Monday, December 15, 2008

What you won't see behind the scenes at your vet

"Oh, we'll just take Fluffy to the back to do her- that way you won't have to hold her."

This is what I told Mrs. L as I lead/pull Fluffy to the back. Fluffy and I are old foes, and I prepare myself mentally for the battle to come. Fluffy starts growling as I lead her past the double doors marked, "Employees Only." A lot of times dogs are calmer and less likely to be mean once their owners are out of sight. Many times I've taken a snarling, growling Chihuahua into the back away from it's owner and had a nice, easy physical exam and shots and been done. No so with Fluffy, however. With Fluffy it's all out war.

Fluffy is a cocker spaniel, and she has lots of people fooled. With her cute blond head and soulful brown eyes, she is the epitome of doggie innocence. However, bring her to the vet's office and she turns into a black belt of doggie ninja, the all four feet and teeth menace that is every vet's nightmare.

I take Fluffy into the back room with about three assistants and tell one, "Close the door." The instant it's closed, one drops a towel over her head. This serves many purposes, the main one being so she can't see to aim. Every time somebody touches the towel she tries to turn and bite it. While one assistant distracts her with a touch to the butt, another grabs her around the head and puts her in a cradle hold. The third quickly whips the towel away from the mouth and gets a muzzle around her nose. She snaps the muzzle and half the battle is won: she can no longer bite. She looks at us with brown eyes of ice as horrible sounds of retribution emerge from her closed lips. She keeps up a stream of growls and yips. If she could talk her owner would have washed out her mouth with soap.

I tell the assistant holding her head, "Ok, time to flip her." With most dogs the muzzle controls their main weapon, the mouth. Not so with Fluffy, Fluffy at one time studied doggie ninja with a cat, and her scratches hurt almost as bad as a cat's can. The assistant holding the head gets hold of the front legs and another assistant grabs her back legs and we flip Fluffy onto her side. With her head and all four legs pinned, she starts wiggling and peeing, pooping, and expressing her anal glands in protest. If you've never smelled anal gland, be thankful. This is a hundred times worse than the nearest landfill.

The third assistant holds her middle as Fluffy tries to wiggle and hop off of the table. With her immobilized except for her noises I can proceed to that horror or horrors, that terrible fate awaiting her, that which Fluffy fights to avoid: I trim her nails. Very carefully I trim up to the pink part of her perfectly clear nails. Each click of the trimmers in accompanied by further doggie invective as I, *gasp* actually touch her feet.

"All done," I cry triumphantly, and my faithful minions let up, the last one whipping off the muzzle as she lets go. Fluffy makes a few goes for my hands, than bites at the assistant holding her leash. I gingerly take her leash and lead her back out front. I breeze into the room where Mrs. L is waiting fretfully, wringing her hands in anxiety. "Did she do ok?" she asks me, her cloudy blue eyes searching my person for bite marks. "Don't worry Mrs. L, she did great. No problem."

As Mrs. L goes to pay her bill, Fluffy looks at me over her shoulder. You can almost hear her thoughts. "I'll be back."


Anonymous said...

We call them (chihuahuas) "pocket piranhas" I'd rather deal with a pissed off rodeo bull

Evil Transport Lady said...

ROFL!!!!!!!! Except for the anal glands.....I was in the waiting room when a dog did that, it was worse then nursing homes!

Xtine said...


My fiance has a cocker spaniel, and dear god almighty, he hates having his feet touched.

Not as badly as Fluffy, but that's a very easy scene for me to envision.

Dreamer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dreamer said...

I had a dog just like that! The vets denied that he was a problem, but I knew better. When the entire office staff disappears, you know something is up. Also, everyone was really, really nice when we walked in, everyone smiling through clenched teeth as they were mentally preparing themselves for the battle behind the "Staff Only" doors.

We had to take him to the vet because 2 of us at home muzzling him and laying him on his side like a piglet wasn't working. Of course, my problem dog grew his toenails at an unbelievable rate.

I'm my defense, I had this dog as a puppy and started him off with clipping and was calm with him, gave him no trauma, then one day at a year, he just started going crazy. Everything had been fine, no quicked nails or anything. However, once he went crazy I then did quick him because he moved on me all of a sudden. It was downhill after that.

Purple Stinky Onion said...

I had a lab, who would as my grandmother called it, "love bite" the vet everything he was touched! I am not sure the vet would call it a love bite, good lord!