A trip to the vet’s office is never a dull experience. Our most recent visit 2 days ago as Abroozi was not well (more on those details in the next post) did not fail to disappoint. But as the vet got more and more delayed, we watched as the number of dogs piled up and the jolly chaotic Indian mayhem ensued.
We were the first to arrive at 7pm and the shutters were down at the vet’s clinic. This was odd because I’d already spoken to the vet earlier in the day and he had not indicated that there would be any delays. Turns out he had an emergency and was eventually an hour and 45 minutes late. His wife, who helps him run the clinic arrived shortly after we did and opened up the offices and we took our place at the front of the line. After about 30 restless minutes as Abroozi alternated between sniffing around, demanding his belly be rubbed and sprawling out on the floor trying to get cool, the vet’s assistant gave him some doggy treats which he gladly ate out of her hand, slobbering all over the place. He refuses to eat this stuff at home but at the vet’s office it’s like a special treat. Although fully fed we were all rather fed up but decided to stick it out and continued to wait for the vet.
People at the vets office all have one thing in common- they love animals, or at least their species of animal. And unlike other waiting areas, I’ve found that people in vet’s offices have no trouble striking up a conversation. I guess when a dog is sniffing your crotch there’s nothing left to hide. Talk begins with what your pets name is and how old he is and then always turns to what food you’re feeding your dog, where you got that particular harness or leash, choke collar versus regular versus harness, what do you do with him on holidays, grooming techniques etc.
After us came a man, his teenager daughter and a yappy brown Indian breed puppy on a metal chain. As Abroozi was sprawled out on the floor, occupying most of the waiting room and the two of us occupying 2 of the 3 chairs, they were put in the vet’s office which is separated from the waiting room by a curtain. The puppy was totally captivated by Abroozi and kept peeking out from between his father’s legs to have a look at ABroozi, bark at him a couple of times and then run away when Abroozi languidly turned to look at who was troubling him.
As the minutes ticked by, in hopeful waiting more and more people with their dogs, of all shapes and breeds started to pile up. As you can imagine, a group of dogs all unknown to each other is bound to be slightly chaotic: some barking, plenty of sniffing, misunderstandings, some temper tantrums and scuffles. I have to say that since Abroozi’s “operation” I noticed a real change in his behaviour at the vets. He was much less bothered about the dogs around him – just a little sniff in the air was all he required to fulfill his curiosity. This time he just wanted to be petted and have his belly rubbed as he rolled around on the floor.
A shifty looking white Indian dog of unpredictable temperament was carefully whisked away passed all of us, through the waiting room, the vet’s office and through to the operating theatre which has glass doors and walls. So while he was out of everyone’s way, he still had his eye on us. What looked like a hamster cage was quietly brought in with an old bed sheet draped loosely over it that firmly affixed a veil of suspicion as to what was in that cage. Cage and contents was placed on the high examining table in the vet’s office while the owner wandered around in search of a coffee. Whoever was inside was very very quiet.
A man carrying a 3 month old Doberman puppy with a deformity in his hind legs, was brought in a newspaper. The man was allowed to sit inside the vet’s office. The puppy hopped out of his newspaper hideaway and was placed on the large doggy weighing scale to nap. The man proceed to carefully fold the newspaper and after a few minutes I noticed that for lack of anything to do, he began to read said newspaper.
A female fawn lab with exploding udders came waddling in, accompanied by her ten puppies. Hardly a few weeks old they were all crammed in to a cardboard box sleeping on top of each other as puppies do. Mother dog and puppies were accompanied by the entire human family of mother, father, small children, grown up teenage boys, cousins, an uncle and an aunt. There must have been 20 of them, puppies included. I thought that this typical Indian family behaviour was only applicable to seeing a person off at the train station or airport. But apparently it goes for all occasions!
