At 1:45 p.m., I laced up Polo and Clover as if we were going for a walk. They headed straight to the back gate, ready for a second trip through the neighborhood. When I gently pulled their leashes in the opposite direction, the direction of the car, Clover immediately sat down and refused to budge. She knew we were headed for the vet.
Poor Polo didn’t know. She’s never sick. She just gets shots and boarded once a year. But Clover has had all sorts of things, including surgery to remove some weird calcium deposits in an elbow. She knows.
When we arrived at the vet, Polo remembered, “Ah, yes. This is the place for shots.” She spent as much time as she could for the rest of the appointment hiding under a bench. Clover cried nonstop. My children were better behaved as toddlers at the pediatrician’s.
The name of the veterinary office we use is called Compassionate Care Animal Hospital, and compassion is the operative word. The super sweet receptionist bent down to pet Polo and Clover when we arrived. Another vet tech heard Polo and Clover were there and came in just to say hi.
The vet knows them by sight. We live in town, but he and a lot of other folks live in the country. He said his wife wanted him to find a dog that would not chase chickens but would chase foxes. He told her that was a lost cause.
I bet that kind of anecdote doesn’t come up in big-city vet offices.
The vet asked about my kids. He remembered that the first time I brought in Polo and Clover, the kids came with me, each clutching a new puppy. I said they were both in high school now, and the vet shook his head. “They grow up fast,” he said.
“It takes awhile before they listen to you, before they decide Mom was right,” said a new vet tech I didn’t know, who was assisting in the examination.
“How long does it take?” I asked her.
“Oh, it took both of mine a year or two of college,” she said.
I sighed. “Okay.”
“They just have to learn some things on their own. It’s like a right of passage. You can’t tell them anything. Not like these guys,” she said, nuzzling Clover while she held her steady to receive two shots.
I suppose she’s right. These dogs are now 4 1/2 years old, well past their teenage years in dog time. They have never once talked back to me.