Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Duration: Vet Visit

 

Had to take the dog to the vet for his heart worm test. He’s had it, and beat it, but you have to make sure it doesn’t come back. Strolled up to the office as usual, Birch unaccountably excited as usual. Don’t know why. Surely a dog’s nose picks up all sorts of bad odors from a vet office – fear, strange angry dog, the screaming soprano notes of chemicals. He gets anxious once we’re inside, as well he should; poking and prodding is en route, and no matter how kind the vets are, no matter how many kibble-treats are bestowed, there must be a remnant memory of the BACK ROOM, where he was subjected to the heartworm treatment and caged lockdown.

But he’s all excitement now, straining at the leash, ready to go in. I had my mask, expecting the waiting room to be observing the usual protocols.

The sign on the door said I couldn’t come in. I should phone, and they’d come to the parking lot for Birch.

Okay. New normal.

A masked vet assistant came out to get Birch, who growled: why are you muzzled, what is this, what’s going on, I want my lawyer. I put on my mask as well: see? All the humans are like this now, which is to say inexplicably different. He calmed down and went inside. I stood on the sidewalk and consulted a small cigar, reading the news on my phone.  

There’s a piece about how China is opening the wet markets, and that’s a good thing! It’s from a guy on Bloomberg Economics website. See, the wet markets have fresh produce, and it’s farm to table, unlike the grocery stores. 

Places where a range of common and exotic animals mix together while bodily fluids flow freely may seem a fertile breeding ground for the virulent novel diseases that cross the species barrier to humans and occasionally become pandemics.

At the same time, let’s put the outrage on pause. Wet markets are increasingly losing ground to supermarkets in China. If they’re showing resilience as suppliers of fresh goods, it’s precisely because consumers regard them as a healthier and more sustainable alternative. 

Whether they are factually so is apparently beyond the author’s purview; what counts is what the consumers regard. Here’s your hearty reassurances: 

The attraction of wet markets isn’t so different from that of farmers’ markets in Western countries. 

Except for the lack of skinned bleeding animals, sure

In contrast to a supermarket model where multiple layers of retailers, wholesalers and logistics companies stand in between the consumer and the grower, wet markets offer a personal and direct connection between shopper, stallholder and farmer.

This guy came in and took a dump in my house then ran his fingers through a bunch of grapes I had in the fridge without washing his hands, but it’s cool, I know him

Consumers know the food is fresh because there’s generally little refrigeration, so everything must be sold on the day. 

There’s no refrigeration so you know it’s fresh is a galaxy-brain take 

To the extent that the mix of the raw and the cooked in Asia’s wet markets is a health problem, it can easily be mitigated by better building design (such as separating meat, vegetable and livestock areas and keeping markets fully enclosed), plus the sort of mandated cleaning regulations found in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.

So don’t worry that the wet markets are open; whatever “problems” exist today can be mitigated in the future by rebuilding them so dripping chicken carcasses aren’t cheek-by-fowl next to vegetables, and also by mandating cleaning! Which suggests, perhaps, that cleaning isn’t currently mandated in the markets that were just reopened?

“There’s your daddy!” said the vet tech, who had appeared with Birch on his leash. I wanted to say “I am not his daddy. I am his boon companion, his protector, his boss,” but let it go. The vet was right behind, Dr. Kathleen. She wore a mask. We were five feet apart. I apologized and pulled up my mask.

I’d asked her to check his right ear, because he yiped! once when I gave it a skritch, and yiped again when I did it a day later. She said he had some build-up of dog-common crud, and it was now gone. We stood in the parking lot in our masks, traffic flowing past on a bright spring Saturday, talking about the usual procedures for waiting for the test results.

“This is crazy,” I said. “I mean, I get it, but we’re acting like it’s everywhere, and it’s not everywhere, but I understand that we have to act like it’s everywhere.”

“I know,” she said. “Whatta going to do.”

TAKE OFF MY MASK AND BREATH DEEP but of course, no, I didn’t. 

Put the mask in my pocket when I got to my car, drove home; Daughter took a picture of Birch with his stylish bandage. He has no idea if he has heart worm. I hope it hasn’t come back, but I’ll tell you this: he almost caught a rabbit today, got to lick the bowl that had chicken soup residue, went to the dog park to drink in the lavish baroque counterpoint of forest aromas, and just now curled up on his soft bed for the night. The poke of the vet’s stick was forgotten the moment a treat was bestowed. It was a grand day by dog metrics. 

 Note to self: adopt dog metrics

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  1. Judge Mental Member

    I know people have been knocked out of their normal routines, but based on the last paragraph I have to wonder if you’re doing anything other than taking care of your dog. That sounds like a pretty full day.

    • #1
    • April 5, 2020, at 12:07 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    I know people have been knocked out of their normal routines, but based on the last paragraph I have to wonder if you’re doing anything other than taking care of your dog. That sounds like a pretty full day.

    Since the lockdown my cat’s demands seem to have tripled. I didn’t realise that the home carers that came in to look after my father also administered unlimited treats and praise to the cat too. Even now she’s looking at me and tapping the treat tin with her paw. 

