Of Dogs and Debt

I have a diabetic dog (Who knew dogs could be diabetic?!) She is a very expensive diabetic dog. Every few days I pop into Table View Animal Hospital to collect her insulin and once a month I donate an internal organ for her special diet food.

Maggie Mongie is her name, even though I have re-married and have a new surname. This caused me some angst at the time since I was not sure of the protocol regarding pets on re-marrying: do they also adopt my new name, or retain their given name? I’ve gone with the original nomenclature, like the children, but it is a bit weird. I feel alternatively neglectful or abandoned.

Since I am a regular visitor at the vet now, I have seen a good deal of the practice, while waiting with my cooler box to purchase the canine’s drugs (no cut-price street dealer for our pooch).

The veterinary assistants are charming. They are efficient, yet indulgent of their trembling patients, even when they urinate on the floor in their fear. And it’s always the large breeds which are the biggest ninnies. I have seen huge Alsatians squirm under benches, beefy Staffies shiver from nerves and heard energetic Huskies whine in their disapproval. The giddy Labradors of course want to be lapdogs while they await their fate. The yappers tend to be vocal and cheeky – until the larger mutts turn around (and some are enormous like the massive St Bernard which was there a few weeks ago with a body like a hairy cement truck and a head the size of a VW Polo. I wondered how they got him into their vehicle – gives ‘fur on the dashboard’ a whole new meaning.) Liam can be grateful he doesn’t do doggie-patrol in their garden!

Cats are amusing. Their humans guard their transport boxes from the distinctly unpredatory Fidos with passionate diligence, while the tabbies glare the other way, disdainful of the obvious trauma of the other beasts.

The owners too make me chuckle quietly. They are either scurrying behind Rover to prevent any leg-lifting on the dogfood bags on sale, trying to disentangle themselves from leashes wound around all the closest items of furniture, or dragging Titan (I’m sorry, but quivering legs on a burly animal should make it relinquish such a warlike name!) out from beneath the chair he has buried himself under. Or glowering at the yapper’s Mommy.

Then someone sneezes from all the foreign fur flying around. And I begin to itch when I think of the fleas which must be jumping ship to healthier hosts.

I wander over to the deli section and gasp at the price increase on Maggie’s caviar-diet requirements. This dog should be making me tea daily in gratitude, I think. Fortunately before my caninicidal thoughts develop any further, I am called to pay for the insulin – R163 per vial, which lasts a mere three or four days. I consider charging them for my rise in blood pressure, but eventually cough it up meekly, again pondering how much a kidney will fetch on the black market.

I escape the bedlam and head home, to be greeted by the afore-mentioned Mad Lab, who is the only one who seems to care that I am alive. And I remember why I love her.

Of course I am not that easily fooled. I am on to her. Like the teens who inhabit the house and prowl around like food-sniffing trolls, it’s cupboard-love, because her scampering (as much as a thirty kilogram, white fur ball can scamper) and fawning is to remind me that she wants her cuisine, even if it necessitates an injection.

Step aside Doctor Gray, I have needles and I am not afraid to use them. Maggie’s butler/ nurse/ pusher is in the House.

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