“She’s up to date on all her shots,” I explain to the lady at the front desk, after driving over an hour to the nearest veterinarian in the area. (I’ll disclaim here that I’m sure somebody’s brother Jose conducts check-ups off the back of his pick-up here in town, but I just wasn’t into it.)
They makes some copies of the shots records and then invite me to sit in the little waiting-lobby thingy, where 10-15 people walk in and out, four (CRAZY) dogs are brought out, a pet-pharmaceutical salesman whistles and snaps at my dog, while the perro rests serenely at my feet. I am so proud.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, I’m led back into an exam room, past an overly-aggressive (overweight) labrador. The vet tech asks a few questions over the exam table, while the perro sits comfortably at my feet, once again. I explain that I’m a first-time dog owner, just got Sasha from a shelter last week, and simply want a check-up and a few minutes for general dog-care info (like nail-clipping, and food, and bathing, etc…) The vet-tech nods. Then we are left alone. I can hear the tech explaining my newbie status to the vet on the other side of the door. The vet sounds less-than-pleased. (She doesn’t have time for this, it seems.)
I sit down on the little bench on one side of the lab table that divides the little room. After a few seconds, perro lays at my feet again. Still not freaking out. Very proud.
Vet walks in. High powered woman. Stands at the counter on the other side of the table. Starts talking LOUDLY. I wince once. I can hear her and see her. Perro can only hear her (poor perro). After about a minute of loud talking, vet walks quickly around the table, into perro‘s line of sight, crouches down, and tries to grab perro‘s head. Perro makes that back-of-the-throat noise.
Vet pulls back her hands, and looks at me. “Has she ever growled like this before?” she asks.
“In the 6 days that we’ve had her,” I reply, “No. She isn’t a growler.”
“Uh-huh,” vet says, pursing her lips, “you’re going to want to watch that, carefully.”
“Ok. I mean, I keep her on a leash, and I’m trying to correct negative reactions but what about–“
“Put her up on the table,” the vet interrupts, “maybe then she’ll calm down a little.”
(Tail is currently so far between the legs that it’s touching her belly, but) I go ahead and lift Sasha onto the stainless steel table, where she cowers in fear. I start looking out for involuntary pee-pee.
Vet begins to examine. Then tells me, “you need to be really careful with her around kids, if she’s like that around me.”
“Ok,” I say, slower this time. “I’m not sure what else–“
“What’s this on her ear?!” (Interrupts vet.)
It looked like a scab to me. When we first brought her home, it was a little sore. But it scabbed up after like a day, and it’s pretty much done healing. I explain all this to vet lady.
“Looks like ringworm,” she chastises me.
“Umm, oh. Ok…”
“I’ll give you some cream for that.” She looks toward the perro‘s head. “You’re really going to want to watch out for her when you’re outside or around children. With litigation the way it is these days.”
“Yes, I will definitely do that. I’m trying to train her to–“
Vet-tech walks in. Vet begins telling the tech which meds we’re going home with. Vet-tech starts stroking perro‘s ears. Perro likes. Although perro is still freaked out.
“Be careful,” vet barks to vet-tech, “this one has already growled and snapped at me a couple times.”
Etc, etc, etc…
Moral of the story: while we thought that our new dog, Sasha, was simply skittish (victim of abuse? Hard to tell with a SHELTER DOG), it turns out that she is a vicious, child-killer, with a penchant for gnawing on human hands and faces. Further, she is so outrageously savage (and I so terribly inept), that we not only don’t get a cursory, “any questions?” from vet, we actually get abandoned in the exam room for several minutes before we’re told we should have left (several minutes ago).
However. I am stubborn, and I like this perro. So, rather than buying muzzles or contemplating euthanasia, maybe I’ll just look for a new vet.
One who doesn’t treat me like a consummate idiot, and my dog a heinous hound.
Customer service, people, come on.
PS: If any veteran dog-owners out there have any tips for correcting growling, please leave a comment.