Clean Bill of Health

Picnik collage
Walter had his annual exam today. He loves going to the vet because they give him biscuits! Look how blurry his tail is from wagging so hard. Walter got all his vaccinations, heart worm medicine refills, and a blood test for heartworm. Poor baby had two sticks for the blood test, but the results were negative. Everyone at Veterinary Care of Ithaca loves Walter because he’s so happy and such a character.
Believe it or not, Walter turns eight in November. He is healthy and active, and I tell him he has to live forever. At the same time, I have to admit I was worried about this vet visit. Several years ago, I was in a vet’s office in Anthem, Arizona with Walter waiting for his annual exam and vaccinations. A woman came out of an exam room with two adorable pugs. Since Walter is a pug mix, we bonded briefly over the dogs. She told me that one of the dogs was two or three; the other eight. She’d brought the dogs in for a check-up and vaccinations and was breezily on her way home.
I’m not sure what happened next, it was so quick. In my memory, the older of the two dogs yelped, a harrowing, frightful sound. I’m not sure if that really happened. The dog might not have even been in the building at the time but in the parking lot. In any case, something was terribly wrong with him. The clinic staff rushed the client and her dogs back into an exam room, but nothing could be done. The older pug died within minutes. Meanwhile, Walter and I were in the waiting room, and I could hear the sounds of the frenzied, futile effort, and the sounds of the woman sobbing. I started crying myself, just as I am now thinking of the incident. It had no sense, no reason. The vet could only say, “Sometimes these things happen.” Not much solace, certainly not for her. All that’s left is to love in every moment, since the next could be the last.

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