Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Lugnut" and other Tails from the Veterinarian's Waiting Room

Cosmos needed to go to the vet yesterday. Normally,I would take both boys, even if only one was being seen, but with the daily temperature in the San Fernando Valley topping at around 106 degrees, I didn't feel right subjecting Sunny to the ride unnecessarily. So, despite his howls of protest, I shut Sunny in the condo and drove off with Cozie.

Our vet has two waiting rooms... one for dogs and one for cats. Sunny has a tendency to be a bit dog-aggressive, so we are normally ushered to the cat side. The boys don't realize what is in those pet carriers, although Cosmos actually did figure it out during our last visit. He sniffed at the bars, and was delighted at the angry hissing and spitting emanating from the interior.

Today though, since I only had Cosmos with me, we went directly into the dog waiting room.
We could not miss the first 'patient' awaiting his turn. He was a Saint Bernard, 180 pounds as his proud dad later boasted. He was spread out across the bench by the front door and also draped over Dad. He looked a little nervous, but Cosmos quickly approached him with friendly intentions, and the two dogs sniffed noses.
I looked around. There was a small herding-dog variety across the room. There was a Chihuahua just finishing up paying for her visit, and leaving. (Imagine the contrast in sizes between the St. Bernard and the Chihuahua!) I made a comment about how, now that we had arrived, dogs of all sizes and variety were represented.

The doggie parents were soon engaged in earnest conversation about the wonderful qualities of their respective children. One of the girls came out from behind the counter to pet the Bernard. "It's ok, Lugnut." she reassured him.

"Lugnut?" I repeated, almost convulsed with laughter!

Dad - a very tall, skinny 20-something who was trapped in his seat by the sheer weight of his son spread across his lap, at first looked a little worried about my response, but as soon as I assured him that he had picked the perfect name for his boy, dissolved into laughter too. "He's a lug and he's a nut." Dad explained. Lugnut was there to have his lungs X-rayed.

The girl also stopped to pet Cosmos, and Molly (the herding type dog), and then Lugnut was summoned into the back room. He did not want to go. It took two vet's assistants pulling him from in front and his dad pushing him from behind to move him through the door. A resistant dog that size is quite a challenge!
That just left Molly and Cosmos in the waiting room, but that state of affairs did not last long. A very old lady with a medium sized mutt came in. The dog clearly had his mom over matched and outwitted. He pulled her all over the waiting room. She protested, but he paid her no attention. Since he was friendly, we all laughed. We knew who the boss in that relationship was!

She complained about how big he was, but when I told her that he was nothing compared to Lugnut (who she had not seen), the room burst into hysterics. Then, the vet's assistants - like they had timed their appearance - came through the door. Lugnut didn't want to be X-rayed. Would it be ok to give him a light seditive? The room burst into laughter again. We could all just envision what was going on back there. "Dad" gave the O.K., and they disappeared again.

Cosmos was called into the back to see his Dr. Florio. We were back there for quite a while, and then I was sent into the waiting room while he was taken further back for an injection and to have a lump asperated. Molly was still waiting out there; the old lady and her dog had been called in back. But there was now a very nice woman with a rescued Silky Terrorist, "Gigi," who she was brushing. I looked, laughed, and quipped "It's not easy to be beautiful."

At that moment, an Australian Shepard Puppy burst through the front doors. She was way too young to realize that she was supposed to be scared, so she quickly engaged Molly in play. Soon, our eardrums were bursting at the high-pitched happy barking. But the puppy wasn't satisfied with just Molly. Almost before I knew it, she came bounding over to me and jumped into my arms! Then she started kissing my face. Yes, she got her tongue into my mouth before I knew what was going on (Oy) and she also licked one of my eyelashes off! Then, bored with me, she traveled down the bench to visit Lugnut's dad, and then back to me and Molly again. Gigi wanted to play too, but her mom wouldn't allow her to be involved in the maylay.

It was definitely a busy afternoon. A father and daughter team came in, each holding a small terrier in their arms. (Think Jack Russell, but smaller.) The dogs wanted to join in the fun and were not leashed; they had to struggle to keep them under control. I knew that terriers could jump really high, so I asked them what the limits of their dogs were. (The dogs were 9" at the shoulder.) "Well," the father replied, "We had a six-foot wall around our property and the dogs went sailing right over it. We just raised it to eight feet." My kind of people.

A woman emerged from the back leading a poodle. Another pair of women had their dog - another mutt - delivered. A man took receipt of his dog who had had surgery. And Cosmos was delivered to my waiting arms.

We hung around a little while, waiting for them to process us and pay our bill. After 40 minutes, we realized that the staff was out of control. So since Cozie has to go back for another injection on Thursday, I asked the staff if we could just pay them then, and they quickly agreed. Lugnut's dad was still waiting for his son, Molly was called back, and the waiting room was awash in dogs. We left. To Cosmos's relief.

As for Cosmos, he has severe arthritis in both his elbows. Couple that with his badly-healed broken hip, and right now, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. But the injection series that we started him on today was something that I had used on my old boy, Achilles (long gone). It worked very well for him and I hope that Cosmos will be fine over time, too. Keep your fingers crossed for him.

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