Monday, November 19, 2012

Girl vs. Dog

Lucky appeared at our school one morning; hungry, tired, and in need of a family. Nikki had been hoping for a dog and we had promised her one for her birthday. Lucky was the perfect gift and made Nikki one very happy girl.

However, Lucky was in need of some medical attention. Bald patches were plainly visible over different parts of his body and he scratched incessantly. An appointment was made with a local vet and, after much effort on Shawn’s part, a reticent Lucky was successfully loaded into the car. Nikki sat beside him to comfort him during the short ride.

Once the car parked, Lucky happily followed Nikki out onto the asphalt only to come to an abrupt standstill. Exhaust fumes wafted off the road. Antibiotic smells blended with the thousands of animal odors emanating from the vet’s clinic filled Lucky’s nose with uncertainty. Nearby traffic noises compounded his sense of confusion. Instantaneously, Lucky was transformed. Sixty-five pounds of muscle flew into flight mode and proved to be no match for the ten-year-old girl clinging helplessly to his leash. Lucky was determined not to enter that clinic.

While I closed up the car, Nikki tried to muscle him towards the door. He stood firm. She heaved against his rear end, attempting to push him forward. Lucky held his ground. In this tug-of-war between girl and beast, Nikki was fighting a losing battle.

I quickly joined Nikki and together we half-dragged, half-carried a reluctant Lucky across the parking lot. Nikki threw her weight behind his haunches as I hauled him up the stairs. We progressed two steps up. Lucky scored a step back down. We struggled to gain another step’s advantage and Lucky pulled us back down by two. For several minutes we wrangled up and down the stairs, with Nikki pushing, me pulling, and Lucky resisting in both directions.

In a final burst of strength, we propelled Lucky up the stairs and quickly wedged him through the clinic door. With inertia finally on our side, we slid him, toes splayed in resistance, across the smooth linoleum towards the receptionist’s desk. “Well, hello Lucky!” she smiled and welcomed him with a treat. Just like that, all was well again in Lucky’s world. His demeanor immediately reverted back to his happy-go-lucky, compliant self. As Nikki and I wiped the sweat from our foreheads, Lucky flopped down comfortably at our feet, his eyes fixed on our faces, as if to say, “See, it’s not so bad in here. Relax!”

By the way, the only problem they could find was a bad case of fleas.