Wednesday, December 03, 2008

First trip to the vet

I'm being spied on. By a dog in panties.

Finding a vet is not easy. I've known bad vets. Ones who care more about the money than the pet. So, I asked people who have dogs. I did a Yahoo search and read reviews. Then, I started calling and pricing vaccinations, County licensing, and spaying.


Planned Pethood Plus has $70 spaying clinic, but they are booked for December and are forming a waiting list for January. No clue who the vet is.

PetSmart was $250 plus $25 if she's in heat. Vaccinations would be about $30. Office visit would be $34.

The extra fee for her being in heat was a surprise to me. I've never dealt with a dog in heat before. I always did the Responsible Pet Owner thing and had it done at 6 months. So, I kept calling.

Vet #1 was $250 for spaying plus $35 if she's in heat. Vaccinations would be $45 plus an office visit fee.

Vet #2 was $250 to spay, but it went up to $270 if she's over 60 lbs. If she's in heat, it's another $35. If she's ever had a litter of pups (and the doctor would determine this on the spot), it's another $85. They could also do a laser treatment on the surgery site to reduce inflammation and pain. For another $15. Vaccinations are $59 plus an office visit fee. The County license is included in that, but they didn't give me the breakdown of the cost.

Vet #3 was $160 to spay (for dogs 40-61 lbs), plus $35 if she's in heat. But the assistant said the vet doesn't like to do spaying while the dog is in heat. "The risk of excessive bleeding is just too high," she said. "He'd rather wait until it's safer."

Hmmm. That was interesting. No one told me that before.

"The vaccinations run $45 plus the visit if we don't do it with the surgery," she said. "And that includes the County license. It's not mandatory, but the pound will fine you if she's ever picked up without it. It's just 10 bucks to have a license on file."

This lady was full of information. "It's the first of the month, so call the Animal Shelter. They have a few certificates each month for $35 off of spaying. Just call and see if they have any, then go pick one up before they run out." She gave me their phone number and directions to the shelter. No one else had told me about this certificate.

Guess which vet I picked?

So, Matsi went for her "New Pet Exam" yesterday. The assistant held a treat so she'd sit still for her picture (to keep in her file). Matsi sat very still and pretty.

"What a good girl!" the assistant cooed.

"She'll do 'shake' and 'down,' too," I said. The assistant tried it and Matsi happily complied. More treats.

The assistant scanned her for a microchip. I held my breath. It seemed inconceivable that a dog this well-trained would not have a chip.

No chip. Hoorah!

More treats for Matsi for holding still.

The vet came in and made a joke about Matsi's panties. She licked his hands as he examined her.

"She looks good," he said. I told her how skinny she was a week ago. Yesterday, I had to loosen her collar. She's filling out!

He checked her teeth. "She's between a year and two," he said. He looked again. "Closer to the two mark, I'd say." He ruffled her ears. "She could be full Lab, but something in her face seems different. She might be some kind of mix." I don't really care. He explained about the "heat" process and what to expect, about waiting to spay her, and then we scheduled that for January 9th.

She held still again for her shots. More treats. The whole office was falling in love with her, too.

The vet walked out to the receptionist's desk with us. "Just the shots and tag today," he said. She went to the computer and removed the office visit charge. Gotta love this vet.

"This is why I work for a vet's office and not the shelter," said the assistant. "Here, all the animals already belong to someone else. At a shelter, I'd be taking them all home!"

So, home we went. This pooch is showing more smarts each day. She cracks me up, too!

Matsi was asleep under the coffee table. Something startled her and she raised up, smacking her head hard on the table. As we cooed "Oh no!" and "Is she all right?", she brought her head out from under the table and literally put her paw on the top of her head, where she'd smacked it. I've never seen a dog do that before! Except in cartoons.

The other day, I took her outside to...well, use the outside. She wanted to play, but I'd left her ball inside. She went barreling down the hill to our two fruit trees - a peach tree and an apple tree. The peach tree had a low-hanging branch with a peach still clinging to it.

Matsi ran to the branch, grabbed the peach and pulled until it was free. She turned around a ran back up the hill. Straight to me. And dropped the peach at my feet, wagging her tail and waiting for me to play fetch with it.

No kidding.

We did, until it fell apart. Just before bedtime, we went out again. She disappeared in the dark at the bottom of the hill. And re-emerged with an apple. And dropped it at my feet.

Again, no kidding.

This morning, my mother was home sick. I said goodbye to Matsi and left to take the kids to school and go to work. Just after the garage door closed, Matsi went to my mother in her room, whining and whimpering. Mom put on slippers and took her outside, assuming that's what the fuss was about.

Matsi didn't need to "go." She ran back and forth in the yard, whining. She went to the fence by the driveway, looking to where I park and whimpering. She carried on for some time, until Mom took her back in the house, where she whined at the garage door.

Mom is convinced, Matsi was looking for me.

That just makes my heart melt, you know? From an empty belly, alone out in the freezing wet and cold, to a full belly with lots of love and a wood-burning stove to snooze by every night. And for us, a void filled by someone who focuses all of our positive energy, and gives so much of it back. We're all having a Merry Christmas already.


Ronjazz said...

A real gift, this is. Sometimes life does offer something that we actually need. And Matsi was a need, as well as needed. Great for all of you, Jones.

3 Magpies said...

What a precious pet! You both are lucky to have found each other. Pet Matsi on the head and tell her woof woof from Kentucky!

Sassy Blondie said...

Holy crap, Blogget!! I'm SOOOO happy that you guys rescued that poor, sweet thing! You know I love my babies,and I rescued them all. Great work on getting her to trust you too. A dog whisperer indeed.

Blogget Jones said...

Thank you, thank you! And I agree -- we all needed each other. She's the perfect pet for us. Except the in-heat thing. That's nasty to deal with. Ugh.

And Sassy, the rescued ones are often the best. I'm not caught up in pedigree and all, so they're perfect for us :o) She's a part of the family already.

On the "dog whisperer" thing -- it's a knack I've had since childhood. The vet used to tell my mom I had to come in with her when she took the dog in. They just behaved better for me. Go figure!

:o) BJ