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Dogs at the Doctor’s Office and Other Stories

 

While waiting for my turn to see the doctor, I was surprised to see a large yellow dog stroll up behind the receptionist’s desk. Then he noticed me and stood with his front paws on the counter to get a better look. I was charmed. When he came out into the waiting room, I greeted him and let him sniff my belongings. It was comical, too, to find that on my way to the restroom, he was padding down the hall behind me.

I pumped the assistant who was taking my blood pressure. Whose dog was this? It had been newly adopted by the doctor, she explained. Since he lived on a rural property, he didn’t want to leave the animal all day to have it wander off. So was this a temporary arrangement? I wondered. The assistant replied that yes, it was, probably. She betrayed no emotions on the subject, for or against. The receptionist had also appeared to have zero opinions regarding her assistant greeter.

When the doctor came in, though, the canine presence got a bit too much. The original dog wandered in behind his master and resumed his perusal of my belongings. I patted his head and talked to him, thinking he’d be dismissed soon. But he was soon followed by a second big animal, of a similar breed–maybe a mixed yellow lab. This one had no plans to leave, flopping down on his belly with a chew toy. I must have looked surprised, because when we started the consultation, and I was still distracted by the dogs, the doctor said: “Would it be better if they were out?”

“Ummm . . .” I answered. How hard it is to not give people what they want. But . . . wait. I was here for a professional consultation. Was I feeling guilty for agreeing that he should dismiss his pets?

Once the dogs had been shooed out, I found I could concentrate better. And I probably have a new punchline for “You know you’re in Montana when . . . “


“This class is young,” the Kindergarten teacher explained several times. She pointed out their class birthday graph that revealed many birthdays clustered in the fall months. “They’re still babies, really,” she said when I told her the afternoon had been especially difficult. “They are really tired by afternoon. They are just babies.”

Tears, needless supplications for permission to go the office because of supposed illness, earache and more tears, purloining of the children’s name tags causing a surprising amount of chaos, outright defiance, whining and crying when one’s will was crossed*–yesterday and today stand out as difficult days in years of substituting. Further throwing me off balance was a new, detailed curriculum and my inability to access the lesson plans the night before. The teacher, who was doing some work on campus, lent support, but I was wrung out by the second day.

There were the sweet moments, still. In honor of Dr. Seuss week, I read them Yertle the Turtle and Cat and the Hat. Even the most difficult children are mesmerized by the stories. One kid, who had defied me, a stranger, upon his entering the room, later communicated a look showing how deeply he was enjoying an activity. And the teacher, having no control over when parents decided to enroll their children in Kindergarten, took it all in stride, cheerfully talking through problems and encouraging individuals. Even a child whom I would have been tempted to sideline, who is far too immature to start first grade next year, received a fair share of nurturing. There was a small celebration when she zipped up her coat by herself, and later a demonstration for her grandad.

Toward day’s end, vague and smarting from being pulled in so many directions, I spotted a water bottle at the back of the room. I didn’t remember putting my water there–was it someone else’s? No, it looked just like mine. I took a couple of good swigs from it. Later, an aide came in, in search of her water bottle. I looked around, spotted my own water bottle by the teacher’s desk, and explained what happened. “Oh, no, I hope you don’t get sick,” she said. “I’m just getting over a cold.” And in such manner my work week ended.

*And that was just the sub’s behavior. You can imagine what the kids were like.


I don’t envy the cashier checking me out at the grocery store. My shopping cart is full, with items thrust in every available space. It takes time for the cashier and bagger to pack all my purchases and get me out the door. If someone gets in line behind me, I’ll let him go first, if I can. If not, I try to apologetically explain that I have a lot of groceries and he might want to pick another line.

Last week, when I repeated to the young bagger the cashier’s request for “carry-out,” the bagger surprised me by holding up his hand and telling me I needed a high-five. “For what, buying so many groceries?” Nope, just wanted to afford me this gesture of approval and congratulations. A store bonus, apparently. Once he’d pushed the cart through the snow drifts to my old red Subaru and helped me transfer the bags, he gave me another high-five before he went back in.

I didn’t know what to make of it, nor what his manager would make of it. Maybe if the kid knew that I only paid $164 for the cornucopia of goods, that would give him good reason to be impressed. Maybe the customer relations strategies need refinement, but the savings will keep me coming back.

Published in Humor
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Members have made 23 comments.

  1. Profile photo of sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    [Comment deleted by author due to not being Main Feed material.]

