The vet’s office

I spend my time now at the vet’s office.

My dog’s getting older,

he limps sometimes,

pukes and hacks up all manner of park waste and grass shards,

he has lumps and bumps and browning teeth that,

if cleaned,

could buy him some time,

so they say.

We sit,

pet parents,

masters, owners, handlers, minders, guides, friends, companions, lovers and slaves,

each holding our breath as we wait,

some just a little,

others deeply within the diaphragm,

almost safe in the waiting room,

near enough to he or she who will save our furry children,

repair them, inject, probe, slice off, trim, biopsy, xray, sterilize and –

if we’re lucky –

send us home with a $300 bill,

drops and ointments,

to live another day,

beloved.

Once,

I spent my time in the pediatrician’s office,

floor littered with toys,

Parenting magazines and kids’ books

sheltering tables and window sills,

babies and toddlers and growing children,

their jelly bean rubber booties stacked on the snow mat,

snuffling, spittle dripping from their cherry lips,

congestive yellow-green snot peeking out from their noses,

yet even then,

most on the floor playing,

digging their heels into the stuffy carpet to propel them round and round the room

on the plastic wheelie.

So many of us,

never enough chairs,

our eyes foggy with fatigue

from the nights and days of

crying and wheezing and fever and rashes,

over-the-counter remedies administered in hopes of avoiding the visit,

the missed office hours, the apology for having a child, a sick child,

the promise to make up the time.

And when it’s all over,

prescription for antibiotics in hand,

relief;

he’ll be better, even later tonight,

he’ll sleep,

and so will you.

And you’ll silently thank god once again,

that he’s spared you another time,

so that your precious holy one

will recover and thrive,

and finally outgrow you,

so that you can take up your position

at the vet’s office.

One response to “The vet’s office”

  1. Steven says :

    So lovely. And for those of us with neither child nor dog, where do we spend our time waiting and worrying and holding on for relief?

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