I always thought Dan was a funny guy. That was until I got to know his wife, Jo, better. Then I realized that Dan is actually the straight man in the family. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but his wife is a lot funnier.
So you can imagine my delight when I saw them on our appointment schedule, along with their dog Manny, of course. Manny is a five year old Lhasa Apso mix, who like the rest of his family, really enjoys life — the kind of dog that always puts a smile on my face.
Manny was in the office this day for his distemper and bordetella vaccine boosters, as well as an anal gland “tune-up.” In his chart, our technician, Angela, also wrote “licking himself a lot lately.”
Thinking that this must be some type of skin issue, I gave him a thorough going over from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, under his belly, and up and down each of his legs. But, I could find no lesions of any kind — no sign of fleas, no Staph infection pimples, not even any redness. Somewhat exasperated at this point, I finally asked his owners, “Isn’t he supposed to be biting or chewing or licking his skin somewhere?”
They both looked at me blankly. Then, Jo, with wide eyes and a slight smirk, piped up. “Oh, he’s just been licking 'Mr. Dinkle.'"
“Mr. Dinkle?” I queried. Then the obvious hit me. “Ohhhh … Mr. Dinkle!”
I glanced at Dan who rolled his eyes in feigned embarrassment, and while turning away, let out an exclamatory “Jo!!!”
Although I have found over the years that the filter between my mind and mouth has become more porous, I am pleased to report that, for the most part, I remained silent and continued my exam.
A more extensive check of that area still revealed no discernible problem. He had no evidence of “balanoposthitis,” or inflammation of the prepuce, which causes that yucky, green discharge some male dogs develop. Neutering is usually the cure for that, and Manny was “cured” when he was four months old.
I did note a recent haircut. Perhaps Manny received an inadvertent knick or some clipper burn to that sensitive area which suddenly made it more interesting to him. But that was just speculation.
The rest of his visit was uneventful. Manny took his vaccinations well, and the anal gland expressions went about as well as can be expected.
So, did I help Dan and Jo with Manny’s little problem? Actually, I’m not sure I did. At least I don’t remember. But, there was quite a bit of laughter involved, if that’s any consolation.
If granted a “do-over,” I would tell them to reprimand him sternly and divert his attention. Throw him a ball or toy, or take him for a walk. But, do not under any circumstances, give him a treat. This type of behavior should not be rewarded.
As medical professionals, we veterinarians are inundated with many colorful words and phrases for various body parts and functions, many of which are not printable. I liked Jo’s nomenclature, however, and made a mental note to add it to my own repertoire of medical terms. One never knows when something like that might come in handy.
The next morning while taking a shower with the “Today Show” blaring in the background, I found myself reminiscing about Manny’s visit. That’s not as creepy as it sounds. Most of my best column ideas originate there, and I thought this lively tale of Manny and his family would be a nice change of pace from my usual sad fare.
Just then on “Today,” a segment aired about the unfortunate Gen. David Petraeus and his ill-fated affair. My wife, Bonnie, who was gathering laundry at the time, made what was probably a rhetorical comment: “Why do men do that?”
Rhetorical or not, thanks to Manny and Jo, I had an answer. “I think it might have something to do with Mr. Dinkle.”
Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and he raises Southdown sheep.