I have been informed by current dog owners (CDO’s) that it is important to get your new dog a “puppy check” a.s.a.p. I am a new puppy owner and have not owned a dog since childhood and apparently this is a check-up to verify if you have a healthy or sick dog. This “puppy check” will establish him with a Vetinarian to gain a history and secure his records. Hmm…. very similar to what I did when my kids were born, however, that was covered by insurance. My dog was a quasi rescue and did not come with any records. Maybe the Vet will conduct a back round check. I’ll have Charly-dog present a puppy print to be submitted to the canine data bank.
I did not grab the yellow pages and seek out an established Primary Vet right away, instead, I went the cheaper route and did a one stop shop at the local S.P.C.A to get his initial set of required shots. Also known as “The Clinic”. I have worked in the hospital environment and for all of you who work or have worked in a hospital environment; back then the word CLINIC meant: “Line ’em up, step right up, one ata time folks…get your shots here..hurry while they last..that’s right little lady don’t be shy”; with a waiting room full of the village people.
My 15 year old son accompanied me to the clinic clutching the pup close to his chest as if he were cradling a football and running for that 60 yard T.D.to get to the head of the Free Shot Line. We stood in line for over an hour along with other dogs all senior to our pup. My son tired of holding Charly-dog and decided to set our mongrel down to mingle with the pack, at the ripe old age of 7 weeks. Apparently my son missed the lecture in the car regarding immunities, vaccines, and death by Parvo!
The line moved slowly toward the table that dispensed the paperwork. They asked for my ID and the name of the dog and DOB.(date of birth). The pup was 7 weeks and was born sometime in July so I made my pre-calculous privately schooled teenage son do the math.
We were then escorted to another table ( the paying one) and gave our donation. We waited in line as I witnessed the Vet-du-jour give vaccines consecutively to all the dogs as he inched down the line without taking a breath. It came to our turn and I looked at our new puppy resting in my arms staring at me with those Margeret Keane eyes. My heart was pounding and I was near tears. I couldn’t watch as this fully Tattooed, braided pony-tailed with no credentials in view VET (?) approach my pup with a hypo from the 1950’s…….. I made my son do it.
It went so quickly and not one yelp from our puppy, not even a sniff. This master with a needle had a soft touch equipped with precision that didn’t even tussle a piece of fur. I was so impressed, I slipped the VET a twenty and mentioned that my son is due his tetanus soon and maybe he’s free on Tuesday……..
I may have spoke too soon; a few days later our pup came down with a doggie cold or as the professionals call it: kennel cough; and, as newbie owners and ignorant about puppy ailments, we did what responsible adults do…….dialed doggie 911.
It was a weekend and we did not do step one of new puppy ownership: Get Established With A Vet. So we had to go to an Emergency Vet Hospital, on a weekend, with an On Call Vetinarian….This visit cost nearly the same amount of money as a one nights stay at the Hilton with a spa package.
The Vet receptionist had us enter through the “sick pet door” where we were quarantined in a corner seat in the waiting area. We were greeted much like a regular hospital E.R.; as their initial instructions were:
“Please sign in and fill out this paperwork”.
Our puppy was lying listless in my lap and displaying shallow breathing. We have only owned this dog for seven weeks and I am presented by the receptionist at the Vet E.R. with a vibrant blue page to be filled out immediately. I mentioned to her that my dog will be the color of this form by the time I finish with this paperwork. She turned away smacking her gum to the tune of Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”……..
I noticed at the bottom of this Blue Page there were two options that required One mandatory check mark:
Option 1: ( short version) We will take the pet and do everything possible to save it costing you at the least $750.
Option 2: DNR.
I was hoping that DNR had a different meaning than the one used in People Hospitals. I was thinking that maybe Vet clinics had their own special vernacular and acronyms that pertained to animals, and that maybe their version of DNR meant something less devastating. Like:
Do Note-the Reading-material-while-you-wait……. or…..Dinner Needs Reheating… or…. Did-you Need-to-Rethink-this-puppy-thing?….
As it turned out our pup had a mild form of a kennel cough and just needed a dose of antibiotic and we didn’t need to go to Eddie Bauer in search of an oxygen pup- tent. Our little pupster came through with flying colors as I stayed curled up next to him throughout the night and day.
I know I inherited this mutt a mere seven weeks prior to his illness and my attachment to him was still in a foreign stage to me. I know I was riddled with
guilt despair when I was faced with the decisions of those two options listed on the required Royal Page. I know that in those fatal few seconds in between my puppy’s breaths, thoughts flashed through my mind of various views before my pen decided to land in the blank box nestled near the bottom of the Bright blue Form. My mind was being coerced into choosing between an eight week weakling that I barely knew that could stiff me for a giant Vet bill or Do Nothing Right-now……
I know you are dying to know which option I chose…..
That is not an option………
spread the humor.