You might be surprised to find that many pet-owners feel compelled to comment when their pet protests an injection. Some sympathize: "Did the bad old doctor stab poor ‘ittle ‘oo?". Some are less sympathetic: "Welcome to the house of jabs." And then there are those who apparently feel like the pet should just suck it up and be tough: "I don’t know why he acts like that. That doesn’t hurt so much." Personally, I tend to agree with the pet. Being stuck with needles hurts. Some injections don’t hurt so badly, some are more painful, but gee whiz, none of them feel good.
Just as the owner feels compelled to comment, naturally I feel compelled to reply (people who blog like to hear themselves talk, and I’m no exception). My standard reply is that "You can hardly blame him. Nobody likes to be stuck with a needle." Usually this just gives the impression that I care, which is correct. You’ve got to realize that nobody goes to veterinary school because they want pets to hate them. Alas, almost every visit will involve something that is painful, frightening, or at least annoying to the pet.
Today I made the usual response ("Nobody likes being stuck with a needle."), but I didn’t get the usual reaction from the owner. Instead he said, "Gee, I dunno… I was thinking about people with piercings." At this point I notice his large earrings, though no other piercings were visible. So, does this gentleman enjoy getting stuck with needles, and if so, how am I getting out of this one? I feel like honesty is always the best policy (though my father used to tell me that "…you don’t have to tell everything you know.").
"Well, I really don’t know much about it. I just assumed that people got piercings so that they could display the ornaments, not because they enjoyed getting the holes poked in them. Sort of like (again just speculating) my idea that people get tattoos because they want to display the pictures, rather than just enjoying the big scabs. I mean, if you just wanted big scabs, you could skate-board naked, right?"
At this point we have wandered about as far from the dog’s medical needs as we can reasonably get in such a short time. Sometimes I amaze myself. Even more amazingly, we managed to get back on topic and have a successful visit. When things don’t go according to plan, it’s always good to keep the original objective in mind when devising plan B.