Man and Beast

Trip to the Vet

I know damn well I’m wasting my time. but I do it anyway and succumb to clickbait. Usually, the topic involves boobs, but I’m a sucker for dogs. This purports to be one of a series of pictures of dogs on the way to or at the vets. I don’t know how they differentiate, but I am convinced that dogs can tell when a ride in the car is more than a ride in the car.

My first dog was also my father’s first dog. There is a learning curve for both man and dog, as to what role each will play. Princess, the dog, never forgave my father for being slow on the uptake. I’ll offer some examples before I get to the vet trip.

The house in which we grew up had a basement that was about two-thirds finished. The old living room furniture made the trip to the basement and we had a family room. At bedtime, Princess was left in the basement. She felt she should be upstairs sleeping with us kids. In retaliation, she ate the end of the sofa where my father habitually sat.

My father upped the ante and Princess was relegated to a walk-in closet. She learned how to manipulate the doorknob. The unfinished third of the basement contained Mom’s washer/dryer and my father’s workbench. If one were to divide the space equally and snap a chalk line on the floor, dividing the two spaces, Princess’s precision could be appreciated. Once free of her closet and over the course of the night, the workbench area became her toilet. No turd or puddle of pee ever crossed the line into my mother’s space. This wasn’t about potty training, it was revenge pure and simple. It didn’t make any difference to Princess that I was the one that had to clean up after her.

My father took a job in Florida. The whole family, including Princess, got to ride in an airplane for the first time. Princess was not as enthusiastic as we were. She tried to chew her way out of the crate. To make matters worse, after hours of insult and indignity, surrounded by strangers; whose familiar face did she see? Yup, my father. We made the trip in the winter. Once at the motel, we shed our winter coats, piled them on a bed, left the dog behind, and went to dinner. We returned to find that Princess had rooted through the pile until she found my father’s brand new cashmere blazer. She chewed a sleeve off of it.

Princess loved to ride in the car. All she needed was to hear the jingle of keys and she headed for the car. Once in she would sit regally in the middle of the back seat. If somebody left a car door open, she would climb on in and wait patiently for somebody to drive away. Occassionaly, I would get in the car and pretend to drive. Princess would be in the back seat pretending to ride. She never got impatient when the car never moved. She was there for the duration. She never passed up the opportunity to ride, nor did she get carsick.

Well almost never, the exception was the trip to the vet. I don’t know how she knew. They say that dogs possess a vocabulary of a hundred words. Vet must have been one of hers. We tried spelling, didn’t work. Who knew dogs can spell? Once the decision was made it didn’t matter if she was party to the conversation or not. She wasn’t going. I would have to carry her to the car. I went on all of these excursions with my father. During the trip, she would begin vomiting and continue all the way to the vet’s office. I know now why I was drafted to go along. Somebody had to clean up the mess. On one vet trip, I got her into the car without a fight. She figured out the destination before the car hit the street and puked in the back seat.

The funny thing is, on a normal non-vet excursion, we could go past the vet’s office without a reaction. Princess made one last trip to the vet without me. I guess she was right, a trip to the vet would be the death of her.

Princess did a good job of training my father. All the dogs that followed thought he was a pretty good guy. None of them felt compelled to eat his stuff, shit in his playpen, or puke in his car. I wonder if he appreciates all she did for him?