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Lincoln’s latest vet visit

Amy Palumbo-LeClaire

Lincoln’s vet visits have been surprisingly painless. The memory of the groomer who once performed a shave on his rear that was “close enough” to cause a burn (and chafing) has begun to fade with age. He no longer grabs his leash while we’re in the waiting room to, then, rush to the door’s exit. Instead, he sits at my heels with reasonable vet jitters and peeks down the hallway before gazing up at me. “That’s the doctor’s office, Mom.”

He smiles, pants, and waits for his favorite vet technician, Karen, to appear from the hallway of Sutton Animal Hospital. “Hi Lincoln!” He pulls me toward her and melts into the warm hands of Karen’s belly rub. Then he grabs hold of his leash and bumbles awkwardly into the weight room, where he struggles to stay grounded on the scale. On. Off. On. Off. “Vet rooms are so much fun!”

His weight is suspiciously high - 97 pounds. “I think it’s his winter weight,” I try. “Plus it’s been raining and he hasn’t exercised enough.” It’s immediately clear that The Sutton Animal Hospital is a non-judgmental facility. Like Lincoln, they are lovers not fighters. I’m forgiven with a wink and, later, told to cut his food down by 25%.

Lincoln is escorted into a room, where he tap-dances, speed-sniffs, and keeps an eye on me. “Don’t leave me. I like the humans here, but I’m still insecure.” The room is sanitary though, of course, scented with the distinct odor of dogs. Lincoln is overwhelmed. He can’t relax. Karen leaves the room and closes the door. Left in the wake of her absence, he stares curiously at the door’s back. He knows there is more to this visit. He knows that the door will open and, like a genie from a bottle, Dr. Golden will appear. He paces and smiles up at me again. “She’ll be here soon, Mom. I can sense it.”

Dr. Brandi Golden is honest, gentle and knowledgeable. Her name is so literally and foolishly appropriate it makes me like her even more.  She opens the door. Lincoln becomes ecstatic. He collapses onto the floor, falls into her lap, and absorbs the full light and love that is Dr. Golden.

It seems that the shots will be a breeze.

But Lincoln is robust. He loves massively. He hurts massively. Worse, he looks to me for support while the two women, professionals, have him in a headlock in order to quell him for the first one, a Lyme Disease booster. I get off of my perch on the chair and kneel beside him.  The needle slides into his paw and he lets out a low grumble. I can tell that he trusts Dr. Brandy Golden fully, even though it hurts. He looks painfully into my eyes, attempts to lift his other (restrained) paw to me and lets out a squeal. Help. I cup my hand beneath his chin.

“It’s okay, Lincoln.”

The shots end as quickly as they began. His belly check, perhaps, poses more of a challenge. Lincoln confuses the doctor’s search for a lump with a sudden massage. He turns his head to lap Dr. Golden’s face and tap dances so that it’s hard to get him to lie down. The belly examination is conducted by cornering the moving dog against the door’s back. His ear and teeth examination prove less stressful.  Here, Lincoln cooperates remarkably. He tilts his head properly to allow Dr. Golden to take a peek and trusts that he’s in good hands.

The full examination complete, both women leave to put together Lincoln’s report card. Again, he faces the door and perks his ears. He misses them already.

Other than his slight weight gain and a mild ear infection, Lincoln is in good shape, fully prepared for more adventures. Dr. Brandi notes also: “Lincoln is a happy dog.”

Stay tuned for more stories about Lincoln. Please feel free to tell me about your dog’s visits to the veterinarian!

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