    • #1
    • March 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm
  2. Profile photo of Nymeria Member

    Wow, with the dogs! The increasing trend of bringing dogs to various locations is annoying. What that Doctor did was very unprofessional. The lack of awareness that having two dogs (big ones in this case) wasn’t the best way to conduct a consultation does not speak highly of him. What happens when the dogs have an accident in the medical office? Here in SoCal it is the dog crazy people committing fraud and labeling their dog as a “service dog” to get them everywhere. It has gotten so ridiculous that restaurants are now allowing the “service dogs” only in open/patio spaces, farmer’s markets have banned them, and many other business are at wits end hoping that the dogs don’t have accidents or attack other patrons (they know most dogs are not “service animals”).

    • #2
    • March 3, 2017 at 9:14 pm
  3. Profile photo of sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    The new trend of abusing service animal privileges bothers me as well.

    • #3
    • March 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm
  4. Profile photo of Doctor Robert Member

    Your Doc came in the examining room with a pair of large yellow dogs? Please tell me this is fiction.

    Damn, that won’t happen in my office. I would have been out the door and on the phone to the state board of medical practice (406-444-2676) in a heartbeat.

    I guess it’s a matter of how sick you were at the time.

    • #4
    • March 4, 2017 at 4:26 am
  5. Profile photo of PHCheese Member

    My Doberman had some surgery and I was afraid to leave her at home so I took her to my office for about a month. One day she growled at the USDA inspector and she had to get better quick. He as the only person she grower it.

    • #5
    • March 4, 2017 at 7:17 am
  6. Profile photo of Mark Hamilton Member

    Oh chill out folks. I found the dog story to be charming, and could care less if my doctor had a pet or two in his office – in fact, therapy dogs in medical settings is getting quite popular.

    Who gives a hoot if some proprietary snob thinks its “unprofessional” (they probably long for the return of Nurse Ratched starched whites); the rest of us who believe in informality, friendliness, and dogs would have enjoyed such an office.

    Besides, it’s clear the pooch was ready to adopt Sawatdeeka. There is no higher compliment than a dog’s seal of approval…

    • #6
    • March 4, 2017 at 9:09 am
  7. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    I’ll talk about the third story, if you don’t mind. My very first job at 16 was in computers, so I never did any retail stuff. However, my son did, and one time he told me that he loved it when the manager made him go out and bring in all the grocery carts. It got him out of the manager’s gaze for a while, he didn’t have to wear the fake smile or answer the same questions over and over about which aisle that thing was, and hot or cold, he got some fresh air. Store air gets kind of thick, especially in winter.

    That may be why you got the high-five; he didn’t have to bag groceries for awhile, as long as he was helping you out.

    • #7
    • March 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm
  8. Profile photo of sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    I’ll talk about the third story, if you don’t mind. My very first job at 16 was in computers, so I never did any retail stuff. However, my son did, and one time he told me that he loved it when the manager made him go out and bring in all the grocery carts. It got him out of the manager’s gaze for a while, he didn’t have to wear the fake smile or answer the same questions over and over about which aisle that thing was, and hot or cold, he got some fresh air. Store air gets kind of thick, especially in winter.

    That may be why you got the high-five; he didn’t have to bag groceries for awhile, as long as he was helping you out.

    You may be on the right track here. When I was apologetic about getting him away from the busy store where he was needed, he said he was happy to get out.

    • #8
    • March 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  9. Profile photo of iWe Reagan
    iWe

    I wouldn’t mind dogs in that situation. Unless there is some real medical reason they should not be there?

    • #9
    • March 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm
  10. Profile photo of PJS Reagan
    PJS

    Mr. S is seriously allergic to animals. The trend of people taking their dogs everywhere with them is making his life smaller.

    • #10
    • March 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm
  11. Profile photo of iWe Reagan
    iWe

    PJS (View Comment):
    Mr. S is seriously allergic to animals. The trend of people taking their dogs everywhere with them is making his life smaller.

    That’ll do it!

    • #11
    • March 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm
  12. Profile photo of Nymeria Member

    @PJS I really dislike how people are abusing the “service animal” provisions of the ADA to narsscistically take their pet with them to pet inappropriate places. I feel for your husband as the crazy dog people are bringing their “emotional support” dogs on flights and I can imagine his misery. A close friend began to act on this self absorption regarding their dog and would sneak in the dog to a movie theater in a big purse because she just wanted to have her dog on her lap while she watched. She would take the dog to the farmer’s market, restaurants, etc. It was getting to the point that I had to put my foot down when she only wanted to go to restaurants with patio seating so she could bring her dog even if it was freezing outside. The farmer’s market banned the dogs, the restaurant owners tightened the requirements by requiring the people to ONLY use the outdoor patios due to hygiene standards, and other shops began to be more strict as well. In essence, she began to get the hint that her dog didn’t have be everywhere and has finally mellowed on the need to have the dog with her.

