Dave and I received a notification in the mail today that Aries is due for some sort of heart worm checkup.
Standing in the frame of the doorway, Dave tosses a puzzled look at me. With furrowed brows he speaks.
“Why do we need to take her for a heart worm checkup?”
I, sitting with my laptop and trying to ignore another episode of Survivorman on the television, shrug ambivalently.
“Does she need a shot?”
My eyes seek his and as I shrug, I think of her heart worm chews. Before I can open my mouth to reply, Dave answers his own question, also identifying the chews.
“So, why do we need to take her again?
This time, I venture forth with a question to answer, “uhm, maybe they want to check and see if the medication is working?”
At this point, Dave dismisses my question and philosophizes on marketing techniques he would use to scare the shit out of pet owners to force them into the veterinarian’s office. Something about telling people their pets will most likely die if they do not come in to cure them of these long-winded and worded diseases neither of us can usually pronounce. Not even I, the girl who pronounces just about everything correctly on first try, can pronounce ailments that may or may not befall my companion dog.
And this is where it strikes me that I take better care of my dog, she who lies on our heads at 8:30AM each weekend morning to rouse us from sleep, and I let myself usually fall to the wayside. I, Rachel, who works forty hours a week and travels for business on (rare) occasion, give all that I am to an animal who barely notices I exist sometimes. I, Rachel, who feeds her and lets her take up 3/4 of the bed whenever it please her. (I think she channeled my thoughts as she just let out a rather gruff sigh.) I take more concern in whether her vaccinations are up-to-date rather than ensuring I am, too. Flu shot? I have no memory of ever receiving one. The last purposeful shot I remember taking to prevent death was the MMR (measles, mumps, and Rubella) vaccination in, oh, seventh grade. Clearly, I am wholly unconcerned with my own health.
What is more astonishing than the care we give our pets over ourselves is that we never question the motives to enter the veterinarian’s office. In most serious cases of illness, we seek secondary opinions. In the case of animals, we blindly follow the instructions of an impersonal post card addressed to my dog. Apparently, Aries has become the breadwinner and pants-wearer in the family. (If you lived here, you would know how obviously true that statement is.) Regardless, it is rare that either Dave or I know exactly the purpose of the visit requested on the mailer.
Perhaps this explains the billions of dollars American invest in their pets each year. Thank goodness for the return of love, otherwise we be foolish dolts with pets on ivory pedestals. But, I guess we already are.