Friday, February 24, 2006

Alby's Big Day at the Vet

Last Friday I took my darling dog Alby to the vet's office the only place where he truly understands that the world is meant to revolve around him. He walks in, jumps up so that his front paws are on the check in counter, says hello to his techs and waits for a biscuit. Upon check in, he retires to the benches in the waiting room. From his perch on the bench he looks down at the other dogs sitting on the floor, unaware that this office is their office. Alby sniffs other pet owners, as if to say, "I certainly can't get on to the floor and sniff your dog's ass myself, so why don't you just describe the smell to me".


This behavior is always received with some apprehension as Alby is not only big enough to make every other dog in the waiting room look like items on a poo poo platter laid out for his snacking pleasure, but his muscular build can intimidate a sixty year old woman waiting to have the anal ducts of her poodle "Ralph" drained. This is pair with enough impending stress, so I try to keep Alby focused on me until we are called back.


When we are called, he leaps from the bench and pulls me back towards the office with no recollection of the panic attack he had in that room 4 months ago. We stop at the scale for Alby to weigh in. He weighs 105 lbs. The tech is already shaking her head in disappointment as I pretend to be appalled at this weight gain, but secretly I feel glad that someone else is getting a head shaken at them on the scale at the doctor's office. She tells me that he has gained 8 lbs. Since they last saw him, and that his target weight is in the upper 80's lower 90's. Then she states that looking through his chart he hasn't weighed in the 80's since he was 2 years old he will be 5 this year. I tell her that we are obviously pregnant as a family, and that Alby often cannot help but find himself eating for two, as the two of us don't sleep at night and share all of our snacks. I think 8 lbs. is nothing, I've gained over 50 lbs. As I plan a more thorough defense for the weight gain of us both, Alby is already pulling towards the office.


We get into the office, he sits on one of the chairs and all of the blood rushes to his face. He immediately realized where he is, what he has done, what happened last time he was here, and that there is no getting out. He drools profusely. His eyes are bloodshot and his gums swell. The tech and I discuss his recent flatulence problems and the blood work he needs to have done to check on the status of his valley fever. She explains that she will take him into the back room where they do all of the blood work and surgeries and I nod in agreement, looking forward to reading the new issue of US in the magazine rack. She takes Alby's leash, walks toward the back door and comes to a dead stop as Alby will NOT walk willingly though that door. She asks if I could walk with him. I take the leash and head towards the back door, he turns and heads out the door we came in through, as if to suggest, "Or we could just leave, right mom?" I encourage him, assure him, walk him to the threshold of the back door and as he walks through it I stop. He realizes I am not with him, turns, and gives me the saddest doggy face I have ever seen in my life. Stunned silent his eyes pleaded to know why. Why would I do this to him? Hasn't he been a good companion? Shared my Cheetos, my strawberries, taken the wrap for some of my worst pregnancy gas? Why was I doing this to him?


Before taking him, the tech asked me if there was anything about him she should know and I said that she might want to put a muzzle on him while taking blood, just to be safe. When she came back in she actually said, "Well, we didn't need the muzzle, but you didn't tell me how strong he was!" As if she wasn't just in the hall when he weighted in at 105 lbs. Look at him!


The vet comes in, Alby's flatulence is again discussed at length as the vet tries to convince me to add a $40 liver test to the blood work to ensure he isn't farting because there is something wrong with his liver. I blame Dan, and say I cannot make money decisions without my husband's approval. It was only fun because it was so untrue.


On our way out to pay the bill Alby is sniffing a Shar Pei puppy, who cannot be a year old yet. I ask his 50 year old lady owner if this is alright. She says she doesn't know, but we'll see. "Either way", she says, "I need to socialize her more." I pull Alby away stating that she might want to practice "socializing" her dog with a dog that won't eat hers if it shows the slightest sign of aggression. Not to mention that no one seems to notice that it might be difficult for me to maneuver over 300 lbs. (Alby and my pregnant self combined) if the shit went down.

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