Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Trip to the vet a real production

Once again I was reminded why I so enjoy having pets. In addition to living in a world of cat and dog hair and spending more for pet food than I do for gas, there is the opportunity to take them to the veterinarian. Sometimes I just can't wait for the appointment date so that we can all get in the car together and drive to Dr. Kelly's office.

You can tell I'm being sarcastic, right?

Taking one dog and two cats to the vet is a challenge in time management. Say the appointment is at 3 p.m. That means that about 1 p.m. the carefully mapped plan gets under way. No, it's not that far away, only 12 miles or 20 minutes. But time has to be allowed for heart-to-heart talks with my furry friends. I must first tell Digby that we are going to see the nice lady who sits on the floor and talks baby talk to him and pets him with her left hand while giving him a shot with her right. She tells him how handsome he is, that he looks younger on every visit, and sometimes even gives him a toy along with the arthritis tablets. Discussion ended, he gets in the car, excited about the ride.

Now comes the fun of packing Sullivan and Geranium in their carriers. If I am lucky, the cats haven't slipped out of the house.

From my experience, a carrier is the only sure way to transport a cat. I have tried that "sit on mommy's lap" routine. In seconds the cat can be on the dashboard or the back window ledge. Carriers keep both cat and driver safe.

They are sensibly designed for the purpose with one door and secure locking clamps.

Carriers are not the contortion chambers that old Sullivan would have anyone within hearing believe. The procedure is to take the carriers from the high storage shelf in the garage, place them on a table, open the doors, place soft towels inside with two kitty cookies, then get the cats.

I doubt that the scrawny 10-pound black cat can read the calendar or understand the telephone conversation with the vet's office, though he is a smart old fellow. It must be the way that I approach Sullivan, because at that point he runs and hides. No, I couldn't kill him, but it is aggravating.

Once caught, he fights being put in the carrier. Placing the cat in the carrier headfirst seems to work best if you don't catch its tail shutting the door. Sullivan cries incessantly. I believe if we were to drive from Michigan to California he would cry every mile of the way if his meow didn't dry up.

Digby shares the back seat with Sullivan. Geranium is placed in the front seat in her cage for good reason. She gets carsick and spits up. Somewhere between home and Dr. Kelly's, an emergency stop is made with paper towels in hand.

The arrival at the vet's office also follows a plan. First, Digby is out of the car and is given time to sniff his way around the grounds. With Sullivan still crying and Geranium gagging, the carriers are taken in and placed on the floor until it's our turn. Then Digby is brought in. He obviously is embarrassed and would like to go to the doctor's alone without so much baggage.

The three examinations are routine. The tumor in Geranium's right ear has not grown and surgery is not recommended. The infected matter is removed. Sullivan's weight is still 10 pounds; he just looks scrawny. Both cats receive feline distemper and leukemia vaccine booster shots and run under my chair to hide afterwards. Digby has lost six pounds; that's good. He screams when his nails are trimmed (complimentary) but then shakes hands with the doctor as if to thank her. He will return Aug. 23 for a shot to fight off kennel cough.

Don't you often wonder about the dogs and cats you had when you were growing up? How did they survive without all of the medical attention? We never took an animal to a vet. Neither did the relatives or neighbors.

In the meantime a handsome stray gray and white cat comes to the front porch every night about 8:30. I make sure there's a full bowl of food. That's only the right thing to do for a hungry, homeless stranger.

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