    • #2
    • April 5, 2020, at 2:53 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  3. Blondie Thatcher

    I just don’t understand this love affair with the wet markets. That line about the lack of refrigeration was enough to make me want to barf. Hope your pup gets a clean bill of health. Heart worms are no joke. 

    • #3
    • April 5, 2020, at 5:12 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge

    From WVLT in Knoxville, TN:

    “Officials said one person has died as a result of COVID-19 in Knox County. The victim was hospitalized and passed away over the weekend. The Knox County Health Department said the victim was considered high-risk and contracted the virus from the community.

    Officials confirmed a Knox County assisted living facility has one resident diagnosed with COVID-19.

    The breakdown of numbers related to the virus is as follows:

    Positive cases: 97

    Deaths: 1

    Recovered: 58

    Tests given:
    1409

    Hospitalizations: 15″

    What can I reasonably derive from this data, which is surely incomplete per the numbers of tests given and the much larger population of the county, which may very well be similar to the one in which you’re living with your mask?

    There is community spread in the county where I am staying per the one death that has been recorded, as that person contracted the virus via “community spread.” Yet “this is [still] not everywhere.” It is also not a death sentence for most who contract it.

    Additionally, the mortality rate of a little more than 1% belies the idea that there are a lot of asymptomatic people walking around who can spread the virus if they don’t wear masks, which means that the percentage of people who die is almost certainly smaller than 1% per… math.

    I (sadly) suspect there will be more deaths at the assisted living facility where Covid has now been detected because of the exceptionally high risk population living there, and that will make Covid look more deadly. (It is more deadly for a subset of the population.)

    I also (sadly) suspect we can attribute spiking suicides in the same county to Covid as well, though I feel those have more to do with the reaction to the disease than to the disease itself. 

    As this is the data I can find from the powers that be, I tend to feel your observation that “this is crazy” is more correct than any other reaction, but it seems to me that many other people will think you’re a monster if you think such things aloud.

    Finally, I hope your dog is fully recovered.

    1 in 200 dogs gets heart worms every year, as 1 in 200 people get cancer. (1 in ? get Covid.)

    I am so glad that there is a reliable treatment now. 

    The main carriers of many diseases for both humans and animals, mosquitos are a bit like wet markets. I’ve never figured out what mosquitos do that is useful, so I’d be fine with their extinction.

    • #4
    • April 5, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. The Reticulator Member

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I’ve never figured out what mosquitos do that is useful, so I’d be fine with their extinction.

    They are good food for fish and Odonates. And most species are not bloodsuckers on humans.

    • #5
    • April 5, 2020, at 6:29 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. La Tapada Member

    I get such a kick out of James’ short, descriptive phrases. Here I can’t decide which I like better: “screaming soprano notes of chemicals” or “consulted a cigar.”

    • #6
    • April 5, 2020, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I’ve never figured out what mosquitos do that is useful, so I’d be fine with their extinction.

    They are good food for fish and Odonates. And most species are not bloodsuckers on humans.

    Ah. Well. Yeah. I guess I want to keep the salmon and the dragonflies. Dag-nab-it. 

    • #7
    • April 5, 2020, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Hugh Member

    Interesting. 

    I put on a mask and went up to the dog. Poor Lily, she growled at me and the hairs on her back stood up. Then I said something and she dissolved into a puddle of doggie apologies.

    I berated her (lightly) since as a hound she is supposed to have this incredibly accurate nose. I guess with the shock she forgot to use it.

    (exits to get some treats from the treat box for her)

    • #8
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Read to family, received with enthusiasm. We like cat metrics, especially the part about sleeping 70% of the time.

    • #9
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks: I stood on the sidewalk and consulted a small cigar, reading the news on my phone.  

    I didn’t know you doubled as Dr. Watson…

    • #10
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    The family of a friend of Mrs. Tabby’s owns some veterinary hospitals, mostly large animals (horses). This no person-to-person contact for handing off the animal is driving them slightly bonkers, as they now have to have staff to unload the patients from the trailers while the owners remain in their trucks. And the horses aren’t always as cooperative for the staff as they are for their owners since the staff doesn’t always know the little tricks the owners use to get the horses to perform a desired move. 

    • #11
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Great post! Our kitty has had no issues, and is as friendly as ever. She comes into the bedroom while I am on my rowing machine, and watches outside from her perch on the window. When I am reading on my bed, she comes up and keeps me company.

    • #12
    • April 5, 2020, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Took my three dogs in last Monday for same (plus vaccinations for one). All three clear of heart worm. Note to self: start preventative meds first of next month. 

    Pretty much the same protocol at our vet clinic, except I spoke with the doc over the phone afterward. And they sent me a “personalized” thank you via email for bringing Pepper (the border terrier) in to brighten their day. It was one of those “movies” of jaunty music and photos of OPD (other people’s dogs) with messages about Pepper interspersed. I try to remember, it’s the thought that counts. 

    • #13
    • April 5, 2020, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Front Seat Cat Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Great post! Our kitty has had no issues, and is as friendly as ever. She comes into the bedroom while I am on my rowing machine, and watches outside from her perch on the window. When I am reading on my bed, she comes up and keeps me company.

    Of course those are clean pants right out of the dryer….

    • #14
    • April 6, 2020, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes