Solomon, as I was writing this. (Note blurred motion in tail area.)
So, I started a whole long post about cooking this morning, which I will probably go back to next week (since it’s more than half-finished, and that’s the kind of thing I like to have handy on vacay). Today, I need to tell you about the trip I just took to the vet.
It was just supposed to be for the puppers’ annual vaccinations. No problem. But of course, ten seconds after we walk in the door, Lucille starts bleeding from her fucking eyeball.
Now, Lucille has always had “weepy” eyes, and because she’s white, they leave disgusting brown streaks down the sides of her nose. That’d be the chihuahua in her. The thing I miss most about Maxine, her mother, is that she used to lick that goop off Lucy’s face every fifteen minutes; I’ve never been able to interest Solomon in doing that, and I have learned that as soon as I wipe it off with a Kleenex, it just comes right back. So Lucy’s face really only gets cleaned up when she goes to the groomer or when Mean Asian Girl comes over, because the latter can’t stand looking at it.
The last time my dogsitter, Tess — who’s also a vet tech at the animal hospital we go to — was here, she left a note saying, “L’s right eye is weepy.” I read that, said, “No shit,” and forgot about it.
Fast forward to today, when I’m sitting in the waiting room at the vet, look down, and see the goop coming from Lucille’s right eye is BRIGHT RED, and there’s a ton of it. I freak out. Tess shows up, I point it out, and Tess says, “Yeah, it’s probably from that cyst at the top of her eye.”
<small voice> Um, what cyst at the top of her eye? </small voice>
My dog has a nasty growth on her eyelid. My dogsitter knew that. I did not.
It’s a tiny cyst, and easy to miss until it starts, you know, bleeding down her face, but still, I feel like the world’s worst mom for not having noticed it. At the same time, if you’re gonna leave me a note about it, could you maybe say “L. has a fucking bloody cyst in her eye,” not “L. has a harmless condition she’s had all her life”?
Anyway, the doc put some ointment in her eyes, and I got some to take home, so it’s all okay. But that’s only the beginning.
Next, we get Solomon on the table (after he busted out of the exam room and tried to hang out under the reception desk instead), and I listen to him squeal like the vet is cutting his throat every time she sticks a needle in him, which is always fun. Then the vet says, “Everything okay with him? Normal elimination? No coughing? No lumps or anything?”
I’m like, “Yep, everything’s fine!” Beat. “Oh, wait, no! HE’S GOT A LUMP ON HIS CHEST! I almost forgot!”
She checks out the lump and confirms what I thought — it feels like a plain old fatty tumor, but if anything changes, I should have it biopsied — but now I’m feeling even worse about my mothering skills. At least I knew about this particular growth, but not only did I not call the doctor as soon as I found it, I completely forgot about it. Strike two.
But here’s the real kicker, and the reason why I’m writing about this here. The thing that made me feel most like a bad mom — worse than not knowing one of my dogs had a cyst that would cause her eyeball to bleed? Was being surrounded by fucking “Is your dog overweight?” posters. There were four of them in the one exam room, assuring me that my stocky little Solly is suffering unnecessarily because his ribs aren’t visible.
I’ve written before about how he’s a couple pounds over his “ideal weight” — which is only a guess, of course, since there’s hardly a breed standard for Corgi-Pug — and there’s just nothing to be done about it. I’ve put him on weight-reducing formula a billion times, and nothing changes. I almost never give him treats (though admittedly, the same can’t be said for Al). If I take him to the park and let him off-leash, he just finds a shady spot to lie down. I could frog-march him around the whole neighborhood every day, but that wouldn’t be fun for either of us. Especially since he acts like I am killing him when I drag him to the end of the block if the weather is anything but 70 degrees and sunny. During winter, he will literally lie down in a snow bank and look up at me like, “No, really, you guys just go on without me.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this dog is a Harding. He likes food, he likes snuggles, he likes naps, he hates forced exercise, and he was pretty much born to be short and fat.
Lucille, in fact, is WAY more food-motivated than him — “Hey, you got something to eat?” is totally going on her tombstone. This is the dog who, while walking around the neighborhood, eats first and asks questions later. Burrito wrapper? Twig? Broken glass? IT MIGHT BE FOOD! DOWN THE HATCH! She’s not quite as ambitious as one of the Mean Asian Beagles, whom I have witnessed trying to swallow a dead pigeon whole, but let’s just say she’s not picky. Solly actually is picky. He only likes certain brands of foods. There are dog treats he refuses to eat; there is not dog shit Lucy will refuse to eat.
Guess which one’s thinner.
And of course, there’s no fat acceptance movement for dogs, seeing as how they can’t talk and all. Solly has no way of telling me if he’s perfectly content the way he is, or if he actually is struggling under those couple extra pounds (which are like 10 percent of his body weight). I have no way of knowing if he chooses not to run around when given the opportunity because he feels like he gets plenty of exercise jumping on and off the couch all day, or if it’s because he’s short and fat, so running around is hard. Genetically, he is half herding dog, half lap dog, but with the exception of occasional attempts to corral bigger dogs in the park, the Pug side dominates about 98% of the time.
I have never met a happier-seeming dog in my life. The tail NEVER stops wagging. (Maybe that’s enough exercise for him?) And he’s healthy, insofar as he’s not currently sick, which is all you can really know about a dog. From a Health at Every Size perspective, he’s doing just fine. But when I’m standing there in the middle of four posters telling me how my dog is silently suffering and his weight is decreasing his life expectancy (but I can save him if I buy a specific brand of dog food!), it’s awfully hard to feel like I’m doing enough for him.
Keep reminding me never to have children.
On the plus side, the vet never said a word to me about his weight; it’s the same as it was a year ago, and there’s nothing wrong with him, so she apparently didn’t see a reason to bring it up. But at least half of my anxiety about being surrounded by all those posters came from the anticipation of a lecture I never got.
Aaanyway. To end this on a happy note, I have to tell you about my conversation with the guy who booked the appointment.
Him: Last name?
Him: Dog’s names?
Me: First one’s Lucille. L-U-
Him: Like the guitar?
Him: Okay, next?
Me: Solomon. S-O-
Him: Like Solomon Burke?
Him: Heh, all right, gotcha. We’re on the same page here.
Which we weren’t, exactly — the dogs both came with the names, and I’m not especially musical. But I love finding out about the outside interests of people I only see in their professional capacities. It’s like the guy who works at our local Starbucks but also plays trombone at our local watering hole once a week. Oh, you mean your whole life doesn’t revolve around making coffee? Who knew?
And since my whole life doesn’t actually revolve around blogging, that’s all for today.