Category: Animal Fiction


Chapter 12 Out, Out Damned Spot

Mamoo must love Vets. Now that we live in the Keys, far away from Dr. R, she takes me to one and then to another. I never get to go back again to the same one.
“I’m fussy Sammy, because I love you and I want you to have the best,” she said. “Not anyone will do for you. You must have a Cornell man.” I heard this again and again. Now I know what Canadians are because I am half one myself. I know what Que(be(cois are because I have visited in their country. Mamoo has a good friend who is from Germany with a German dog and I am familiar with German dogs anyway. But I don’t know what a Cornell man is and I get the feeling I never will.
Dr. R. wasn’t a Cornell man, because I heard Mamoo lamenting about it, although she liked him anyway.
“Cornell has the finest Veterinary College in the world. Graduates from there are up on all of the latest medical advancements and surgical skills. These vets around here can’t even clean teeth,” she would moan every time we started on a new one.
It was easier when we lived in Kentucky where we always went to Dr. R for the needles, baths and all the disgusting things he would do to me when Mamoo wasn’t looking.
I am very sore after I have been to the vets because of the pinching and pulling and the needles stuck in me. They peer in my ears and eyes. And the waiting to get in. A sample of eternity! One time at “new vet number 4,” we sat for hours watching all the cats and dogs in the neighborhood come and go. One cat didn't come out again. That was really good for the nerves. We had to wait there until the very end, because we didn't have an appointment and we were going to be “worked in.” It was getting dark for Pete’s sake, when this new vet finally decided to take a look at me. Same routine, stick it in, pinch, pull. They never get tired of it.
This time, however, it was different. Mamoo got really excited when new vet number 4 told her he was a Cornell man. At last, I could see one. Quel disappointment! He looked and smelled like the rest of them. He talked the same too. I think I will have this one for a long time, though, because Mamoo is really snowed.
His name is Dr. Pollen. He is very tall and craggy-faced, imposing with large hands and soft fingers (All the better to poke you with, my dear!). He responded well to compliments and Mamoo was really pouring it on. Mamoo has always said, you can tell a man anything -- no matter how extreme -- and he will believe it as long as it is complimentary. I’ll vouch for that!
I’ve told you all the bad stuff about the vets but there is some good. For some reason, the most beautiful girls hang around the vet places. They hug me, pet me, and coo all over me. Sometimes they give me rubdowns and baths. Sometimes they hold my paw when the vet is going to do something especially nasty to me. Their names are Laura, Donna and Christine; sometimes Cindy, Linda and Beth. They all smell the same: a little doggy and a little catty, mixed with flowers and girl smell. They call me handsome as in “Hyah there, handsome.”
Mamoo always said, “Don’t get too thrilled with yourself, Sam. Those girls are paid by the vet to be nice to the patients, although I can see why they go over and above the call of duty for you.” I can see why; can’t you?
My big vet experience started when Artemisha and her handsome husband, Dr. Mac, came to visit. I love both of them with all my heart. She pets me all the time and talks the most romantic nonsense you ever heard. She never forgets to feed me on time as Mamoo is prone to do when she is busy on the phone.
One day, while taking one of our walks to check out the neighborhood, Dr. Mac noticed a big lump near my eye. I knew it was there, but by now had gotten used to it. Mamoo had mentioned it to the myriad vets, but they had told her to leave it alone. The lump hadn’t bothered me until Dr. Mac noticed it. Now, of course it bothered me all the time. Mamoo looked at it every day. “It keeps getting bigger, Sam, and it looks awful,” she said. “We may have to go to the vets if I can’t heal it myself.” She would break off a spiky leaf of the aloe plant that grows in the large concrete pot by the pool and smear the inside gooey stuff on my lumpy sore. Obviously it didn’t help. Dr. Mac had looked at it thoroughly, but he is a people doctor and I needed a vet.
“Better have it looked at, Peggy,” Dr. Mac said one evening. “It could be a tumor.” Mamoo turned white at the sound of the word. It didn’t sound like such a bad word to me. Whatever it was, it itched and when I scratched it, it bled and oozed disgustingly. I couldn’t keep my paws off of it. Pretty soon it was a big, running sore. I could see a shadow of something there when I rolled my eyes. Mamoo looked at me a lot while drumming her fingers on the table.
“I don’t have time to do anything about it while Artemisha and Dr. Mac are here. But as soon as they leave to go back up to Canada, I am going to get you to the vet. Aren’t we lucky to have a Cornell man right here in the Keys?” She hummed to herself.
Now, let me explain something to you. Mamoo faints at the sight of blood. She even has a hard time getting little capsules into my mouth. I have trained her to put them on the floor so I can eat them up. You can imagine what a state she gets into if I have to go to the vet. I have to have a bath. She even makes up her bed and puts on clean panties. She said her mother told her do it when she was a little girl.
