We take the whole pack of our dogs to the vet 3 times a year: once for their annual shots and 2 times a year for the rattlesnake vaccines.
I can always tell when a new person is working at our vet’s front desk, because she will gasp ever so slightly when I call to say I need an appointment for 10 dogs. She starts looking for a 2.5-hour open window on the vet’s calendar (15 minutes per dog) and that’s when I explain that Bruce and I are an experienced tag team and we don’t need that much time. We each take a dog in at the beginning and as soon as one dog is finished getting his shots, we go out and put another dog in the rotation. The whole effort takes just over half an hour.
I remember one new vet employee who didn’t believe me. She insisted on booking 15 minutes per dog. I, in turn, insisted that she go ask the vet. She put me on hold and when she came back that 2.5-hour window was cut down to our normal time frame.
Taking 10 dogs – even 2 at a time — into the vet’s office is not an easy task, however. We usually take the older dogs in first. If any extra tests are needed, they can be started right away.
We have to weigh each dog. For many, many years, the vet would weigh himself on a regular people scale, then pick up the dog and weigh again. We mostly have Labrador Retrievers and seeing our vet holding the large males in his arms and weighing the two of them together was quite a sight. I never once thought to take my camera. (Yet another missed opportunity.) Now the vet has a digital scale that the dogs sit on without the vet’s assistance (much easier on his back). Assuming we can get the dogs to stop wiggling long enough, we get their weights.
And that’s the trick, getting them to stop wiggling. Some of the dogs are okay with it, especially if they are getting a treat for sitting still. Some of our dogs, however, take this opportunity to show that they are in contention for the Wiggle Championship.
Clint, a yellow male who measures 24 inches at the top of his shoulders, is the worst. He wiggles, he squiggles, he jumps up, he paws the air, my legs, and my arms. It’s best, I’ve learned, not to wear shorts or sleeveless blouses on these trips. If I’ve thought ahead and brought a toy for him (to distract him, I think), he’s shaking it, rearing up like a horse, bucking and kicking, twirling around the office, trying to kill it. Yes, Clint is on leash. I have the burn marks on my hands to prove it.
Clint, I admonish him, behave and show the vet what a good trained dog you are.
Clint is very trained, I explain to the vet and the vet tech, as the scratch marks on my arm start to glow. This sweet dog has 6 hunting titles and 8 agility titles. Really, I say while gritting my teeth (I’m pawing Clint almost as much as he’s pawing me, trying to get him to sit, I mean sit still for more than 1 nano-second), Clint can be a nice, calm dog.
The vet and vet tech just look at me. Uh huh, they intone, sure.
Here is a picture of my little sweet babboo: http://www.io.com/~bbachert/clint.html