June 2, 2013
As Jeff stood at the grill just outside of his garage, his mind wandered back to the appointment he had with his veterinarian on Friday. Like most pet owners, he often daydreamed of the veterinary clinic. The times he spent in the various exam rooms; it never seemed like enough. The flagrant aromas that enveloped him as he walked in the door. The way he was always treated like family; in-laws, but family nonetheless.
The more he thought about it, the more Jeff likened his numerous trips to the vet to his most recent trip to Disney World. The only thing missing was a meal plan and a Fast Pass. Boy, that Fast Pass would be handy. No waiting in the X-ray line at 11:30. Expected wait time for blood work is five minutes.
Yes, sir … Jeff often dreaded leaving the veterinary clinic for fear of a harsher world outside its doors. Inside those hallowed walls, Ranger was as safe as a butterfly in a cocoon. No ticks could penetrate those fortress walls. Vomiting was fought back with strategic defense initiatives. Coughing was suppressed and limping was corrected.
But outside the hospital perimeter? Well, it’s a jungle out here!
Just last fall, Ranger had been in to the vet for her annual exam. She had recently turned 4 years old. She was not spayed and had gone through her most recent heat cycle only two months prior.
The vet told Jeff that he should get Ranger spayed so she would not accidentally get pregnant. But Jeff assured the doc that they were extremely careful with her. In fact, if they could not be with her, they would very securely tie her out in the backyard.
The vet had asked Jeff some question about if he had ever seen the movie King Kong, but Jeff did not get the point of that. So Ranger got her shots and she and Jeff left.
When Ranger returned in March with her six beautiful puppies, the kindly and fortuitous veterinarian took the time to warn Jeff that tick season was right around the corner. He mentioned that not everybody’s dog was at risk, but those that have exposure to tall grasses and wooded areas definitely were.
Again trying to allay the well-chiseled doctor’s concern, Jeff informed him that in his three years in his new home in the country, they had never yet seen a tick on Ranger. True, he lived in front of a woods with a hay field in-between; but he had put a chain-link fence around the entire acre.
Jeff took Ranger in to the clinic two days ago for vomiting. He was very thankful the staff had stayed until five o’clock on a Friday for them. She had been having diarrhea since Tuesday. Jeff explained how he had given her the obligatory three days to see if it was going to pass on its own.
But Thursday night she had started throwing up. When he got home from work on Friday and she had puked all over the living room, he knew it was an emergency. After all, who wanted to deal with that all weekend?
During his physical exam the vet found a tick near Ranger’s left ear. Seeing the obvious gap in his tick defense, Jeff pointed out that Ranger’s only trek from home had been to his child’s skateboard park last week.
“It was wall-to-wall concrete in the middle of town. She must have gotten it there.”
“Say, Doc,” began Jeff. “Do you think that tick is the cause of Ranger’s throwing up?”
The skilled veterinarian with Buddha-like wisdom explained that it was more likely something Ranger ate that caused her to have loose stool and vomit. Jeff assured the young doctor with a face like Ben Affleck that he had not changed Ranger’s dog food or treats.
The visit to the veterinary hospital ended with Ranger getting an injection for nausea and vomiting and being sent home with some antibiotics for the diarrhea.
As Jeff stood by his new grill with Ranger at his side, he reflected on all the good times he had enjoyed with his veterinarian. Sure, Doc was a worrier, always trying to tell Jeff how to prevent things. But Jeff and Ranger had a pretty good handle on life. With that thought, he cut another small piece off of his chipotle burger and handed it down to Ranger.
Dr. Adam Ferguson is co-owner of Baker Animal Hospital in Cridersville. He would like to welcome summer with all of its glorious gifts: fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bees, campfires and cookouts. He reminds his readers that operators will be standing by.