I am always up for a car ride, as well as time away from Pocket, but when they happen at the same time, I know something is wrong. Last Thursday, in the late afternoon, I thought my parents were going out. Pocket was put in her crate, half because she pees everywhere when left alone, and a half because I get very worked up when my parents are away, and I might think a Pocket sacrifice could persuade the Gods to bring them back home to me.
Usually, my parents tell me I am in charge of the house while they are gone, but on this day, Mommy picked me up and carried me right out the door. When we go to the groomer’s we are placed in our carriers, I hate that thing. I want to sit with Mommy. On this trip, I got to sit on her lap in the front seat. While I liked it, I knew I was going to the vets. That is the only reason we get front seat status.
Something very unusual happened when we got to the vets. Daddy made a phone call. Then one of the nice techs came out of the office and took me away from my Mom. What was going on? Were they leaving me? Mommy!
I was brought into an exam room and plopped down. There was already a Great Dane there. I was incensed; I had ordered a single.
My roommate stood up. He was so tall his head could be clearly seen above the exam table. He asked me how I was—a chatty chap. I told him I felt fine. He then gave me a big butt sniff.
He wrote something down on his chart. “Alright, you are healthy, the clerk will be back in for you soon.”
I was confused. “Is that is?” I asked. “Aren’t I supposed to see the doctor?”
The Great Dane chuckled. “I am the doctor,” he said. I asked him how that could be true. “Oh, River, we dogs are too precious to let ordinary humans exam us. Have you noticed at some point during your check-ups the humans take you to the backroom for ‘blood work.’ You may not have realized it before, but that is when a dog walks up behind you and sniffs your butt. From one smell, we can accurately diagnose anything wrong. We give our information to the actor playing a doctor, and they pretend to listen to your lungs, your heart, feel around your body, check your ears and teeth, and then tell the parents exactly what I instructed them to say. We have to do this because humans would freak out if they found out that their vet was actually a dog, and they would not pay these outrageous prices if they knew the exam was done by a canine.”
This was fascinating. “Now that humans are barred from the office,” the Great Dane said, “there is no reason for me to hide in the back. It saves a great deal of time.”
“Can you tell if I am healthy by a sniff.”
He smiled at me kindly. “You are very perfectly fine, but your knees ache after walks, your anal glands are full, and you have too much wax in your ears. You eat mostly kibble, with green beans, and treats made from salmon.”
“You can tell all that from a sniff?”
“More, actually, but I have another patient to see.” He managed to open the door with his paws. “Oh, and you have a chipped tooth. Humans handle the financial end of the practice. I am sure they will want to charge you big money to get it fixed. I say if it doesn't bother you don’t waste your parents’ money on it. And if you do have it done, don’t let them charge you for a cleaning. If you break your legs, no one charges you to clean your toes.”
The other task humans had to do at the office was to draw blood. The dog doctors can tell how the blood is from the butt sniff, but it is something the humans like to see all printed out with a bunch of gibberish on it. I had to give blood twice because the machine that was supposed to read the sample broke right in the middle of mine. They took more blood and said they would read it the old fashioned way, which I am sure meant having the Great Dane sniff it.
Finally, after paying a bill that cost the same as six big bags of premium kibble, and getting an estimate that did include a tooth cleaning to go with fixing the chipped tooth, I went home and got another butt examination from Pocket. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She never went to sniff school.
I hope you can all rest easier when you got to the vet’s now. Pay no attention to the man who touches you all over. It is the dog behind the curtain who pulls all the levers.