Saturday 03 Dec 2016

A Visit to the Vet
Jennifer Flaten

About five minutes after the mail carrier slaps the last mailbox closed and putters off in his rust bucket of a government vehicle, the dog and I walk down to retrieve the mail.

I am an optimist; I always approach the mail, as maybe today there will be something good in the mail for me.

I am frequently disappointed. Usually, the only things filling my mailbox are an assortment of insurance flyers and coupon books.

Today, much to my surprise, I find a postcard emblazoned with frolicking puppies and kittens in the box. Naturally, I assume it is a party invitation for one of the children.

I scan the addressee and lo and behold, the postcard is for my dog.

Geez, it's hard enough to live with the fact my children get more mail then I do. Now, the dog is getting mail.

I look closely at the card and see that it isn't the fun kind of postcard, no little doggie friend telling my pooch about his trip to Disneyland; it is actually a reminder card for the dog's yearly physical.

Unlike most dogs, my dog loves going to the vet for his tune up.

Yeah, he's not too bright. As far as he's concerned, being repeatedly poked with a sharp needle is a small price to pay all that attention, oh, and let's not forget the snacks.

Load him up with snacks. There's alternative to feeding him snacks. If they don't, he'll lick them to death.

Other dogs might whine or bite the technician, but my dog, my dog pants excitedly, while gazing longingly at the door. He is eager for her to return. He assumes she will give him more snacks.

As the dog and I check in at the front counter, I notice that there is a swarm of inflatable advertising balloons hanging from the ceiling over the receptionist.

The balloons are from the makers of Frontline and are in the shape of little fleas and ticks. Yep, about twenty plumb fleas and ticks dangled over the receptionist. Whatever they are paying that girl to sit under the inflatable ticks aren't enough.

After a few minutes of scanning the bulletin boards in the waiting area, I am terrified that my home is chocked full of dangers to my pets. The warnings remind me a lot of certain parenting magazine's that manage to terrify more than help.

Before I can go into complete panic mode imagining all the dangerous objects my cats might be ingesting right at this moment, (innocuous things that will inevitably lead to their death, the tech calls our name.

My dog mugs the technician, not out of anger, but out of joy, someone is paying attention to him. He is so different from all their other furry patients that the vet technician bestows the happiest dog award to him.

As part of the exam, the vet pries open the dog's mouth and examines his teeth. After peering at his tarter encrusted fangs, she asks if I have ever considered brushing the dog's teeth.

Hmmm, let me see, I already chase the children around the house with a toothbrush, I really don't need to do that with the dog too. Isn't it enough that I clean up after him, must I be responsible for his dental hygiene?

Besides, who does brush their dog's teeth anyway? What is he the big bad wolf? Oh, what big shiny teeth you have.

The vet sensing I was less then enthused about spend the kid's college fund of doggie dental hygiene, insisted that it was really a one shot deal. A simple preventative procedure she said, although they do have to put him under.

She tried to hard sell me by asking, "We wouldn't want his teeth falling out now would we? "

I suppose not, I mean part of the dog's appeal is that he is large and menacing...without teeth the menacing part is really out the window.

I tell her I will consider it, knowing we both know that means "over my dead body." If need be he can gum someone to death.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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