Dear Friends – Klady recently celebrated a birthday and I must let you know that I never, ever join in any of her increasingly aged birthday celebrations. This is not because I’m not invited (which I am), but her birthday is also a date for my very own awful life-long experience.
What do I mean?
Well, in order not to forget my annual visit to the vet and my vaccination schedule, she has deviously made her birthdate the same as a whole lot of injections for me! I know she doesn’t want to forget her pet owning responsibilities but just once (or twice) could it PLEASE slip her mind?
My loathing of vet visits started when I was just a young tender pup living in Sydney. At six months, I happily went to our neighbour’s vet practice for a check-up, only to be desexed and locked in his hot garage for an entire day! I was not impressed and thereafter, any time I was taken to a vet clinic I made sure that I bit anyone who tried to examine me.
Klady noticed that I intensely disliked this particular vet and then she also spotted the two family cats, who on seeing him or his car on our street, would hiss, turnaround and run inside the house for safety. They too had bad experiences with him and it was only when moving away, that we discovered absolutely no one in our street took their pets to him because of the fear he inspired in their animal friends.
I put this down to the fact that he was used to large farm animals, and so treated domestic pets with the same brusqueness and firmness needed to, for example, deliver a calf or deworm a horse.
I also think that he didn’t really understand that city vets must not only be good with pet rabbits, cats, guinea pigs, rats, ferrets, chickens and dogs etc, but they also must have empathy for, and be accepting of, the pet owners – no matter how eccentric they are about their fur-babies!
After this first bad experience my vet practice was quickly changed and Klady tried all sorts of tricks to calm me down; from having a tempting pocket full of treats as a reward for good behaviour, to downright bribes and promises of visits to the dog beach.
These enticements didn’t work.
Each time I went to a vet, I would make sure that I gave them a good nip and a deep snarl and in the end Klady and I went to more than 12 different practices – and no return visits with my bad behaviour! I thought I was clear of these experiences and then came Klady’s birthday again.
This time she found a local vet practice that coincidentally was on one of my daily walks. So each day we walked into the building where I was ‘introduced’ to the staff, walked to the scales for a ‘weigh-in’ and was given treats for my excellent behaviour. I was even made to stay in a consulting room so that I would become familiar with the smell (actually, the smell of true fear).
This all helped a little bit with my vet angst and so I also got to know Gareth, Hayley (my favourite), Sabine, Brit-Louise and Phil very well – and they all were kind to me, even though I was rarely on my best behaviour at vaccination time.
And now, here, we are living at World’s End – no facilities, no shops, just a tiny community with Antarctica at the end of the street.
Despite this, Klady still managed to celebrate her 2020 birthday by taking me on a 80 km car journey to meet my new vet. I promise I really tried to be good but I did slip up a little but luckily I know Klady is very well practised in making excuses for me!
So I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m somewhat mean in not celebrating Klady’s birthdays (she's had so many of them) and I’ve now come up with a solution.
Each time it is MY birthday, I will focus on Klady’s health and well-being and so will make an appointment for her to visit to the doctor for one of those embarrassing ‘women’s annual check-ups’.
This way she too will become familiar with a yearly dose of really true fear!