Thursday, June 28, 2007

dog days of summer

I had the pleasure of dropping about $200 on my chocolate lab Baci's annual checkup at the Capitol Hill Vet yesterday. As a result of that expense, my life does not feel much different or improved today. Sure, I have some peace of mind relative to my dog's health, but it's like paying for new tires -- your wallet is lighter, but the car basically drives the same. These expenses give me humorous pause. Having a blog provides an excuse to reflect on such inane matters, so here goes nothing.

Being a bit of an opportunist, I scheduled the appointment last minute when a friend asked if I'd be down with a drink after work at Belga. Baci was about a month overdue for the annual, so it was not too hard to sell my wife on the idea of me"grabbing a quick beer" after the vet. Leave it to me to weave a social event around a vet appointment. I can't exactly apologize though because, as a working dad, these windows of opportunity can be few and far between. When you stumble upon one you have to hold on with both hands and grip the shit out of it.

As I walked my meat head animal to the doc, the bag of his shit that they requested in hand, I mentally prepared myself for whatever sales pitch the lady would throw at me this time. I've been to the vet enough times to know it's not a matter of whether they will sell you on some obscure treatment; it's a matter of how they will position it. Add to the equation that I would be breaking up with them to hook up with the vet in my new part of town and you know they're going to milk me.

In the exam room, the vet went through all the motions and filled me in on the vaccination updates he would need on this visit -- the standard song and dance. Then she seemed to cast this 100 yard stare for a few seconds before telling me about some new bacteria they have heard about and how there have been a few animals (not dogs) that have been hit with it. She went on to tell me animals that drink from streams or ponds are most likely to be candidates for this mysterious bacteria. Here's how the rest of this went...


Me: Well, he doesn't really drink from streams. In fact, I don't know of any streams around.

Vet: Oh, but it might make sense just to be safe and protect him.

Me: Yeah, I don't know if it applies in this case.

Vet: We could add a strand of it to the shot he is getting today.

Me: Okay?

Vet: Then you would just need to come back in 3 weeks for a booster of it to complete it.

Me: Oh, okay. Then definitely not.

Vet: No?

Me: No.

Vet: Okay then. I just want you to be aware of the risks.

Me: Yeah...I'm just not convinced. But thanks.


In the waiting area, I patted myself on the back for shooting down that guilt trip of a sales pitch and shrugged off the vet's blatant view of me as a deadbeat dog owner. While I waited for the receptionist to swipe my card, I marveled at one of the more off putting displays of entitlement I have seen in a while: some crunchy Hill lady filling up her Big Gulp-sized Nalgene bottle at the water cooler. Then I noticed her pathetic cat in the small crate next to her and felt much, much, much better about myself.

Later at Belga we actually toasted my small victory. As we clicked our highball glasses together, my friend said what was lingering in the back of my head: "Murphy's Law -- Baci catches that mysterious shit before summer's out."

1 comment:

Rye said...

Same thing with our last vet! Heartworm, ringworm, psoriasis, tetter, you need blue start ointment! They even suggested every cat gets an EKG once a year. I imagined this cute little kitty-sized heart monitor. While adorable, it still seems pointless, so I declined. Of course they did it anyway and charged me for it. Great, now I have a meaningless printout that is supposed to show my cat's heart is fine. Never went back.

When my last cat had seizures, the 24 hour emergency vet said "we can give him a cat scan to see if we find anything." And if you find anything can you do something about it? "No, at his age, not really." Well, in that case I'll have 5 scans, and throw in a teeth cleaning.

Who the hell goes to the vet to feel worse about themselves?

Check your local humane society. Ours is very nice and no pressure.