    • #12
    • March 4, 2017 at 9:13 pm
  13. Profile photo of Quake Voter Thatcher

    Honestly, whenever some walking incarnation of a New Yorker cartoon decides she needs that extra time down the jetway to carry her service animal I start thinking, “I know Mao was terribly wrong about most things, but about dogs …”

    • #13
    • March 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm
  14. Profile photo of Rocket Surgeon Coolidge

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    Your Doc came in the examining room with a pair of large yellow dogs? Please tell me this is fiction.

    Damn, that won’t happen in my office. I would have been out the door and on the phone to the state board of medical practice (406-444-2676) in a heartbeat.

    I guess it’s a matter of how sick you were at the time.

    You’re in California, not Montana, right? That would explain it.

    • #14
    • March 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm
  15. Profile photo of Doctor Robert Member

    Rocket Surgeon (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    Your Doc came in the examining room with a pair of large yellow dogs? Please tell me this is fiction.

    Damn, that won’t happen in my office. I would have been out the door and on the phone to the state board of medical practice (406-444-2676) in a heartbeat.

    I guess it’s a matter of how sick you were at the time.

    You’re in California, not Montana, right? That would explain it.

    Hey Doc Rocket, no, I’m in the Peoples’ Republik of Massachusetts. But that begs the point. We keep our office clean, free of as many allergens and distractions as possible. I’m OK with dogs–this photo is our most recent one, Louie–but not at work.

    • #15
    • March 18, 2017 at 3:48 pm
  16. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    I love dogs but am highly allergic to them. Mine is an English Cocker, who when taken care of properly doesn’t cause me problems. Those who assume that their dogs are welcome anywhere are wrong.

    • #16
    • March 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm
  17. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    I love dogs but am highly allergic to them. Mine is an English Cocker, who when taken care of properly doesn’t cause me problems. Those who assume that their dogs are welcome anywhere are wrong.

    I was thinking that, too, when this story first posted a while back. That would be horrifying to be allergic to dogs and you go to a doctor for some reason and a huge hairy dog comes running up to you when you walk in the door.

    I love dogs myself, but the last place I expect to see one is at a place of business.

    • #17
    • March 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm
  18. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    Before ObamaCare, when my doctor had his own practice, there was always a small dog behind the receptionist counter. I’m not sure whose it was. I don’t remember it wandering elsewhere, but it may have.

    Under ObamaCare my doctor was sucked into one of those big clinics, and the old receptionists/staff and dog were gone. Now he is no longer practicing medicine.

    I prefer the old way.

    I’ve made friends with the dogs I’ve met in nursing homes.

    • #18
    • March 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm
  19. Profile photo of Sweezle Member

    I love the trend toward dogs out and about with their owners and on a leash. I think in a private consultation with your doctor that is a step too far. And he should not have allowed it. I am neutral about restaurants allowing dogs on leashes if the dining is outside and the dog remains near its owner and not where someone can trip on them. But I have zero problem with dogs on a leash in stores (yes they allow it Santa Barbara). Naturally all dog owners should clean up after their dogs at parks, sidewalks, etc..

    • #19
    • March 19, 2017 at 11:06 am
  20. Profile photo of Randy Weivoda Thatcher

    I can take or leave dogs but my wife considers it a bonus when she goes into a business and they have a dog there. We have a cat at work (when she feels like showing herself) and the vast majority of customers like her.

    • #20
    • March 19, 2017 at 11:51 am
  21. Profile photo of Vince Guerra Member

    I’ve lost all sympathy for those who feel compelled to take their dogs everywhere. It’s unprofessional, uncivilized and arrogantly insensitive in so many ways. If you do this, please stop. Unless it is a true service dog ( as in: you’re blind, or, it will alert someone if you slip into a diabetic coma, rather than: you are emotionally unstable) then please leave it at home or in the car.

    • #21
    • March 20, 2017 at 1:47 am
  22. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    I’ve lost all sympathy for those who feel compelled to take their dogs everywhere. It’s unprofessional, uncivilized and arrogantly insensitive in so many ways. If you do this, please stop. Unless it is a true service dog ( as in: you’re blind, or, it will alert someone if you slip into a diabetic coma, rather than: you are emotionally unstable) then please leave it at home or in the car.

    The left likes to call us uncivilized for not having universal health care. So what’s so bad about being uncivilized?

    • #22
    • March 20, 2017 at 7:52 am
  23. Profile photo of sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I can take or leave dogs but my wife considers it a bonus when she goes into a business and they have a dog there. We have a cat at work (when she feels like showing herself) and the vast majority of customers like her.

    That cat is pretty stinkin’ cute.

    • #23
    • March 20, 2017 at 11:58 am