Oh no, not the dreaded vets!

Going to the vets demands a supremely honed plan of action. As soon as his paws touch the dreaded veterinary table, our delightful, gentle, soft little dog turns into a ferocious monster.


When Bruce was a tiny little man, we enrolled him at a nationwide chain of vets. This turned out to be a mistake, as the service left a lot to be desired. And the experience left Bruce with a very bad taste in his mouth. One particular instance, when he was just three months old and had stopped eating (we later realised he was just in a sulk as we’d been away for a few days, which had been booked before he came to live with us), he was prodded with a thermometer up the you-know-where, restrained with a muzzle (unnecessary we felt at such a young age and with little reason) and told off. After that incident, we left and joined the local vet.

Bruce and Michael

Bruce and Michael

Our local vet is fantastic, doling out biscuits, giving Bruce time to settle in when we get in the room and understanding Bruce’s worries perfectly but, unfortunately, the damage has been done as far as Bruce is concerned. He will take the biscuits, even offering his paw to the vet and pulling out his favourite trick – the salute – to please him. Then he’ll remember where he is, how much he’s supposed to hate it, and the anxiety points will go up again.

I remember one awful night a year ago when Bruce was terribly sick. He looked awful. I’m sure he actually turned green. Michael and I stayed up all night comforting him and it broke our hearts when he gave us his paw feebly with an imploring look, as if he was saying “Please help me. I feel horrible.” In fact, I’m sure that is what he was saying. Fortunately, he was much better by morning, if a little exhausted, so he escaped a visit to the vets.

But last week, he had to go. An ear infection, we thought. I was working, so Michael had to do the dastardly deed all by himself. As they sat in the waiting room and watched a Doberman pinchser dig his heels in on the threshold, refusing to put even one claw inside the tiny vet room, Bruce was fine. Even said hello to a couple of pugs. Got weighed. Had a couple of biscuits. Michael relaxed. This was going to be fine. Two boys together – they could handle it.

Fast-forward to the table and all hell broke loose. No way was the vet seeing inside this little monster’s lughole. Despite the fact that we’ve taught the boy the names of his body parts so we can tell him in advance what’s going to happen (which works wonders at home when we want to peer into his ears or wipe his eyes), he wasn’t giving in. Even the threat of sedation should it not get any better didn’t see him sitting prettily and offering his ear for inspection.

So we’ve had to accept that that’s the way it goes. The battle lines are drawn and it’s an ordeal we all have to face. Roll on the annual booster jab. Can’t wait.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn and Michael: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Photographs taken on iPhone – not indicative of our professional work :-)

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