Since we veterinarians listen to infinite dog stories every day it seems only fair that we cudgel people with our own dog stories.
Fido came in the first time at least 10 years ago. The end of his mandible had been shot away in a scrape with an irate landowner. There wasn't much left, so we trimmed up the mess and he now has a pronounced overbite. He drools a lot, which, believe it or not, some people find unappealing.
A few months later he came in after a tangle with a rattlesnake. The snake won, and Fido, who was proving he was hard to kill by now, survived.
Still later, he learned the hard way about chasing trucks, and my wife repaired his ruptured bladder.
Then, out of the blue, his owner came in and announced that he had lost his job and would have to move. Could we find a home for Fido?
We said, "Sure," figuring to reap years of income from patching up this disaster-prone dog.
Well ... how were we to know that people don't appreciate a drooling dog?
To prospective owners I would point out that his wound was at his front, proving him no coward, but people were unmoved.
He became a clinic dog. Every clinic should have one or two. We had two at the time and jawless Fido thought he was the toughest dog alive because he never lost a fight. He didn't seem to realize that he was undefeated because the other clinic dog, a Lab called Bojo, would bail him out if he started losing ground, which was often.
Fido could read, I guess by my body language, when I didn't like a client and would growl or bark at them. On several occasions, he would not allow them to enter the clinic.
I was forced to lie, saying, "I don't know what’s wrong with him."
All other clients he ignored or made friends with. He was very agile in his youth. He could climb the seven-foot chain link fence around the dog yard and wreak havoc on the neighborhood, which led to his early retirement from clinic work.
In our town, we set the garbage out for collection on Wednesdays, which Fido considered as "Galloping Gourmet Buffet Day."
The town dogcatcher looked the other way as long as she could but was forced to issue the ultimatum, "Leave town or face the (dire) consequences."
So the clinic dogs retired about three years ago and moved to our house in the country. Bojo disappeared after about six months but not Fido, who is now about 13 years old is still adjusting to retirement.
He is not as active as he was but still catches the slow rabbit on occasion and torments any armadillos dull enough to get into his area of responsibility, which is within about a quarter-mile radius of the house -- less on a hot day.