Today we took Rubeus to the vet for his second round of vaccines. While nothing was out of the ordinary except that I felt Murphy’s Law was at play at every turn as we left the house.
Since it was his first appointment as our furry child, tensions were running high (surprise) and we were running late (surprise again). Rubeus could sense that something was worrying us, so his fight or flight switch flipped and he began trying to flap out the window. 9 week old puppies are notoriously squirmy and this one doubly so given the amount of extra skin he is saving up for his next growth spurt. Joey drove the truck while I tried to wrangle the pupper.
Joey: “Where’s the turn?”
Alice: “Next light, stay in the right lane”
*Joey switches to the middle lane b/c Californians are bad at driving*
Joey: Oh god there’s a cop I can’t switch back can we go through the Bevmo parking lot?
Alice: Yes *Pulls puppy off shoulder*
Joey: Its a divided road should I go back around and turn left?
Alice: Yes *Pulls puppy feet out of door cup holder trap*
Joey: Should I go for it? I can’t see if that cop is there and the sign says right turn only
Alice: YES *Puppy punches Alice in face*
Clearly two separate struggle happening in the same car. After this interchange, he laid down in my lap and started trying to suckle my fingers so you know he was reverting to meltdown mode. We find our way to the vet eventually after some quick lane changing and racing Priuses off the starting line in Joey’s Georgia-plated pick up truck and park.
Rubeus doesn’t have all his vaccines yet so the vet is something of a war zone. We have to keep him in our arms at all times because the most dangerous puppy virus of them all, Parvo, lurks in the shadows. On the floors of vet offices, in the corners of parking lots, and ALL OVER THE DOG PARK dog waste waits to kill your puppy dead in 72 hours. I am making light of this, but in reality it is the scariest thing about having this pup. His puppy vaccines will make him safe at 12 weeks-ish but for now he is in danger of catching it any place a dog might pee. This puppy-hood illness renders poor pouches unable to absorb nutrients/benefits from food and water and they waste away.
Joey holds Rubeus in his arms, safe from harm and we enter the vet clinic. No one is around except for a middle aged woman with 2 small white dogs. I ring the doorbell fastened to the desk to summon the vet tech. Who cares if it makes me look needy, Joey is clutching the pup for dear life behind me and I have an appointment, dontcha know. The vet tech approaches and asks me to wait since the other woman was there first. Reasonable request, I think to myself, I will comply.
The middle aged woman next to us in the waiting room starts her check in and immediately I know that this is not going to be a “fast” process. While she was clearly a fully grown human, who has a job and a car and 2 dogs and a whole life, this woman was in need to some serious kindergarten listening skills. This is the abridged version of the conversation:
Woman: Do they need their shots?
Vet Tech: Yes, the older one needs the rabies booster and the younger one needs to renew all the usuals
Woman: Oh the younger one has had her shots
Vet Tech: I know, but now they are expired so they need them “renewed”
Woman: Oh, so the older one is good?
Vet Tech: No, he needs the rabies booster
Woman: These are service animals, can I get a certificate of health for traveling?
Vet Tech: Sure thing, but we’ll have to do the shots first.
Woman: Oh, do they need their shots?
ABSURD. This went on for what felt like eternity but what turned out to be 5 minutes. The convo ran on loop about 4 times.
After this insufferable human vacated the waiting room, she was replaced with a much more respectable human holding a 14 week old spaniel-looking puppy. We exchanged pleasantries and info about our respective pups. She did have one warning to impart. She advised that puppy training pads were not worth it after she had to pay $1,000 to have her other puppy’s stomach pumped once he ingested half a pad. I feel good about our newspaper based strategy.
Then it was finally time for us to go back!
We waited patiently for the vet. This is the same vet who cares for our elderly family dog, Fido. The clinic was chosen by my parents out of proximity to the apartment they rented before finding a house after moving to Walnut Creek in 2011. While this vet is entirely adequate, the only factors in our decision to go to this dog-tor (ha, get it?) was force of habit and the fact that is also a emergency vet hospital and has great hours for the emergencies I am sure we will have eventually, right?
So the vet walks into the exam room and it quickly becomes clear that this is going to be just as funny as a bad joke starting “so the vet walks into the exam room.” He recognizes me from when I was there with my mom and Fido last week and he starts talking to us in a much more casual way. Not like using contractions casual, more like speaking in metaphors to seem laid back casual. I am pretty strung out on a feeling at this point so I cut across his nonchalance with questions like “Are you saying there will be actual worms?” and “But really when do we get to take him to the park?” All seems well despite the awkwardness of both of our communication styles. Rubeus is deemed in good health and on track to be about 120 lbs fully grown (he weighs exactly 15 lbs right now). With all things seeming the way they should, the vet adjourns to get the vaccines.
He returns with the 2 shots and an oral something. Ru has been cool as a furry cucumber up to this point so the first shot goes by like a breeze. I guess he didn’t realize what was happening because he freaked out and jumped to his feet halfway through the second injection. The vet definitely didn’t see it coming either AND HE STABBED HIMSELF WITH THE SYRINGE. You heard me folks, the vet stabbed himself with the dog vaccine right in front of us. The he started bleeding. At first he tried to play it off by saying “Oh, that’s not blood, that’s the color of the vaccine” but then as the blood began to bloom from the wound anew he had to admit that there was something wrong. The vet leaves the room and Joey and I just stare at each other and comfort a highly distressed Rubeus. I don’t so much register what happened to the vet as I think “will this throw off Ru’s vaccine schedule?” The vet returns with a bandaid and hands me a paper towel doused in hydrogen peroxide for the vaccine splashed on my hand. I hadn’t even realized it was there, so I wipe it off and we finish the dirty business.
As we walk out to the waiting room to pay and get gone I begin to realize that i might be covered in dog vaccine. Is that bad? Will I get dog diseases? OR DOG POWERS?!?!?!? OK I know the powers thing is wishful thinking but an improved sense of smell is not something to turn your nose up at ;). We got to the car in the parking lot and realized how ridiculous that whole visit was. Without a moment’s delay we drove home, made dinner,and had a nice glass of wine to mull it all over. Ru is healthy happy and ready to hang out more in the backyard until his Parvo vaccines take effect…just like the vet apparently.