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a visit to the vet

 
Today was Jazz's annual trip to the vet.  It went pretty much like it always does.  She starts to moan and hiss the minute I put her in the pet carrier (we don't use the word cage). There is loud meowing throughout the 10 minute drive, her face pressed defiantly against the wire mesh door.  The minute we get into the vet's office, the demeanour changes: she gets quiet and squishes her body against the back of the carrier.  Anytime anyone comes near her, she growls.  Today a big, leggy, brown dog bounded up to her cage to say hello and he got a death-glare.  It is always this way.  Anyone, human or animal, who stops by to say hi and remark on her beauty gets the same treatment.  Growl.  Hiss.  Death-glare.  

And then it is time to go into the small examination room.  I open the traveling compartment and there appears to be no cat inside!  She has pressed herself against the side of the carrier, determined to avoid all contact with the examining table.  I hold the carrier upside down, door open, but she has pushed all her paws against the walls, Mission Impossible-style, and is not coming out.  So I set down the carrier and drag her out, butt first.  Lots of screaming and hissing and trying to claw the table.  Throughout all of this, I am constantly speaking calmly to her and reassuring everyone around me that she is not the evil offspring of Darth Vader.  

We are allowed a few moments alone in the examination room and though she continues to growl and moan, we are doing pretty good, I think.  I can still see some green in her eyes (not all black) so that's a positive sign.  The vet enters: a small, young woman whom I have not met before.  She greets Jazz and me in French and English (as they do in Montreal), and unsuspectingly reaches out to pet the cute cat she sees on the table.  Her hand comes toward Jazz from above.  Let me stop here to suggest that the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy should be required viewing for all vets because it clearly teaches that cats are threatened by anything higher than them.  Just a suggestion.  Anyway, back to the story...  It is no surprise to me that as soon as the vet's high hand comes near Jazz's head, there is hissing, growling, and some quick, jerky movements.  The wee vet, startled, takes a small hop backwards, let's out a "Whoa!", and I see a bit of fear flick across her face.  Inwardly, I sigh.  Jazz has done it again.  She has intimidated the doc.  I reassure the vet that Jazz always puts on this type of show and that we will get through the exam, no problem.  I can tell that the vet is not convinced.

Nevertheless, the exam goes okay. I hold Jazz firmly, rub her neck and ears, talk to her about pleasant things like scratching furniture and winning a game of slapsies with Dean, while the vet probes her from butt to gums and listens to her heart and lungs.  All good.  The vet calls in a technician to hold Jazz while she administers a rabies shot.  It takes a few tries and in the first attempt, the vet spills a bit of the vaccine as Jazz does a super-fast lunge move, Jackie Chan-style, which catches the technician off-guard.  But no one gets hurt, there is no blood, and no property is damaged.  It is a good visit, overall. After the shot, Jazz can't wait to get back in the carrier, but she refuses to eat a treat I give her from the vet's front office.  No doubt she thinks it is a trick.  Or poison.

Jazz is quiet until we near home when she starts to meow and look out the window.  She can't wait to get back home where no one is poking her with needles or trying to look at her gums.  I get her safely inside our condo, release her from the carrier, and then go out to get something from the car.  When I come back inside, she is glaring at me reproachfully from the stairs, sitting higher than me.  Then she tries to make a dash out the door.  Everything is back to normal.

The annual visit to the vet with Jazz always reminds me of my own dramatic, fearful tendencies.  My reactions to situations are often overblown and unfounded.  I often find it hard to trust when I don't understand.  I sometimes respond badly because of unpleasant associations or past experiences instead of taking the present (and new) situation at face value.  And I am too often threatened by those who are higher, smarter, wiser, quicker, or appear to be more successful.  The truth is that I walk day by day with a faithful, caring God and a loving community.  Nothing changes that, not even my fearful heart.

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