Max the dog is a mutant. I mean that in the best way possible. His sisters are mutants too. All three of them have health problems, legs that go out. Pixie, the smallest, has cataracts and looks like a crazed gremlin. Max didn’t have any health problems the first year we got him and then one day while we were walking him he cried out, crumpled a little on one leg and we thought he’d been stung by a bee. He wasn’t better so we took him to a vet (one of those “in store” vets who never makes eye contact) who said “Oh, he probably did get stung or has something lodged in his paw.” Well, fucking unlodge it.
Max is a little pudgy. I don’t think he’s fat.Or maybe I’m just in denial. We try to keep him leaner, knowing that the more weight he has on him, the more his legs are going to hurt. On another trip to a different vet we were told Max has floating kneecaps and would have to have surgery and it was no guarantee he’d be back to normal. Normal for Max.
So we decided to take Max to a holistic vet and by we, I mean my mom (who shares a terrifyingly strong bond with the dog. He actually sees me as a threat and is very protective of his “mom.” I think the last time I was able to give her a hug was Christmas of 2014).
Max pretty much knows something’s up as soon as he gets in the car. He struggles with the car. He wants to go for a ride but he also wants to scream and throw up the entire time. We pull up to the holistic vets and the door is wide open. A cat is sauntering back and forth, just watching the world. I’m praying Max doesn’t see it but he’s too busy barking “Oh God, where the hell are we! It smells! I have to poop!”
We go in and wait. And wait. And wait. The vet had an emergency earlier and he was running late. I wasn’t annoyed for me but for Max. He wasn’t exactly freaking out but he was in the waiting room pacing around and giving me the dog equivalent of a fist bump: booping his nose into my hand.
Finally the vet comes in. Max locks eyes with me.
Max: I thought there’d be sage.
Max: Holistic vet. I thought he’d come in here and smudge the negative spirits with lit sage.
Me: Yeah, he looks like he might start in a minute.
Max: Want treat.
Me: Me too.
The vet starts looking over Max’s medical records. Max growls at him because he’s a man. Max is smart.
Max looks at me again and rolls his eyes.
Max: Ugh. This guy.
Me: I know.
Max: That scraggly grey ponytail.
Me: Jesus Christ. Right?
Max: Earrings. He’s wearing an emerald earring and a diamond earring.
Me: What does that say about the guy?
Max: He’s a douchebag pirate wannabe.
Me: Check out the new hiking boots. Bet he dragged them on the ground so they’d look beat up, like he spends each weekend hiking with a pack of dogs.
Max: The picture of him on his website has to be at least 25 years old. I bet he has a garage band and a mini fridge full of IPA beer.
But the vet, abrupt and almost downright rude, is making a damn thorough investigation into what might be wrong with Max and that makes me respect him.
Max growls at him again. The vet says “Oh, he’s a nipper?”
Max: I’ll tear your fucking face off.
Me: He’ll tear your fucking face off.
Short story long, Max will need surgery. We need to get him down to a healthier weight which means no more French fries or saucers of iced coffee. It’ s hard not to give him anything, especially when he gives me nose boops and wants to deconstruct this week’s RuPaul Drag Race.