I didn't know we were going to treat his ears."
Two technicians strolled back in.
"He didn't give him these shots yet?" they said, spotting the syringes lined up.
They positioned themselves around Hunter. They cooed. They sweet talked.
They shot him up.
"Oh my God, He just let one!"
That is how Hunter communicated his dissatisfaction with his immediate situation to the nice ladies.
Hunter would have preferred to walk out of the clinic on his own, but his back legs did not.
So three of us slid him onto the backseat on his bed.
Sven and Hunter waited in the parking lot, while I went back inside to pay the piper.
There on the counter was a year's supply of of Heartworm Pills. A bag of Dasuquin soft chews. A bottle of Rimadyl. A bottle of Tramadol. And let's not forget the three little tiny tranquilizers for his next visit.
I slid my credit card through the slot.
Dr. Clousea popped into the lobby carrying a laptop.
"Millie," he says. "This is that place in Ontario I was telling you guys about."
"Wow," I said. "It looks beautiful."
"Oh, it is."
He began scrolling.
"Look, at this one," he said. "That is a mountain in the background. Here are a few cabins. They are way out there. This is the lodge. This is a little creek that runs through. Oh, and here is the dining room. They have gourmet meals there. Unbelievable food."
"It all sounds really nice," I said, taking the pen the receptionist was holding out.
"Here. Look. This one is me. I'm at the highest point. You should really check it out. I highly recommend it," he continued.
"Well," I said, "It does looks gorgeous. But I don't think we're going to be able to afford it, anymore."
"Ha-ha-ha-ha," the room burst into laughter.
"Yeah, probably not," he said, closing his laptop.
And then I signed my name on the dotted line.
That night, my sweet Sven, the guy who always says things like, "I hate that dog," slept on the couch, because my little puppy...
"He is not a puppy."
"Yes he is."
Because my little puppy wasn't in the mood to get off that bed of his and climb those stairs of ours.
How is Hunter today?
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