I realize everyone who knows anything about dogs says the humane thing to do is to spay or neuter them. My feeling has always been that's really easy for us to say, but let's get a dog's opinion. Somehow I suspect they would take a less hardline stance.
But despite my misgivings, we just had our little guy neutered -- because if you live in Los Angeles and don't neuter your pet you will be run out of town by a screaming mob of people who shop at Whole Foods and do CrossFit -- and it was awful. For me, that is. Oliver seemed fine.
But back to me. The vet told us to drop Oliver off in the morning between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. My fiance Daniel and I arrived a little before 9 a.m. and waited about an hour before anyone took us in. This afforded us ample time to feel guilty (me), nap (Oliver), question what we were doing (me), read news stories on our iPhone (Daniel), look around nervously (me), watch a video about cat parasites (all of us) and whine (Oliver and me).
I get that we live in a very crowded world, but I remember a time when the term waiting room wasn't so literal and seeing a doctor didn't involve sitting in the aforementioned room for at least an hour. These days, going to the gynecologist for an annual check up is an all day affair.
And don't even get me started on how you wait in the waiting room for an hour, and then finally the nurse takes you into the exam room and weighs you, takes your blood pressure, asks a bunch of nosy questions, and says "the doctor will be in shortly," and then you end up waiting for another eternity.
At the very least, how about the medical community provide us with something more entertaining to pass the time than a plastic model of our reproductive organs, a video about "ablation" (I don't know what it is and I don't want to know) and a bunch of parenting magazines? How about personal satellite TVs and a quesadilla station?
But back to the vet.
While we were waiting, and I was repeatedly apologizing to Daniel because I expected this to be a quick thing and now he was late for work, I kept looking around at all the pets who were nowhere near as cute as Oliver. I mean it was truly one ugly dog after the next.
By the time we were finally called, I was experiencing full-on paranoia, wondering if the people who work there really love animals as much as they pretend they do. What if the minute we leave they turn into villains from Disney movies? What if this is the last time I see Oliver because something horrible happened to him on the tiny operating table, all because I signed him up for a procedure I was second-guessing anyway?
It was more than I could bear. I drowned my sorrows in stale cookies from a jar with a sign reading, "These treats are for humans." If I'd had to stay there any longer I would have sampled the complimentary dog and cat treats as well, because fear makes me hungry.
I went home and waited and waited and waited and waited. And then waited some more. "I should really take advantage of this time to do all the things I can't do when Oliver is here," I thought to myself. I kicked off my shoes and socks and left them right in the middle of the floor. I opened all the doors, ate string cheese without being sneaky and watered some hanging plants without having to hold the pots over my head so as to avoid the tendrils dragging on the floor. It was a real party, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this is what it would be like if Oliver were gone.
When the nurse told me over the phone that everything went fine and I could come pick him up, I cried a little, because I am ridiculous.
Recovery was fast, and I learned a few valuable lessons: Getting your dog neutered in Los Angeles costs more than getting your appendix removed in another town, and if I ever have children, I'm going to think twice before getting them fixed.