Never again will I take Vinnie to the vet I took him to on Monday.
Vinnie is scared to death of people outside the family. He’s become a little aggressive in his old age, but it’s mostly fear driving it. He’s not really a mean dog. Still, there have been times when I’ve been just a little concerned about how he would react to someone.
Previously we’ve taken Vinnie all the way out to High Ridge for his vet visits; I loved that vet, he is very good, and our personalities and approach to animals are similar. He clearly has a background as a large animal vet or grew up on a farm or something, because he recognizes that while animals are awesome and we love them, they do not enjoy the same status as people.
(waiting for the PETA e-mails to hit)
Anyway, this year I decided I’d try the new vet, the one that’s only 5 minutes away. I knew it’d be a struggle. Vinnie starts shaking every time we enter a veterinary clinic and the sounds and smells of the other animals assault his nostrils. He worries and frets.
Folks, this is a dog who lies in the floor in the evenings and bites his toenails. That’s how nervous he is.
He was so nervous he lost control of his bowels as soon as we walked in the door.
“Oops, sorry,” I told the receptionist. “Well, I guess you probably needed a stool sample anyway.” I offered to clean it up, but they declined.
Then we went into the exam room. Oh, horrors. Vinnie was nervous enough, but then he was in a tiny exam room and felt claustrophobic. I did the best I could to hold him, but when the vet and her assistant entered, he lost bowel control again.
“What are you feeding that poor thing?” asked the vet.
“Um, you know, just generic food,” I mumbled.
“Oh, GOD,” she moaned. “Please tell me it isn’t Ol’ Roy.”
“Pfft! What’s wrong with Ol’ Roy?” I queried.
“Well, no WONDER he’s pooping so much. That stuff is nothing but trash. You shouldn’t feed him that. That’s probably why he’s had a seizure. Does he always shed like this??!”
“Uh, this time of year, yeah, of course. This is his spring shed.”
“Well, I think it’d be better if you fed him a decent dog food.”
Then Vinnie lost bladder control. “Whoa, buddy,” said the assistant, “You were really full.”
“Yeah,” I responded. “Can’t go blaming THAT on his food, can you?”
Then the vet got ready to draw blood and give his vaccinations. “You may want to muzzle him,” I said.
“Oh, I hate to do that. I don’t want to do that,” she responded.
I gave her a pointed look. “I would muzzle him if I were you.”
Twice Vinnie managed to get out of the muzzle. After the second time, after I saw how they coaxed and cajoled him to get it back on, I lost patience, took the muzzle myself, let out an exasperated sigh, and forced it back on without all the fanfare.
Later: “Why is he so nervous? He’s only this nervous because you’re nervous and you’re not the pack leader like you should be. He gets by with stuff with you.”
That’s where I lost my cool a little.
Laughing, I responded, “What?! I’m not nervous. For crying out loud, I grew up on a farm, I have that kind of mentality. I like him alright, but I don’t care what you do to this dog. It doesn’t bother me a bit to see you give him shots or take his blood.”
She backed off a little after that, admitted that was true, I probably wasn’t nervous considering my background. I was so angry because she spent an hour – an ENTIRE HOUR – harping on me and trying to get Vinnie to like her. Vinnie hated her. I hated her. Neither of us was going to change our minds about that. I just wanted her to GET THE DAMNED SHOTS DONE ALREADY I DON’T CARE IF HIS EARS ARE CLEAN OR HIS NAILS ARE CLIPPED AND I DO NOT BLAME HIM FOR HATING YOU — I WANT OUT AND SO DOES HE.
The best part was when the vet asked me if his previous vet had this much trouble; to which I responded that no, no, his previous vet seemed to do alright. While Vinnie has never been an easy visit, he had never been that difficult.
BECAUSE HE HATED HER.
Next year we will be returning to High Ridge Animal Hospital. They are the best. They have a logical mentality. Get in there, give the dog the damned shots, and get out. They TOLD me to feed Vinnie cheap food because he NEEDS the fiber for his impacted anal sacs. I eat generic foods and am not going to feed a dog boutique foods. I am not going to feed my dog better food than my children receive.
And anyone who doesn’t like that can come talk to Vinnie about it.