I stayed down petting her and looking her over. She sat there looking like she enjoyed me scratching behind her ears; her eyes were half closed and she looked like she was smiling, with her mouth slightly open, panting slowly. “You’re a good girl, aren’t you,” I whispered at her.
A soft knock at the back door caused us both to look over. An older man wearing a white doctor’s smock and carrying a file entered. He first looked at the dog for a few seconds and then turned to me and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Doctor Taylor.”
I stood up and shook his hand. “Marty.”
“And this is Miss No Name?” He dropped the file on the table and sat cross-legged on the floor in front of her, with his hands in his lap. Dr. Taylor looked like he was in his fifties with thinning hair touched with gray. He wore old fashioned wire rim bifocals with an obvious line in the middle of the lens. He didn’t look like he was in great shape, but he didn’t look overweight either.
They both sat there looking at each other for maybe a half a minute or so. I could tell Dr. Taylor was looking her over, getting a feel for her, just as she was doing to him. He held his hand out to her to sniff and started talking to her in a low, calm voice.
“How are you missy? You’re a good looking girl. Your eyes are bright, attentive. Nice coat. Are you going to let me examine you?”
“Do you want her up on the table?” I pointed at the steel examination table in the middle of the room.
“No, I’m okay down here if she is.” He shifted onto his knees and reached out a hand to stroke her head. She let him.
I crouched beside her again. “It’s okay, he’s just going to look you over,” I told her, though she didn’t seem to need the reassurance.
Dr. Taylor ran his hands along the sides of her head, behind her ears and down her neck, then back up under her throat and down her chest. “Okay missy, can we stand you up so I can get to your underside?” He put a hand under her tummy and nudged upwards just a bit. She stood right up. I still held the nylon leash and it hung loose around her neck, she wasn’t trying to go anywhere.
When his hands came back up to her neck he felt her collar and noticed the tag. He took hold of it, read it and said, “Oh…”
How am I going to explain that tag? Then I flashed a quick worried thought that maybe he’d read the ‘I AM YOURS” and want her for his own.
“Well,” he said, “this is interesting.”
“Yeah, um, I…”
“This tag has her shot records on it,” he said.
“It does? Wow, I didn’t see that.” I guess I hadn’t even looked at the other side of the tag.
“She had her rabies and her other vaccinations about a month ago. She’s all set; she doesn’t need any more shots.” He flipped the tag around and glanced at the other side and didn’t say anything. He picked his stethoscope up from around his neck, stuck the earpieces in his ears and said to her, “missy, let’s see what you sound like inside.”
He held the chest piece out so she could see it and sniff it. She gave it a quick sniff and turned to me, giving me what I took for a bored look. The doc proceeded to listen to her key spots and announced that all sounded good. He reached up and grabbed an ear scope and checked her ears.
“All right missy, let’s check your teeth.” He moved with care now, with a light touch, he put his hands on her muzzle, lifted her lips, and examined her teeth. A gentle finger pushed between her teeth opened her jaws so he could look inside. She put up with all of the indignities, showing a quiet demeanor.
“Do you know how old she is?” he asked me.
“No, I’m not sure. I really didn’t get any info about her. The guy just wanted to get rid of her.” The more I said it, the better it sounded, or so I thought.
His face squinched up, “Who could possibly want to get rid of this dog? She’s beautiful, has a great temperament, healthy, and from the looks of her gums and teeth, I would say she’s about a year old.”
Dr. Taylor finished up the exam and brought us back out to the front of the office where Suzanne waited for us. The doc made some scribbles in our file, handed it to Suzanne and bade us a good evening.
Suzanne glanced at the file. “Everything looks good; Doc thinks she’s in great shape. I’ll get your bill up in just a minute.”
I looked at the wall with the pet accessories. “I’m going to need a leash I guess.” Then I noticed the sign, ‘Pet-aphernalia’. “Cute sign,” I said pointing at it.
