We were dog-sitting Mojo when the second Tuesday we had him, he started scooting. At least that’s the first I’d noticed him doing that – and he only did it once. But I called the vet anyway, given I didn’t want anything to happen to him on my watch, and she said, “If he does it two more times, we’ll need to see him.”
Sure enough, Thursday night he dropped and dragged on his evening walk with Bill. Then again on Friday, so I called Saturday and got him an early appointment. Bill and I picked up Laura’s car – we didn’t relish cleaning dog hair from either of ours – and the three of us left for the valley.
At the bottom of the Portage Trail hill descending into the valley, and one mile from the Akron-Peninsula Veterinary Office, Papa Joe’s restaurant inhabits the corner location – and recognizing where he is, Mojo now knows where he’s going – and he’s not the least bit happy about it. As we approach the traffic light there, Mojo raises his head from the seat and begins to whine. His whining increases as each tenth of a mile brings us closer to – The Dreaded Vet.
Moj doesn’t want to get out of the car but has to pee, again, immediately searching out the fence that borders the side of the parking lot. After that he trots over to a bush near the door, leaving his signature there as well, as if doing it there would keep us from going in. As we step into the small lobby, everyone calls to Mojo, obviously glad to see him again, but he shies back near the door hoping someone, anyone, will let him back out.
A few minutes later we are told which examining room to go to, and as we walk down the hall, Moj spots a door to the outside and pulls me straight toward it. Instead, clinging tightly to his leash, we stop at Door #4, the last one off this hall – except, of course, for the one he desperately wants to get beyond.
Bill and I sit on the bench encouraging Mojo to stay beside us, ready to reward him with a great deal of petting, but he has other ideas.
The door, he’s got to find a way to get back on the other side of that door. He goes to it and stares, seemingly sending telepathic signals that will turn the knob. He whines, looks at us, whines again, comes back to us, looks at the door again. Don’t we get it?
Sorry, Moj. It’s been closed and there is no way out.
After a few more passes back and forth, he leans against my leg, seeking comfort, and as I pet him I can feel his heart racing, his body shaking.
Soon a big, burly attendant comes in with the vet and, leaning down, gives Mojo a treat before placing both hands under him and lifting Mojo to the examination table in less time than it takes for Mojo to consider a protest.
He is too terrified to move, though he is now visibly unnerved.
His back end faces the vet who, lifting his tail, sticks her gloved fingers into, well, his anus, and proceeds by expressing both his anal glands – an expression, that, sadly for Mojo, has nothing to do with words. The right gland is worse than the left, she says, but neither is as bad as they have been previously. We all wonder what kind of life he endured before Laura rescued him from the animal shelter. His life with her has been a dream come true, for both them. No doubt about that.
Laura just switched to this vet, our hairdresser’s vet, after going through two or three others who just didn’t seem to know, or care much, about Mojo’s constant scooting. “All dogs do it,” was their stock reply. Only this vet seemed to genuinely care and outlined a program for ameliorating the problem. Apparently, his anal glands kept filling because they were not being expressed fully before. And though this problem continues to crop up from time to time, this “therapy” does seem to be working.
Poor Moj. How embarrassing this must be for him. Even I’m embarrassed for him – or maybe for myself having to sit here and bear witness to this degrading procedure.
Once she’s cleaned him out, she gives him the gun – a penicillin shot into each gland with a hypodermic-like syringe – and an actual shot of cortisone administered in his haunches.
At this, Mojo doesn’t even flinch, though we do.
But when burly-man sets him back down on the floor, he heads straight to the door, scrambling across the lobby to the exit the second freedom is within his grasp.
The receptionist holds a doggie treat in her fingers and uses it to coax Mojo over to the edge of the high counter. “Mojo, I have a treat for you.” Turning around, he bounds over to the counter, stands on his hind legs, and puts his sock-like white front paws on the counter’s edge, taking the welcome treat he’s earned gently in his teeth. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to escape should the door be opened by someone, he eats his treat right beside the door.