Scooter needed to go to the vet. He has been coughing for a month or so. Adam took him while I was in Maui, and he got an allergy shot, but the cough came back. So, back to the vet we go.
Now this is not I job I enjoy. I have spent many an hour in doctor’s offices with children…and it was not fun. It is even less fun to sit in an office with a dog. Of course, to be perfectly honest, having a leash around the neck of the ill one does tend to make it a little easier…sometimes.

Whenever the beloved Scooter sees that he is to be allowed out the side door onto the driveway and the wonders that it leads to, instead of the back door that leads to the confines of the fenced in yard, he becomes almost impossible to restrain. Therefore, one must first get the leash attached to his collar before he realizes that his view of the world is about to change. Cause when that door is opened…he is out of it like a bullet. “Where to go first? Over here. No, over there! No, back inside. No, just kidding! Let’s go to the mailbox. Come on, Mama…let’s go. Keep up with me! Come on, let’s race. No? OK Where then? Gotta pee. OK now, I’m ready. In the car?!? Seriously? WE’RE GOING IN THE CAR? OH! Joy of joys! This is great! Life is good! LIFE IS GOOD…I”M GOING IN THE CAR!!!!! I’ll just jump right in! OOPS! Let me try again! What happened? Did you make the car higher? Help me, MAMA!” And, so, I help this sweet old dog who is now 14 years old…in body…not soul…into the back of the car. And, off we go.

Now, about the time we hit the street, he realizes that about the only time he ever goes in the car is to visit his friend the vet,and the panic sets in. “O! My! Where are we going? I bet I know…we’re going to the vet…I just know it. I just know it! I do not like to go to the vet. PLEEEEEASE, let’s go somewhere else. I know, I hope she gets lost. Don’t turn there.” And, the poor pooch proceeds to breathe so hard and so fast, along with the nervous pacing and falling when I turn the corners, that it is astounding he can even stagger to his feet when I go around and open the back of the car. “I’ll just jump out when she opens the door and make a run for it! She’ll never catch me. I’m ready. Open the door…I’m outta here!” And, since I am a clever woman, who has been dealing with wayward boys and animals for quite some time…I crack open the hatch back and slowly reach under the door with one hand while trying to keep said hatch from flying up and hitting me smack in the face with the other. Which, I am most certain, causes me to contort my body into a very interesting pose. And, with much skill, I manage to grab the end of the leash about the same time that the hatch makes it into a fully opened position. This occurs at precisely the same moment that Scooter sees the opportunity to escape and grabs it. Swoosh, he’s out…and headed to that delightful area known as the ‘dog walk’. The only criticism I have with the dog walk is the fact that they have cat and dog statues in it. Cat and dog statues that leashes can get tangled up on…especially if you have the leash pulled out all the way. Which I did, because Scooter will not willingly wait for me to close the car door before he heads over to the garden of earthly delights. “Hurry, Mom! I gotta find out who has been here…hurry! hurry!. I’ll just wait for you over here behind this concrete cat…after I circle it 10 times and get totally tangled up!” And, he did…get tangled…and wait. I had to go under the bushes to get to the concrete cat, and untangle him. All the while trying desperately not to step in…it.

OK…untangled we are, and back out on the sidewalk…at least I am on the sidewalk…Scooter is into the far reaches of the dog walk area…sniffing for all he’s worth. Then a little ‘watering and fertilizing’, and we’re good to go. On to the task at hand.

Now this, my friends, is the point in this tale where things start to go very wrong. I know from past experience that to get Scooter into the building, I’ll have to ‘reel him in’ on the RETRACTABLE leash. So, I retract… … … N.O.T.H.I.N.G. There is no moving of dog towards human, as should be happening. And, friends, he is not going into that building on his own power. (I need to insert this tidbit of info…Scooter is the dog who defined the words ‘hunker down.’ He was born knowing exactly how to position his little black, white and brown self into what we call the ‘hunker down stance’. He lowers the center of gravity by bending all 4 legs and leaning into the direction he wishes to go. Then he pulls with all the power he has…continuing to hold his body low to the ground. And, this is gospel…you WILL go where he wants to go. And, it really does not matter to him if you are running behind him, or being dragged through the streets.)