A beautiful 5 month old black Labrador puppy called Zuno was very interested in Abroozi. I’ve noticed that when young males meet Abroozi they tend to do this bizarre psychotic hopping dance that involves ungraceful flailing of gangly limbs and jumping about in one spot. He was licking him, nipping his face, prodding and slobbering all over Abroozi’s face. Till then everyone was so delighted by how Abroozi was tolerating this excitable young thing who was clearly taking advantage of a dog much bigger than him. But then the “puppy” proceeded to try to mount ABroozi from the front. At which point Abroozi had had enough and decided to teach this young upstart a thing or two. So he stepped back from the puppy, who was still excitedly springing and spinning about, lifted his head, stood tall and let out a very low, reverberating almost inaudible rumble of a growl that slowly became louder and louder until the puppy’s owner yanked him away. No gnashing of teeth, no barking, just a very threatening “you don’t want to be doing that, champ” rumble.
At last count I noticed around 12 dogs waiting outside the vet’s office. The vet’s office is located in an old rundown local shopping mall. So everyone’s packed in to the corridor with shops on either side, rather than being out on the road. Food and water was being dished out to the dogs like some kind of canine refugee camp, while the vet’s wife was looking increasingly embarrassed and frustrated that her husband still hadn’t showed.
Just as the stifling atmosphere of once patient, now frustrated dogs and owners was getting physically and audibly palpable, the vet appeared and just as suddenly, this pressure cooker was defused.
A word about Dr.Ravi Kumar, our Vet. While he may not have the best time keeping skills it’s not for any laziness on his part. He’s an extremely hard working man who never says no to anyone in need. You can take your dog to his house till 9 am, after which he does his government hospital work, sees animals in farms and villages. Then he’s back at home at 4pm from which time you can go to his house. He opens his clinic around 6:30-7pm and the other day when he was late – he was there till way past 10:30 at night. You can see him on Sundays and he always picks up his mobile phone. He is also able to give very good advice over the phone in an emergency.
You’d think that a guy like this would be exhausted and that his exhaustion would make him a very stressed out, ratty, impatient man. On the contrary he is the most calm, gentle, soft spoken, competent doctor I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He is meticulous in his examination, steady in all his procedures and doesn’t panic even when pet owners are panicking around him. It’s this calm attitude that calms me down when I’m there. Maybe some people think he’s too calm and that he isn’t getting worked up enough about their beloved animal. But I think a calm, collected cool head is better than a hot one and I’m sure animals respond to that better. He charges a measly Rs.60 as a consultation fee and he’s been nothing but thorough when treating our Abroozi. I also value that he doesn’t like to over-drug the animals. He prefers to take things step by step, starting with effective but the least harsh treatment as possible before going for the really wham-bham-kapow medications.
He’s got an operating theatre in his clinic and two doors down is a fully equipped lab for blood work and x-rays that operates as a human facility till 7pm and then does animals from 7pm to 9pm. He’s now got a tie up with another lab near his house so you don’t need to go to his clinic (where it is a nightmare to find parking) even for blood work and x-rays. Now that’s what I call resourceful and excellent business sense.
Through all the chaos that day he remembered us and saw Abroozi first. But because there were so many people waiting, there were at least 5 others in the vet’s office and of course, many more in the waiting room and still more in the corridor. We had to lift a very frightened, very heavy, very reluctant and dehydrated Abroozi on to the examining table which is very very high (so that the animals don’t jump off and are a little bit intimidated/subdued) so that the vet could take a blood sample from the vein in his leg. First a small area has to be shaved of fur and then the vein located, tapped and needle inserted while we distract the dog. In the middle of all this, a man is thrusting a handkerchief under the vet’s nose, in which he’s brought a tiny tiny white puppy and he’s asking the vet, “Saar, Saar, is this a real or a fake puppy?”. He wanted to know if this was a pure bred Lab or some mixed breed. Everybody in that office – the vet, assistant, the pet owners, us and I bet even the dogs – could only react with an incredulously smile. This chap, who through all the chaos and medical procedures going on had the least significant reason for being there but still wanted just a minute, just a glance from the vet. Our Vet has a kind face and smirked at the man, saying something in Telugu that sounded like “Only god and time can answer that.”
More on Abroozi’s small episode tomorrow. But not to worry he’s just fine.
Dr. Ravi’s clinic is called Pet Care and is at Gajuwaka, in the small mall before CMR Mall. His number is 098492380. He does not do house visits but you can take your dog to his house. I highly recommend this vet if you live in the area.