A seasoned canine like yours truly is quite accustomed to visits with the vet. Yes, it’s true that, as a young stud I would put on the brakes as I was being dragged into that antiseptic treatment room. And I would thwart any efforts by the vet and his staff to perform even the most mundane procedures (I once ate an entire stethoscope before it could detect my angrily beating heart).
But now, adorned with the wisdom of the ages, I accept degrading and offensive veterinary treatment with simple dignity and grace. OK, I admit that this is partly because I no longer have the strength and energy to do battle with the vet and his minions, but it is primarily because I have learned to accept the things I cannot change. So, I not only go quietly and peacefully to that torture chamber, but I conduct myself with courageous resolve. It is a sight to behold. As I walk through those doors toward my periodic torture, I must remind onlookers of Miguel de Cervantes heading for the Inquisition to the tune of “The Impossible Dream.”
My dad is another story altogether. Talk about seasoned. If he were a roast beef, he would be encrusted with a 12-inch layer of salt and pepper. You would think, therefor, that he would approach his own doctor’s visits as easily as he approaches a haircut. Sadly, this is not the case. Today, he had a growth removed from his skin, and you would think he was being beheaded. Naturally, I was with him as he needed a paw to hold, and I must admit that I took more than a hint of pleasure seeing him experience what he routinely puts me through. It took all my resolve to stay with him through the screaming, the tears, and the sweat pouring down his face…and this was just the part when he was filling out paperwork.
When it was all over, I led my sweat-soaked hero out of the medical center. When he said, “See Flap, I told you it would be a piece of cake”, I just smiled like a parent does when a 3-year old child utters something cute but inane. The entire ordeal was exhausting. Later, three hours into my afternoon nap, I was sharply awakened by what I thought was an ambulance siren coming from the next room. I quickly realized it was the sound of Dad wailing as he changed his bandage. Simple dignity and grace. I’m leading by example, but he’s not a dog so it’s going to take awhile.
“And the world will be better for this,
that one dog giving all that he had,
still strove with his last ounce of courage,
to teach the unteachable Dad.”