She looked up to where I pointed and gave a short laugh, “Yeah, I made that up. A lot of people don’t get it.”
“They probably think it’s Greek or something,” I said.
She laughed again. “I have to explain that it’s a play on the word ‘paraphernalia’, but some people don’t even know that word and I have to explain that one, too.”
I chuckled and reached for a long flat nylon leash, blue to match the dog’s collar. She sat beside me looking at the dog toys in the lower bins. “Would you like a toy? A frisbee or a ball? Go ahead and pick something out.”
She looked at me, then at the toys, and then back to me. Her ears were down like she didn’t quite understand what I wanted. I leaned over and picked up a red and green tennis type ball, showed it to her and squeezed it. “Squeeeek-y squeeeek-y,” the ball said.
That brought her ears up; her eyes got big and she tilted her head staring at the ball. I squeezed it again making it squeak some more. Her head tilted the other way. I laughed, “Haven’t you ever had a squeaky ball before?” I offered it to her; she sniffed it carefully and looked back up to me with those beautiful eyes.
“It’s okay, you can have it,” I said.
She took it from my hand, dropped it, sniffed it, picked it up again and dropped it. It didn’t squeak at all. She nudged it with her nose and then looked up at me like she was asking, “How did you make it squeak?”
I picked the ball up again and squeezed it, “Squeeeek-y”. That brought her ears up to attention and she tilted her head almost sideways, staring at the ball. I laughed and gave her the ball. I also picked out a soft rubber Frisbee that looked like it would be easy on her mouth in case she liked that better. I walked back over to Suzanne at the counter, guiding the dog with her temporary leash. She carried the squeaky ball over with her.
“Well, add a leash, a squeaky ball and a rubber disk to the bill.” Then it occurred to me that I needed to supply her with other essentials, like food and water. I dropped her leash and went back over to the Pet-aphernalia wall. A couple of stainless steel bowls caught my eye, one for food, the other for water. I brought those back over to the counter.
“And I’m going to need some food for her, what would you recommend?” I looked over at the wall with the pet food.
Suzanne walked over to the food wall and grabbed a five pound sack of dry food and brought it back over to the counter. “This food is grain free and protein rich. It’s all you need to feed her; you don’t need canned food or anything else.”
The picture on the package showed a happy healthy looking Australian Shepherd (now that I know what they are) that very much resembled my dog. I pointed at the picture and said, “I guess it is the right food for her.”
Since I wasn’t holding her leash, the dog walked over to a small bin of stuffed animals, dropped the ball, and started nosing around, sniffing and nudging the little cats, dogs and other various farm animals. She picked up a little pink pig, turned and looked at me, and squeezed it with her jaws, “Squeeek-y, squeeek-y.”
“Well, aren’t you clever?” I laughed and shook my head; she really figured that one out fast. She came trotting back over to the counter, looking proud, with her head held high and a little squeaky pig in her mouth. “Suzanne, you’d better add Miss Piggy to the list.”
After I settled the bill, traded leashes, and said my thanks, I headed for the door. Suzanne caught me with a question, “Are you staying in town?”
I hadn’t thought that far ahead, making plans wasn’t a priority for me right now. “I’ve been camping out, but maybe I should find a place, since this is my first night with her. Do you know any places that take pets?”
“Sure, there’s a place called ‘The Glen’ down this road about another mile.” She pointed out the front in the direction I had been heading. “It has cabins with small kitchens, in case you want to stay around for a while.”
“Thanks, I’ll check it out.” I waved a last good-bye, went out to the truck and stowed the bag in the back. The dog carried Miss Piggy. When I opened the door and told her to load up; she leaped up into her seat. As I removed her leash, I looked at her ‘I AM YOURS’ tag and thought about Dr. Taylor seeing her shot records, but not commenting on the other side. Curious about the vaccination list I flipped the tag over. To my surprise, it was blank.