Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lay off the pipe, Rosie

It is the end of a typical day, and as usual it has gotten busy in the last half hour. There is an 'urgency' appointment that just showed up ... not quite an emergency. I walk into the exam room.

"Hi, I'm Dr. M, what's going on with your pup?"

The owner, a man with a shifty glance, lots of tattoos and a small dog in his arms, begins explaining.

"She stopped eating today and she's just been really, I don't know, listless."

I glance at Shifty. He's twitching his leg, keeps alternating between petting the dog, scratching behind his ear, toying with his belt. The dog, a terrier mix, looks nervous but alert.

He's got maybe a minor stutter, but its more like he's thinking the words faster than he can get them out. I ask all the usual questions (any vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, get into anything etc), get all negatives, then start examining the dog.

While I'm doing my abdominal palpation, and the dog is getting even more nervous, he says, "This might sound like a stupid thing, well I don't know..."

I give him the 'concerned, go right ahead' look.

"Well, I had a buddy over, visiting, and well, he-he's a cop. And he asked me, 'what is that smell?' And I-I was like I don't know! But I keep smelling it, I mean I've been smelling it a few times now when I've been home. And it turns out, later on the cops show up to my neighbors and arrest them. Turns out they were in there smoking crack! I mean, ok its not a good neighborhood. And I kept feeling weird every time I smelled that smell so I thought, since dogs have a better sense of smell maybe it was affecting her too.

He goes on:

"I know I might look weird and have tattoos and everything but I don't do drugs, I'm just freaking out that something could have happened to her."

I am pretty speechless at this point. I mean, what?? That's not a question I get every day, and by that I mean never.  I glanced at his body language again, and the tattoos were not the problem, I can assure you. I finished my exam, finding nothing abnormal, and managed to say that I had no freakin clue if that would affect the dog, but that I would go do some research and let him know.

At that point, he became very anxious to leave, saying that he had to go open his store, and practically ran me over on his way out.  Perhaps it was just anxiety relating to the dog's condition and the time, but  he never stopped fidgeting the whole time he was there.

Think what you will, I suppose. The dog was fine by the next day.

All names and identifying details have been changed, and any resemblance to actual persons, animals  or events is purely coincidental.

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