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Just got a new pedigreed puppy? First thing y’all think about is "dock that tail" or "crop those ears." These inane and expensive practices have become an epidemic. Doesn’t anyone think about our fun, our rights, our pain or our self esteem? Just go ahead and cut and snip; "they’re just animals, they won’t care." Wrong! We do care! And now they have the ‘Dental.’ Read on:

The Doctor is In

No dog story would be complete if it didn’t involve some medical issues. We dogs all have health issues sooner or later; even Lassie had health issues. Our county was blessed with the arrival of Dr. Ben Stubbs several years before I was born. After all, every town needs its own veterinarian; and Dr. Stubbs is not only a veterinarian, but he has become the leading cause of ‘doggy anxiety’ in these parts. He had known Isabel and Ray for several years and had treated Rays’s Plott Hound, "old Jack," long before I arrived on the scene. After her husband Ray died, Isabel began taking me to Dr. Stubb’s office for nail clips, rabies shots, heartworm treatments, and of course, the inevitable annual sac drains, as well as other things that Ray had not been able to do at home. Dr. Stubb’s office is not a pleasant place.

Dr. Stubbs isn’t really a bad person, but he is old and slow, and his breath always reeks of tobacco. Worst of all, he usually has lots of blood spatter on the sleeves of his scrubs; Isabel’s favorite butcher, Hans Stutzmeyer, doesn’t have as much blood spatter on his work apron as Dr. Stubbs usually has on his scrubs. Kind of destroys that warm, cozy feeling, doesn’t it?

Most of my trips to Dr. Stubbs had been purely routine; simple stuff, the worst of which being the draining of my anal sacs (which I hate). But last summer, when I was in to have my sacs drained, he turned to Isabel and said "Whew, Homer has some real bad breath going on here; have you ever considered bringing him in for a dental?" Seemed to me that he was assessing my breath from the wrong end, but the conclusion was still inevitable. Turns out, Dr. Stubbs had recently been away at UGA learning ‘the art of cleaning canine teeth,’ and now he was trained, eager, and finally ready to ‘drop the bomb.’

Of course, by the time Isabel and I left Dr. Stubbs’ office that day, Isabel had made an appointment for me to return in two weeks for that dreaded ‘dental.’ Needless to say, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and, tugging at my leash, I practically dragged Isabel through Dr. Stubbs’ screen door. Because I had a good idea of what was ahead, I wanted to distance myself from Dr. Stubbs and his cold, stainless steel table.

The two weeks dragged endlessly as I waited for the big day to come. To me, it felt like being on a ‘doggy death row.’ When that hot August day finally came, Isabel and her hired man, Micah Davenport, cornered me in my favorite hiding place under the porch and gently wrestled me to the van for the trip to Dr. Stubb’s ‘parlor of pain.’ "It’s funny, owners must really think that their dogs are stupid," I remember thinking at the time. The morning you wake up and find your dog dish missing, and your dog bed gone, you know that things aren’t going to end on a happy note. "Doc Stubbs is just going to keep Homer over night, sedate him a bit, and debride and clean his teeth in the morning," Isabel explained to Micah. "His breath will smell so good when it’s done." I guess Isabel hasn’t heard of Tic Tacs.

Although I can’t remember anything after the dreaded shot, I do know that I was in pain for several days after I returned to Faded Glory Farm. My teeth and gums were so sore that it even hurt me to blink, say nothing of gnaw on the big soup bone that Isabel left on the kitchen floor near my bowl. At the time, it felt like Stubbs had used a hammer and chisel to clean my ‘pearly whites.’ Luckily, Mother Nature wired us (dogs) so that we can’t remember pain for long. I’m now back to gnawing on my soup bones, and I guess I have the whitest teeth on the planet, Now, I have to look forward to doing this all over again next year!

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