We went to the vet today. Bordatella shots for all the dogs because we’ll be going away at some point in the next few weeks. The hardest thing for my wife to understand about deerhounds is that they aren’t just bigger, hairier greyhounds. So we had Raebert, Molly, and Eloise in the office all at once, transported in two cars no less. Everything was cool. A vet tech leaned over the gate and said mirthfully, “And a partridge in a pear tree.”
Then a cranky old male golden lab came in and looked crosswise at Raebert. Who said something back. Something Scottish. My wife was horrified. We shushed him. He subsided. He’s twice everybody’s size, you see. No hint of aggression can be tolerated. But he knows that because he’s a smart boy. Why he got A’s in obedience school, even if he forgets his manners now and again.
Then they’d had their shots and I took the sighthounds out to the car while my wife did the business part with Eloise in tow. But no sooner had we reached the top of the steps than we saw, at the bottom of the steps, a gorgeous young Swiss Mountain dog. He took one look at Raebert and did that aggressive male bark we’ve all learned to recognize and dread. “Who. And. What. The. Hell. Are. You?”
Oh God, I’m thinking. You really really don’t want to know. We had an escape route. A ramp, a 40 ft detour to avoid the steps. I led Raebert and Molly down the slick first half, and the slicker second half in the opposite direction. Raebert was absolutely cool. Molly was only a little frantic, the way she always is at the vet’s.
I didn’t tell my wife right away that the ramp caused the leashes to get fouled and when I went to put them in the car Molly got out of her collar because Raebert had his leash wrapped around him to the point no one but Molly could move. “Molly, stay,” I commanded. She didn’t know what I was talking about. Why I was able to slip the collar back on her while I belatedly stood on Raebert’s loose leash. Everything under control except my heart…
“What a gorgeous Swissie!” my wife told me when she returned with Eloise.
I’m just reporting here. Raebert didn’t go all Braveheart on anyone and Molly didn’t bolt like a deer into the trafficky suburbs. Total victory. And Eloise was a little angel for the whole ride up and back.
Why my weekend is already a complete triumph.