It started as one might expect. The vet has a 2'x3' metal examination table and your job, as owner, is to try and keep the chihuahua on the slippery metal table when all four of her legs are simultaneously sprinting in different directions. This visit included the 'taking of the temperature' procedure as well as the 'fecal sampling' procedure, both of which require the veterinary assistant to insert a prong shaped tool into a precise target location on the dog.
A target that is, in this case, understandably small. And attached to a dog that is determined to not let that target be hit. Akin to hitting a hummingbird mid-flight with a spear.
After the vitals, part two of the vet visit is when the vet shows up. The vet has a broader variety of targets to hit, all strategically located on the most inaccesible parts of the dog. We started with the shining the bright light in her eyes, sticking the rubber cone in her ear and then squirting something up her nose which the dog promptly and enthusiastically squirted right back out of her nose. From this we moved to tooth inspection and then squirting pink foam in her mouth. You do not know just how far a chihuahua can spit until you squirt pink foam in her mouth. I think they may still have a bit on one of the walls.
And then, as prelude to the grand finale, the vet said, "Ok, now I just need to feel her stomach."
Vets are, I imagine, checking for several different things when they give a dog's belly a rub. One of those things is the status of what is known as the "anal gland".
See, dogs have this little gland back there. If you want to know all of the specifics and the whys then I shall refer you to Wikipedia. All we need to know in this case is that one of the things that happens to dog anal glands is that they accumulate...anal stuff. Eventually they get too much accumulation and they start to itch. Signs of this include people in your house simultaneously yelling and laughing as the dog goes sliding across the carpet like a cartoon scooterbeggar. As dogs are not usually wearing pants while they do this, their owners then get to figure out how to remove skidmarks from the upholstery.
Fortunately this is a treatable issue. Unfortunately, the process is one known as "expressing the anal gland." Anal glands have limited means of expression. A vet can feel from the outside whether or not an anal gland has something to say. But to get it to sing requires an indoors visit. This time with a finger.
Do dogs feel the same horror we do when they hear the snap of a rubber glove on the wrist of a nearby medical professional? You might be surprised at the amount of strength contained within a chihuahua's tiny form. Marylin and the vet assistant were both required at this point to keep the chihuahua on the table and the dog is still managing to perform a competition level mambo.
Vet fingers come in multiple sizes. I know because I got a look at her hand. As previously established, the target in question was quite small and the vet's available finger selections were all significantly larger than prior visitors. One might think that the vet, out of a sense of mercy and compassion, might select the smallest of fingers with which to proceed. One would be wrong. The index finger made its ritual dip into the jelly and, aided by a now fifth hand managing the dog, hand number six zeroed in.
And the gland expressed.
I'll leave you to imagine the facial expression on the chihuahua. You can have a look at the picture again if you need to refresh your reference point. There followed a moment of silence.
"I think you got some on your shirt," Marylin said politely to the vet assistant.
"Yes," said the veterinary assistant. Her lips were smiling but her eyes were not.
"You probably have a bunch of spare ones in the back for things like this," Marylin said.
A 'no' can be worth a thousand words.
"Last appointment of the day, though!" the unsullied vet said cheerfully.
The vet assistant's smile was now looking more like it had been sliced.
I think six of those thousand words might have been, "I ride the city bus home."
The chihuahua, for her part, received the further indignity of a bath once she arrived home and spent the rest of the day glaring at everyone.
Fortunately the forgiveness abilities of dogs are legendary. She's back in form today and ready to mambo.