I am about to write an article that will likely alienate approximately 50% of you. It is with that understanding in place that I have decided to write it anyway because a) even the alienated ones might find it somewhat entertaining and b) I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth in the name of diplomacy.
Here’s the thing: I don’t like dogs. It’s fine to say so, right? The maybe not-so-fine part is that in spite of my dislike of dogs (and all animals in general, really) I am a dog owner. Yes, that’s right. I said owner, not parent. You will never ever hear me refer to myself as my dog’s “mommy” and since I’m being honest, I will also admit to the fact that I cringe a little every time some well-meaning stranger does.
Buying a dog would never have been my choice, or my husband’s for that matter. We bought (yes bought, not adopted) our very expensive dog as a Christmas gift for our children nearly three years ago. We did so with the full understanding that while the dog was to be a gift for our children, the ultimate responsibility for aforementioned dog would fall squarely on our shoulders. And so in spite of our distaste for animals, we did our research on various dog breeds and settled on one we could live with. In buying the dog, we were committing not only to a hefty upfront expenditure, but also to the care and concern for the dog throughout his entire life.
With that commitment in mind, we have diligently taken our dog to our local pet store for his immunizations on a timely schedule. We have also spent a small fortune on various dog products and services, including, but not limited to: immunizations, heartworm medication, edible pig ears (ew), A+ rated dog food, memory foam dog beds, dental treats, grooming, in-home boarding, toys that squeak, toys that bounce and toys that claim to be long-lived when actually our dog devours them within a day or two. All that to illustrate the point that while we do not particularly care for dogs in general, we’ve gone to great lengths and expense to ensure that our particular dog is well cared for.
And he is.
Our children, who range in age from six to eighteen, love that dog. They dote on him and play fetch with him and spend hours petting him. They’ve even been known to carry him around like a baby, a move you’d think the dog would despise but by all accounts he seems to actually prefer that mode of transport. In truth, I can tell you that the dog has even grown a bit on my husband and me. My husband takes him along for morning runs and I don’t wince when he lies at my feet when I work from my laptop. He’s a part of the family. Even those of us that don’t necessarily love him are at least a little bit fond of him. That is why I take great offense to the way the vet treated us last week.
After a recent camping trip, my husband (upon bathing and checking the dog for ticks) noticed that the skin on the dog’s back was a bit splotchy. Within a matter of days, it became clear that something was wrong with the dog; he gnawed incessantly at a spot on his back. Given his otherwise normal behavior, we decided to treat the spot at home and keep a close eye on it. As soon as it became obvious that the spot was not healing, we took the dog in for his first vet appointment.
His first and last visit to that particular vet, I might add.
The vet seemed indignant that, at almost three years old, our dog had never been to a vet. Whereas my husband and I felt that his regular visits to the pet store clinic were suffice, the vet clearly thought otherwise. I suppose if I were a dog person I might feel the same, especially if my livelihood depended upon it. The bigger concern for me was that this particular vet (and those in her office) seemed to question whether the sore on our dog’s back was in fact a result of some sort of dog abuse. Never mind the fact that we paid a small fortune for the dog in the first place, much less would no doubt be faced with a hefty vet bill for the appointment. If we had purposefully injured the dog, why on earth would we take him to the vet for care? Unless of course we suffer from some twisted case of canine Munchausen by proxy (which I can assure you we most certainly do not).
The good news is that our dog is on the mend. The bad news is that his vet office visits and course of antibiotics have cost us about what we’d pay for a new iPad, which kind of makes me wonder when some entrepreneurial genius is going to invent a virtual dog app that will offer all the cute and cuddly without the hassle of the real thing. I’d totally buy it.