This morning I had to take Sophie to the vet.
This may sound like a piece-of-cake-kind-of-procedure. Put the dog in the car, drive the car to the vet, take the dog out of the car, and enter the veterinary clinic's waiting room.
The problem is... Sophie does not care for the vet, to put it euphemistically. She knows what happens behind those daunting walls. Further, she is fully capable of recognizing said veterinary building and going into full terror avoidance mode.
We had to go, however; her eyes have been emitting yellow-green goop for a few days, and they're all red and irritated looking.
I tried to fake her out this morning. "Hey Soph!" I crooned encouragingly. "Wanna go visit some friends?"
She poked both ears up, looked at me with her head cocked and stood up.
"Wanna get into the car, Soph? Fun! Fun!" I tried to psych her up for a positive experience.
She went and sat by the door.
"Comeon, Soph!" I coaxed in my most happy voice. "Let's go get in the car and see some friends!!"
She hopped into the car without further enticement. Off we went; as usual she lay down within 30 seconds for the car ride.
Then we arrived. Upon noticing that the car had stopped, she sat up, ears high into the air, taking in the scene. A look of dread fell upon her canine face.
Typically when I open the liftgate she tries to jump out as quickly as possible, usually excited by the forthcoming activity. I've been trying to train her to sit and wait for me to put on her leash. No problem today, though. I opened the liftgate, and she went and lay down as far from the opening to the car as possible and avoided my gaze. I did my best to mitigate her anxiety with my happy talk. "Hey, Soph! Look where we are! You have buddies inside! There are other doggies! Come on, Soph. fun! fun!"
"Come on, Soph. We hafta go inside." I snapped the leash onto her choker collar and tugged. She tucked her head into her hind region.
I put on my mean, alpha pack leader voice.
She reluctantly stood up, jumped out and tried to make a break for it toward the road. Her legs were shaking. She was panic-stricken. My readers all know that Sophie is a big German Shepherd, yes?
I managed to half drag her to the door, Sophie being torn between her instincts to obey and her utter loathing of the veterinary office.
Once inside, the staff greeted her enthusiastically (she's one of their favorites; it's understandable, if I do say so myself) and I continued my happy coaxing. She tried jumping up against the door to push her way out but I had her on the leash, alas. I did what I could to get her to settle down and sit, but she was full of terror at what these horrid people would do to her.
Finally an energetic young vet assistant opened the door to lead us to the treatment room. Sophie noticed the exit door, with which she is familiar as the WAY OUTTA HERE and began in earnest to convince me to go THAT direction.
After we arrived in the treatment room it took some ingenuity to get her onto the scale (61.5 pounds) and remain steady enough for an accurate reading. We waited longer than usual, during which time she paced back and forth and tried her best to explore every possibility for an exit. She finally settled in the corner beneath my chair, perhaps convinced that no one could see her under it.
The vet entered, chuckled at the oxymoronic state of my German Shepherd, and coddled her (we have awesome vets). She got Soph to relax enough for her to check out her eyes and put drops in them.
Honestly I had only noticed the problem in one of her eyes, but our shrewd veterinarian noticed similarities in the other eye.
The vet surmised that allergies are the likely culprit.
"Has anything changed in her surroundings?" the vet asked me.
"uh, no... Could she be allergic to the cat?" I joked. Turns out dogs can be allergic to cats. How funny is that?
"hmmm," I thought. "The kids are home from school... maybe she's allergic to the kids!?"
"Could be," the vet played along and laughed.
"Guess I'll have to get rid of the kids" I decided.