I'm not a big fan of taking animals to the vet. Even after the most egregious porcupine encounter there's no need to run to the vet. I remember my old German Shepherd (or "Alsatian" as my elderly Jewish neighbour insisted on calling him) Buddy, who had a truly fearsome killer instinct, lunging up a utility pole time after time in a vain attempt to get at the porcupine who'd already left hundreds of quills in his snout.
Vet time? No way. Me and Buddy, a pair of pliers, and a bottle of brandy shared between the two of us was all it took, at a savings of at least a couple hundred bucks. By the way, if you can't get your dog to down the brandy, try mixing it with eggnog.
I always figure, worst case scenario, a bullet costs less than fifty cents.
Not that I could bring myself to do that; that's more tough-guy bluster than anything else. But the Farm Manager has a different approach. Even though I've never known her to make a medical appointment for herself, she's really keen on taking the hounds to the vet on a regular basis.
So it was that we took the girls to Wiarton to have their shots updated and get a general assessment of their health.
While I don't want to blow his cover, I'm pretty sure the Wiarton vet is that Bulgarian weight-lifter who applied for political asylum during the Montreal Olympics. His biceps are bigger than my thighs. He can pick up a hundred pound mutt by the scruff of the neck and plop her on the examination table - with one hand.
We'd had some dark conversations around the old girl the last couple weeks. We're not 100% sure of Boomer's vintage, but she's more than likely in her early teens. That would be around 90 in dog years. We've noticed that there's sometimes a puddle under her when she's lounging in front of the fireplace for an extended period. If she's on the couch for a spell she'll leave a wet spot.
So my thinking, as the guy who pays the vet bills, is maybe the only bill that makes sense is the last one, if you know what I mean.
But as the guy who takes her on that 5k walk every morning, I've got another perspective. She's perky as all get out on that morning walk. She has serious quality of life! Sure, she may be tuckered out by the end of it, especially in the summer months, but what the hey?...
Putting down a creature that still has decent quality of life would be a crime.
The Bulgarian didn't seem to think the leakage was a big deal. She's an old girl, he says. A course of hormone replacement therapy should fix her up in no time.
Alrighty! Got out of there for a whisker under five hundred bucks, plus whatever a few months of hormone therapy is gonna cost...
And it's nice to know we can look forward to a few more seasons of Boomer.