The retractable part of the retractable leash has chosen this moment NOT to retract. This is a catastrophe! I try again…still won’t work. I tap it lightly on the ground…trying to coax it into working at least one more time. I bang it on the ground trying to show it who is boss. It seems it is. Now, here is where I begin to sweat. Cause I know I have a major fight on my hands.

Since Scooter is now about 20 feet away from me, it is not an easy thing to control him. I begin to wrap the leash around my hand in order to bring him closer. It does not take but 1 swift pull from him before I know this is not a good idea. So in order to regain control of the animal, I begin walking towards him in an effort to grab hold of his collar. Bear in mind that he is smack dab in the middle of the ‘dog walk area’ which has seen many a dog walking there. I can just tell. So, actually I tiptoe towards him. “Hey look at Mom! She thinks she is gonna come and get me. I’ll wait till she gets closer…and then we’ll play chase the dog!” And, I am not in a playing mood. Thinking fast, I step on the leash, and stop him mid-sprint. “WHOA! I don’t think she wants to play right now. Bummer.” Grabbing the leash, I slowly pull the unwilling dog towards me…and finally, I have his collar in my hand. And in we walk…me, bent over holding onto the collar, him, trying to avoid going in the same direction as I, and 20 ft. of leash trailing behind. I am thinking to myself how great it is to be the owner of a dog.

Once inside, I need to sign us in. This means that I have to turn loose of his collar. And, Scooter, being no dummy, takes that opportunity to rush the door. Just my luck, as he is standing there, scratching the glass for dear life, in comes another pet owner. A cat owner. Scooter doesn’t think cats belong on the same planet as dogs…and he is quick to let this lady and her cat know this. She is actually about to jump up on the benches. I am telling her that he will not bite. And all the time he is showing her that he, indeed, has many teeth and is not afraid to use them. Who do you think she believed? I furiously call Scooter, while trying to explain that my leash is broken, and I am so sorry that she is afraid, and he really is no danger, and I never wanted a dog in the first place, this is Alex’s dog and I am not responsible for his lack of manners. When I get my hands back on the collar, I allow him the smallest amount of slack, and I sit down and try to recover. Scooter, knowing that he has gone too far over that proverbial line, proceeds to walk to the center of the room and…let’s just say…his nerves got the best of him.

I tell the young man at the desk that “we” have had an accident, and ask him to PLEEEEEASE put us back into an exam room to wait. I am not sure, but I think I saw him roll his eyes. Can’t imagine why. But, he does as I ask…after he calls for “clean-up in the waiting area.” Scooter and I, attached firmly to his collar, walk carefully across the waiting room floor, and enter an exam room.

“OH! NO! I know what this means! I know! I know! I do not want to be here. Let me out, let me out! OK…then I’ll hide behind Mom. They will never find me there. No, I’ll just get in her lap. No, I will lay on the floor…no, I’ll hide. OK really, I’ll just sit in her lap. No, they’ll find me. OH, DEAR! OH, DEAR!” And we continue to play this lovely game until the girl comes in to weigh him. Clever girl that she is, she goes out and brings me a very short leash to replace the one that has died on me.

The visit with the doctor is uneventful…what with 3 of us surrounding him. We get his medicine. He gets 2 shots…and we begin the trek out to the car. As luck would have it, in walks a man with his dog walking calmly on a leash right beside him. Just like well-behaved dogs should . How embarrassing, as Scooter as gone into ‘hunker-down mode’ again. The man begins calling.”Scooter, come here!” And, for the first time in his life, Scooter obeys a command. HOWEVER…the man is talking to his Scooter…not my Scooter. And my Scooter is highly offended when the treat that the man has in his hand goes to his dog and not mine. “Well, he said ‘Scooter’…what’s up with that other dog taking my name?”

Out the door, we finally go. To the back of the car…and with a boost from me, he’s back inside. The hatch is down, I am driving, and Scooter is spread eagle on the floor. ..not even bothering to look out the windows. When we make it home, he goes right inside, drinks a gallon of water, and goes to his bed. It is not long before I am doing the same. “The vet? Nothing to it! Going there is a breeze!” He has another appointment in 3 weeks. I’m thinking I’ll hire some help. And get a new leash!