By June Mathews
Jimmie and I took a long overdue mini-vacation with friends this past weekend and had a great time. Much like east Tennessee, the mountains of north Georgia are chockfull of roadside tourist traps and cheesy souvenir shops. But the scenery was beautiful, the eating was delicious and in our case, the company of good friends made it all even better.
Meanwhile, our little jaunt meant Dobbie the Chihuahua was stuck in a boarding cage at the veterinarian’s office for three days, and he was not, to put it mildly, happy about it – even though we took one of his blankets along so he could enjoy at least one comfort of home.
As you may have surmised from past columns, the creatures at our house are spoiled rotten, living a life of luxury compared to most of the animal kingdom. Even a family of raccoons that took up residence in our attic a few years ago had it made until we had the house re-roofed and the soffits secured. They haven’t given up trying to reclaim their cozy accommodations, however. One morning last week, Jimmie spied Mama Raccoon perched on the back porch railing, likely contemplating her re-entry strategy. We’re keeping our fingers crossed she doesn’t succeed in her plans.
But Dobbie is in a different category altogether. He has the run of the house, as well as the yard whenever he so desires. His humans cater to his every need, providing fresh water and two kinds of dog food daily, with lots of treats and ear scratches thrown in for good measure. He’s allowed on the furniture; he sleeps in the bed; he rides in the car. He has his own blankets and towels, not to mention a toy box full of toys.
We only pretend to own a dog. In reality, he owns a couple people.
That being said, you can see why Dobbie’s three-day confinement wasn’t much to his liking. He’s used to reclining on a sofa, not on a mere blanket in a cage. He’s used to eating supper whenever he’s ready for it, not on a set schedule with a bunch of other fellow jailbirds. And he’s used to people opening doors for him whenever he demands it.
Making matters worse – and unbeknownst to Dobbie until it happened – the last day of his stay was set aside for a series of blood draws for testing purposes. And boy, did he make his displeasure known.
“We heard him saying some cuss words back there while ago,” the receptionist wryly informed us when we showed up to reclaim our angry beast. “Y’all really need to have a talk with him about his language.”
Then on a more serious note: “We think it might be better for y’all to get him out of the cage instead of somebody bringing him out to you.”
Translated: “None of us are interested in losing a finger. Just please get him outta here.”
While no one likes to hear their “child” has misbehaved so badly that no one wants anything more to do with him, we totally understood the staff’s position. But in a way, we were glad to hear some of his old feistiness had returned. Since losing his best buddy, Shug, to heart failure in February, Dobbie hadn’t been himself. But the trauma of the weekend seemed to shake loose some of his grief.
And the pure delight on his face when we walked into the room was priceless. As soon as he saw us, he knew rescue was at hand and immediately started trying to push his way through the metal grid door. Anybody who says animals don’t experience emotion has never picked up a spoiled Chihuahua from the vet.
Being a homebody, I’ve always said the best part of a trip is returning home. I have a feeling Dobbie would say that’s definitely the best part of spending three days at the vet. So if I can help it, neither one of us will be leaving home for any appreciable length of time anytime soon.
Email June Mathews at firstname.lastname@example.org.