When I'm Not Writing...Or A Day In The Life

When I’m not writing, I like keeping my furry friends company. We go on adventures together. Some good, some not so great. And there are always lessons to be learned.

Recently, a foxtail, the size of a pumpkin seed,
became embedded in the paw of our German Shepherd, Barbie. Barbie put on a brave face, insisting it didn’t bother her; meanwhile, the paw started to swell. A trip to the veterinarian was necessary.

I was grateful it was Barbie and not our Aussie Shepherd, Rio.

Rio loathes the vet. He loathes other dogs, cats, rabbits and all animals at the vet’s office. He loathes people in and around the vet’s office; the beige linoleum floor particularly gets on his nerves. Rio stays in the car. The vet must come to him, and even then, Rio will allow himself to be touched only after the vet showers him with treats. Rio loves bribes. Could be he was a politician in another life. We adopted Rio as an adult from a shelter; his questionable behavior probably stems from leftover scars. He’s taught us great patience.

In the vet’s office, Barbie sat nicely on the floor. She politely permitted the receptionist to pet her; she thought the linoleum felt cool and didn’t complain. And she pleasantly greeted the other dogs and their owners. In short, she willingly cooperated…until she met Dr. D.

Dr. D appeared innocuous enough. Picture a smaller version of Santa without the beard, red get-up or bag of toys slung over his shoulder. Barbie decided Dr. D belonged somewhere else…like in another building, and she proceeded to convince him of that. She barked, growled and did everything in her power to display her true feelings. Consequently, she had to be sedated.

I left and returned hours later to pick up my little friend. I did. Then I waited to pay the bill. Dr. D happened to be sitting behind the receptionist. He was on the telephone. His conversation went like this:

“Louie? Dr. D. here. Go ahead on that remodel. I decided to expand the family room, after all. (Laughs) Yeah, I need lots of room for the grandkids. I know it’s gonna cost more money, but let’s use the Portuguese, hand-painted ceramic tile…”

And so on. I started to sweat. Just how much did one foxtail removal cost?

I ended up paying enough to tile the entire family room, with leftover pieces to use as decorative trivets for an intimate dinner party. Barbie gave me a groggy, “I told you so” look. I vowed never to return to Dr. D again. If he’d just taken the few minutes he’d spent on the phone with his contractor and used them instead on Barbie and me, all of us would have felt satisfaction. And Barbie would have remained his patient. The takeaway: Tact is an underrated trait. Dr. D lacked the sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others. And Barbie is an excellent judge of character.

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4 years ago