Thursday, July 31, 2008

With Experience Comes Wisdom

Kittens aren't the only dangerous, vet-dismembering monsters among us. Twenty-odd years ago, when I first got involved with Greyhound adoption and brought dogs from the track to my local vet clinic for heartworm tests and rabies vaccinations, the vet there said it was a bad idea.

Greyhounds are vicious, he said. Greyhounds aren't suitable to be pets, he said. Greyhounds are killed after they're finished racing for a reason, he said. Of course, I ignored him.

Fast-forward a few years. By now, I've brought a few hundred Greyhounds through his doors. When I arrived with three new dogs in tow, the client ahead of me had brought in a Cocker Spaniel puppy for a nail trim. A puppy-mill Cocker Spaniel puppy, recently bought from a shopping mall pet shop.

The vet ushered the lady and her little dog into an examining room, closing the door while my Greyhounds and I stayed in the waiting area. Interesting noises soon followed.

They included much banging and crashing, barking and screaming, assorted bad language, and a call for the assistant -- who normally was only needed on farm visits to help with cattle. The reinforcements arrived, and the noises were repeated. Finally the door opened.

Puppy-mill Cocker was by now blowing enraged spit bubbles out the side of a gauze muzzle and had his nails trimmed, all right. The saucer-eyed owner was cowering in the corner. The walls, floor, and table in the examining room were liberally splattered with blood and, ah, other things. One whiff confirmed the puppy had let go with bladder, bowels, and anal glands. I was truly impressed by the amount of ick that could come out of so small a dog.

The blood was the vet's. He excused himself to wash up and bandage his arms. The assistant was left to clean up the mess.

After Cujo Junior was gone, the vet came over to draw blood and vaccinate my three brand new racetrack rejects. As usual, they stood perfectly calm, wagging their tails, through the whole thing.

And the vet said, "I wish they all were Greyhounds."

I just smiled.

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