The Sunday Dr. Mac and Artemisha left, I knew what was coming. After Mamoo cried for a day or two (she hates to see her friends go away), she dried her eyes and off to the vet we went. I, of course, bathed and dipped. Mamoo in her clean underwear.
The wait this time wasn’t long. Thank God. Three cats had started their favorite rendition from EVITA and my ears hurt when they hit a sour note. Laura came to get me; the extra hugs meant I was going to get it. And I did. Rear-end poking, needle-sticking and lump-feeling. Lots of uums and aahs. Mamoo started to cry. This was really going to be bad! She took a long look at me, nodded to Dr. Pollen AND LEFT ME! AUGGGGH!
Terror reigned. Laura took pity on me. She gave me hugs and sweet words, put me in a cage and locked me in. The waiting was the hardest part; the waiting and the wondering.
By nature, I am not an anxious canine. I figure things will happen as they do with or without my worrying about it. Contemplation again. Believe me, it helps usually. But not this time! All the dogs in the adjoining cages were bandaged or snoring in their sleep. How they could sleep in those tight little cages I will never know.
"They stuck a needle in me and out I went. When I woke up I hurt like hell. Someone had cut me up and sewn me back together again,” said the Doberman bitch in the cage next to me. She looked terrible and smelled worse. Gassy, overpowering smell. Her eyes were dazed and unfocused and she was dripping saliva profusely. What were they going to do to me? Cut my eye out?
The two girls came to get me. They each looked like the girl on the road sign with big owl’s eyes on her front. They were like the sausage lady but with tee shirts instead of ribbon strips. They were foxy. I should have suspected something right then and there but my attention was on those two lovelies. I could smell liver treats coming. Wrong, wrong, WRONG!
I was taken into a small room with an examination table in it. Dr. Pollen was dressed in a green robe and a mask. MAMOO WHERE ARE YOU! The two girls and the doc strapped me down on the table. This is it, I thought. It’s over. Good-bye world. I was now having mean thoughts about Mamoo; I was sending her scorpion thoughts.
Laura put one of those web nets over my mouth making it impossible to bite anyone. (She might have been right about that.) Both of them held my head still and the doctor came at me with another needle. This time he stuck it close to my eye and, would you believe, my face fell off. I couldn’t feel my ear or jaw or anything. It was dead as a doornail. I could move my eye-that’s all. The doc poked around, pinching here and there. Nothing. What in the world was happening? Laura came at me with a brush full of soap lather and a razor, the kind Mamoo uses to shave her eyebrows. She put the suds on my head and SHAVED THE HAIR OFF! Not what I expected.
Wait...they weren’t through with me yet. The worst was coming. The Doc took a small knife and cut on my face. I couldn't feel a thing, but I could hear him snipping away with some small scissors. I could hear the sound of flesh being cut, but I didn’t hurt. I relaxed and began to enjoy the nearness of those two gorgeous females and all the stroking. I knew now they wouldn’t let anything terrible happen to me.
Next came a curved needle and heavy thread, which the doc used to sew up my face-like Mamoo, does after she tears her pockets. Sewing and tying.
The next step was the worst. Christine wrapped one front paw and one back paw with white, sticky tape binding my toes. I struggled against it, but to no avail. I was hobbled for life.
It was over. They put me back in the cage to wait for Mamoo to pick me up. I was going to have a few words with her, you can be sure. Mamoo looked stricken when she arrived. I didn’t have the heart to get after her too much; after a few well-chosen words, I let her off the hook. She had a long conversation with Dr. Pollen, turned white when she saw the bill (imagine making anyone pay to go through all that), loaded me up in the car with Christine’s help. Soon I was home in my own little bed with a gigantic headache.
“According to the vet, Sam, you are anemic, which means you are low on blood,” Mamoo informed me. “Therefore I am going to feed you beef and chicken liver every day for a month.”
Like I'm heart-broken, right? She did, too. Beef and chicken liver, poached in white wine, pureed and mixed with pasta. Mamoo should write a cookbook for dogs. Maybe I'll do it after I finish this one.
The bandages on my feet were the worst after the headache went away. I couldn’t walk very well because the tight tape cut off my circulation and made my feet numb.
“We’re afraid you will scratch the stitches and open the wound with your claws. It will start to itch as it heals,” Mamoo said. “However, you are smart enough to keep your paws off yourself.” HA! I have such bad arthritis I can’t get my paw up that high anyway. Mamoo cut the bandages off. What a relief!
After a week we were back again to the vet to see good ole Cornell man. Those same two dazzlers held me again as Dr. Pollen aimed a knife right at my eye. He snipped and snapped and the teensy pieces of thread holding me together came right out. I got all kinds of pats and hugs. “Brave Boy, and Sweetums, too,” my two lovelies chorused, “and him’s still a Handsome Man.”
“Now you can go bore the neighborhood pets with a detailed description of your surgery like people do,” said Mamoo. She was right, I couldn't wait to tell Fred.
If there is a moral to this experience, it would be to watch for the knife in the back when confronted by two beautiful and willing women.

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