So there we were at the vet. It was 9 a.m. on a Tuesday and Fitzi, our brand new Boston terrier puppy, needed booster shots.
This wasn’t our first rodeo. The first time we’d gone, Fitzi was plunked on the scale to be weighed. Had his mouth pried open to be inspected. Had his testicles prodded fairly rigorously. Finally, when the tech shoved a thermometer up his bum to get his temperature, Fitzi just looked at me and said, “Are you serious with this?”
The vet hadn’t been the bearer of great news either. First off, Fitzi had worms. Second, he had fleas. Third, one of his testicles hadn’t descended. Fourth, his heart sounded “pretty good.”
Anyway, this go-around, Fitzi was going to get stuck with needles in addition to the rest so I was feeling pretty sorry for him even before we arrived. Was he going to be sore? Would it make him nauseated? Would he have a reaction?
We took a seat on one of the chairs in the waiting room. Fitzi was in his little crate and I parked him beside me so he could get a lay of the land. Immediately, he mashed his face against the grate to absorb his view, the foreground of which consisted of a pug sitting on her owner’s lap with a pink collar around her neck.
Now this pug, she was shaking like a leaf. We’re talking full body shake, exactly like the kind you get at the Special Olympics’ Polar Bear Plunge after you’ve jumped into the cold February morning lake water and now you’re outside waiting in your towel and you’re wondering why in the heck you agreed to this except that it’s for charity and your friend Candice is very convincing when it comes to charities.
Anyway, the pug was looking pretty pathetic.
So what does Fitzi do? He gives me a little bark. Not a big bark, like I’m going to eat the pug bark, but a little yelp, one that says, “Mom. I’ve got this.”
So I let him out of his crate and let him sit on my lap. I’m pretty sure he is going to jump off and frantically run around the room.
But no. My dog, he’s got this. He just stays on my lap in the classic sit position and watches. A black cat slinks freely by and Fitzi watches it. A huge boxer leaves one of the examination rooms and Fitzi watches him. A man comes in with one of those dogs that looks like a mop and Fitzi, yes, sniffs condescendingly, but keeps his mouth shut and watches. Then he looks back at the pug and nearly says aloud, “Why are you such a pansy?”
In the meantime, this tiny puppy is starting to garner attention for his perfect, I mean tip-top, ship-shape perfect, behavior.
“Is he always like this?” a woman asks me.
I look down at Fitzi, who is whispering, “Lie, mom.”
But, because I’m supposed to set an example, I say, “Frankly, no.”
Fitzi continues to sit there like royalty.
Then we are called back to an exam room. The tech comes in and picks him up to be weighed. It’s only his second time at the vet, but Fitzi has figured out how this game is played: in order to get this over with quickly, be putty in their hands. So he is. He goes perfectly limp during the entire process, even when they stick him with a needle and force feed some medicine down his throat. Not a peep even with the thermometer. As we wait for some test results, he even gamely walks around the room like he owns the place.
All the while, I am becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that Fitzi is, in every way, kicking ass at the vet’s. And if he can kick ass here, scariest of places, who knows what limits there are for him? I mean, could he one day be president of the United States of America? Given how little it apparently takes, all signs point to yes.
After a few minutes, the vet returned. First stop: No worms. Second stop: Testicle has dropped. Third stop: Perfect heart rate.
So we walked out of there, he and I, pleased as punch and, with a bounce and a prance, stepped right into our happy future.