Tuesday, June 14, 2011
My crazy kids
Today, for the first time, I actually wanted to trade places with Brandon. I'm talking more than just the fleeting moments of envy I've had over some of the things he gets to do (I'll be honest, I think some of the obstacle courses and leadership challenges look like a TON of fun). I mean that there was a point today where if I could have pushed a button and switched places, I would gladly have endured military PT in the Alabama heat to get out of what I was doing.
I took the dogs to the vet. Both of them. By myself.
If you've never met my dogs, you're probably thinking, "So what? How bad could it have been?"
I'm pretty sure we'll never be allowed back there again.
Some history on my babies: They are both rescues. They both came from pretty bad situations. They both have issues. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death. But they are not easy dogs. Ralph has major anxiety issues. We've been working on it for years, and we've had a lot of improvement. He used to be on meds (valium and prozac) and a strict behavioral regimen. In the last six months, we've been able to take him off medication completely and he's been fantastic-- almost perfect even. . . until Brandon left for training. Ralph is very much Brandon's dog. . . which stings a little, since he was actually my birthday present and I'm the one who takes care of him. But Ralph chose Brandon as his master and Brandon is very much a security blanket for his anxiety. So with "Dad" out of town, Ralph's anxiety is back with a vengeance.
Fiona is actually great. She's very low anxiety and would be perfectly behaved if she were the only dog in the house. But she has a low tolerance for Ralph, and when he goes crazy, she does too.
Anyway, we normally don't take them to the vet at the same time because they have been on different vaccination schedules, and Brandon and I always go together. . . so it's usually not that big of a deal. But this time, they were both due for bordetella boosters and needed refills of their heartworm preventative, so I didn't think twice about scheduling them together.
I loaded them into the car and drove to the vet-- a new vet. First mistake.
I realized I was in for trouble as we were walking to the door. They were both straining and pulling on their leashes. When we walked in the door, they went crazy. I was trying to check them in, and they were pulling at the bit to get to a puppy in the corner.
The receptionist wanted me to fill out two pages of questions. . . ugh. So I took the dogs to a chair, and started trying to write, while they were pulling and fighting to get free. The paperwork looked awful, because everytime I tried to write something, the dogs jerked my hands. It seriously looked like a 2 year old had scribbled all over it in ink pen.
Fiona, who is a little bit dominant, decided to "mark" the waiting room as hers. Since she had just peed outside, she marked by pooping. I didn't notice it, and stepped on it while walking the paperwork back to the front. . . tracking poop across the floor with every step.
I just left everything and took the dogs outside. A quick walk around the building and they both got under control. We went back in the waiting room and they started waiting nicely. Whew.
Until a man brought in his pet cat. Oh $#!@. My dogs hate cats. Our neighborhood has several strays, and my dogs think it is their personal job to protect our yard by threatening the cats with the loudest, most ferocious barking you can imagine. So when the cat came inside, well, my dogs started acting like rottweilers. They puffed out their chests and let the whole world know that they were not going to tolerate any cats in that waiting room.
Then things got worse. Ralph, super excited that Fiona had joined him in his barking, jumped her. This is a game they love to play. They wrestle all over the house. It's all good fun to Ralph, who happily "loses" every time (and is quite dramatic about it too-- think of a kid playing "cops and robbers" and having a dramatic death scene. Ralph always ends up on his back playing dead, then jumps up for more). I know that they are just wrestling and not actually hurting each other. But to someone who doesn't have dogs, or whose dogs don't play the wrestling game, it looks vicious. So, of course, the cat person is staring at me in horror, probably thinking that my dogs have rabies or something and are about to kill each other.
I took the dogs outside. Again. They calmed down, I sat on a park bench, and they waited nicely at my feet, sitting at attention and obeying my commands. Why, oh why, can't they act like that in front of other people?!
Then, the receptionist waved us back in. I was groaning with dread. At this point, there were two dogs and a cat in the waiting room. It was a not a situation that I wanted to walk into .
Surprisingly, the dogs walked in nicely. I guess they had worn themselves out. I felt the faintest glimmer of hope as we sat in the waiting room and they remained quiet at my feet. Maybe the worst was over?
Ha. Haha. Hahahahaha. I am soooooo delusional.
We got ushered back to the exam room, and the vet joined us a few moments later. When he walked in with his white coat on, Ralph suddenly remembered, "Hey, I hate those guys!" and decided to hide under my chair and bark as loudly as possible. The vet thought he was funny (thank goodness) and nicknamed him Killer. Strangely enough, this is the second dog I've had that has been nicknamed that by the vet. . . the other was a full blooded Yorkie, and Ralph is half Yorkie. Maybe it is the breed? I don't know. Anyway, they finally won him over with treats and proceeded with the exam. Of course, then Ralph morphed from a pretend Rottweiler back into the scared baby that he really is, clinging to my arms and hiding his face in my shirt. Poor guy. In moments like that, I remember why he acts so badly in scary situations. He really is a terrified little dog who has never gotten over his rough start in life.
Fiona was perfect for her exam, of course. She is the mature adult. I could almost see her rolling her eyes at Ralph. I'm sure that in doggy world, the conversation was something like this.
Ralph: I'm scared! I'm scared!!!! Hold me! I don't want a shot. Please, don't give me the shot. Mom, do I really have to have a shot?! Please make that man go away. I'm really really scared! Is that a needle? Oh no!! Go away. Please go away. I'll be good, I promise! Just don't give me a shot!
Fiona: You ridiculous crybaby. We do this every six months, aren't you used to it by now? Suck it up and get over it. Why can't you grow up?
They gave the dogs cheap little treats, and Fiona, of course, spit hers out on the ground and walked away in disgust. Apparently, they had never had a dog do that, and it shocked them. I explained that Fiona will only eat the high end treats and people food. . . and only healthy people food. Give her a cheeto and she will spit it out. Give her a carrot and she will devour it. Like I said-- she's a mature grown up. Ralph, meanwhile, happily devoured at least a dozen treats straight out of their hands.
I breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over, but unfortunately, the worst was still to come. We had to go into the waiting room and pay. At our old vet, the check out was separate from the waiting room. . . not here. And at this point, the waiting room had six dogs and three cats in it. That's when I started trying to somehow magically switch places with Brandon. The drill sergeants could yell at me all they wanted. I would do pushups and sit ups until my muscles were so weak they couldn't hold me up any longer. I would march around in those longs sleeved uniforms and heavy boots in the heat of the day. I would eat MREs. I would go without sleep. Anything, ANYTHING to get out of walking into that waiting room with my badly behaving dogs.
I took a deep breath and braced myself for the storm. The next few moments were a complete blur of barking, growling, another dog attacking Ralph, Ralph jumping on Fiona, Fiona trying to climb up my leg, me tripping over their leashes, cats screeching, vet techs running out to help-- so chaotic that I ended up paying $24 that I didn't owe and only signed a "c" on the credit card receipt. Another person held the door for me so that I could run out as quickly as possible, leaving my sunglasses and inkpen behind.
As soon as we hit the outside air, they were back to normal. Walking nicely beside me, waiting patiently for me to open the car door, riding in their respective seats without budging, waiting patiently at the door for me to find the house key, and now they are curled up together on the couch napping.
Oh, how I love my well behaved dogs. I just wish I could take those dogs to the vet instead of the maniacs they become.