It happens every year: the dog’s annual visit to the vet. And let me just say that if I had any doubt as to the weirdness of my dogs, it is dashed to smithereens any time we get close to the vet’s. My dogs love the vet. And I do mean LOVE (as in all caps bold underline and italic) the vet. Piper will wake out of a dead sleep whenever we get close and start whining up a storm as soon as we get into the parking lot. All three of them will drag me into the office. I cannot get the door open fast enough for them. I have worked really hard to make it a positive place for them and have brought them to the vet for visits and treats and gotten them used to everyone there. My thinking is that in the case of an emergency, I want to reduce the stress as much as possible to make a difficult situation a little less difficult. Well apparently I did my job too well. I’m lucky because all of the vets and staff at the clinic are amazing and I know my critters are in good hands.
We got into the office and everyone got weighed and saw the doctor and we collected our year’s supply of flea and tick control and heartworm meds and bloodwork and OH MY GAWD my credit card screamed as it tried to cling to the leather of my wallet. Four digits; that’s all I will say about the bill.
As much fun as the vet is, I like to make our outings as fun as possible to keep the good vibes rolling so we went for a nice long hike in our local country preserve. As we climbed out of the car, I noticed a lovely young black lab that was dragging it’s owner towards us. It seemed friendly but when he led the dog one way, we went the other. That would not be the last time that we would see that bouncing ball of energy or her not bad-looking owner.
Even with plenty of cars in the parking lot, we barely saw anyone else as we hiked trails that wound through tall grass and tall trees. We were beginning to make our way back to the car when that same black lab came bounding around a corner, all floppy years and big feet. At first she didn’t see us but her owner was more on the ball than the pup and she was back on leash as she kept straining towards Piper. The owner told me that her best friend is a boxer and she just wanted to play.
Now let me just go off on a bit of a side note here: I’ve been single for a while and I’ve come to realize that it is because I am clueless when it comes to either possible interest or possible opportunities. This being a prime example: had I been paying attention I would have said something along the lines of “Maybe she wants another boxer friend” which could have been chance to get to know the owner. What do I do instead? “Cool,” as we walk on by. I was about 20 steps past when I literally groaned out loud with a full-on face palm.
I’m not going to say that I kept my eye out for that lab and Mr. Cutie. I may have even lingered in the parking lot to make sure that the dogs were all strapped in. For safety sake of course. Eventually, once everyone was safely strapped in, we set out for our next fun stop of the day.
I have been chastised (jokingly I hope) several times at my local pet store for showing up without the pups so I just had to bring them in for a visit since we were passing by. After they got their first set of treats from the staff, we went to the wall of toys. They seemed interested in the “Chatterball” which is a ball that makes noise. So of course, they got a Chatterball. And more treats before we left the store.
I needed something to take a bit of the edge off after that vet bill so we went to Second Wedge Brewing Co. I had been there before and knew that dogs were welcome. We were greeted at the door by the resident brewery dog, another lab named Sadie. I didn’t quite trust my pack to stay out from underfoot so they stayed on leash which seemed to bore Sadie. And soon my pack was sprawled out on the floor around me.
I tried a couple of the seasonal brews: Day Tripper and Smoked Wheat on Rye and fell in love with the Smoked Wheat. A lovely smoky flavour running through lovely beer. Soooooooooo good. I could drink that for the rest of my life and be happy. As I sipped away, the staff and other customers came to visit with the dogs who would sit up just to get their attention and then flop back over onto their sides. Then I heard something that made my ears perk up: a food truck was coming by in a few hours. I was torn. Do I hang around in town for the truck or just go home. And then I heard the menu: barbecue. Problem solved. Of course I was going to stay.
I collected the dogs and wandered down the main street with plenty of people stopping to pet the dogs or wave at us as they drove by. We wound our way past people fishing in one of the town ponds then through main park and finally back to the brewery.
The truck was parked out front but was still making final preparations so I decided to have one more beer. I popped into the brewery and was shocked at how many people were in there, a huge difference from a short while ago. There was another dog that was wandering around in there and he was not on a leash. I was a little concerned with the dominant body language he was showing so I kept the dogs outside. The patio is amazing and we were the only ones sitting outside. OK I was sitting as the dogs were passed out on the ground around me. Soon I saw people walking near the food truck so I drained my beer and went out to the truck.
We were still early and stood staring at the menu, trying not to look too pathetic as we waited alone outside the truck. Soon others joined us and then the panel of Laura’s Casual Kitchen lifted to expose the interior and we saw the people frantically working inside.
In no time, I found myself the proud holder of a plate of smoked ribs, potato and egg salad, and a cornbread muffin. I parked myself on a nearby concrete footing that happened to have a piece of metal sticking up that was a convenient leash holder. Let’s just say the ribs did not last long and the potato/egg salad was really good. I usually put eggs in my potato salad so it was nice to see it somewhere else. I wasn’t fond of the cornbread and found it really dry. The butter that accompanied it was so hard that it was torn apart to fall down my shirt. All things considered though, it was a fantastic meal. The dogs were more than happy to take care of all the crumbs that fell and they had a few samples of the ribs. I had to ignore Leo’s attempts at Jedi mind tricks to hand over a rib.
I loaded, practically lifting, the dogs into the car (with some Smoked Wheat and Day Tripper to enjoy at home) and soon we were back home. The dogs were so worn out that I had to bribe them out of the car. They slid out, had a drink, and flopped in their usual sleeping spots: Piper sprawled on the couch, Jack on his mound of blankets, and Leo in his chair in my craft room. Soon the sound of snoring echoed around me.