Wednesday, January 29, 2014

City Dog/Country Dog: A "Tail" of Two Lifestyles

City Dog/Country Dog
A ‘Tail’ of Two Lifestyles

Yesterday was a city day, which means I get the critters fed, give Rosey an extra dose of outside time while lining up meetings and loading up Jeep. City days mean I cram every city task I can into one day so as to make the most of my time, energy and gas.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, everybody around here has a job:
            --TJ’s (my male Pyrenees) protects the goats
            --Rosey (my female Pyrenees) protects house and pups
            --Goats (all 17 Pygmies) trim grass and trees while providing fertilizer for the garden (not to  mention they make me laugh)
            --Boo (my ragdoll, snooty cat) allegedly catches mice, but mostly serves as a sound machine to help me sleep
            --Minsky’s job… is to just be cute. (She’s my rescued Lhasa poo who turns 14 this year.) This also means she goes with me most everywhere. You’ve seen that bumper sticker: God is my co-pilot? Well, “dog” is mine.

            Minks has the city dog drill down pat. She parks it at the door about the second time I load the Jeep, because while it doesn’t happen often, there is nothing worse to Minsky than being left behind with the cat. (It makes her feel like an animal and she is not an animal.) Being the sophisticated traveler she is, Minsky can shift from country dog to city dog in zero to sixty. The transformation usually takes place about the time we cross the Davidson county line.

            If our outer days reflect our inner lives, well, I guess I’m schizophrenic. Morning was classic farm life: feed critters, clean buckets, love on babies, clean up puppy poop, etc. Once in the city my mind shifts its focus to artist interviews, computer training, planning sessions and all things running a company. My evening was spent chairing a board meeting for a non-profit whose future strategic plan we deliberated at length. And then it ends by coming home to the babies I love, repeating the morning routine all over again before going to bed.

But it was between two city stops, where the vast difference in lifestyles really hit home, thanks to my critters.

            For anyone who has a little house dog, you are most likely familiar with that cute little circle scoot they do, letting you know it’s time to get “squeezed”. (For those unfamiliar, smaller dogs have anal glands that must be “expressed” every so often, and while I’m told you do it yourself, I leave this task to the pros.)

 Between stops I had just enough time to run Minsky by her vet in the city for said procedure (which usually takes about 10  minutes). While there, I asked if they’d likewise give her a face trim as her eyes were getting lost in the fur. The cheerful clerk said sure asking if I’d like her nails trimmed as well, and I figured “what the heck”. Leaving her in their capable hands, I dashed out to squeeze in one more errand, only to come back to a $67.00 bill. “What the heck?”  Well, the squeeze, it appears, has gone up. That little nail thing was an additional $20. In short, prices have changed since I last went to this vet. (And suffice it to say this WAS my last visit to this vet.)

            I left a little perplexed, having no option but to pay, though I did feel scammed, after all, I pay less than that to groom the dog’s full body, so the rate to me was entirely out of whack.

            But with Minks back in her co-pilot seat, eyes now visible and nails looking, well, pretty much the same as they did before, we headed off to Ellington Agricultural Center, where I would encounter another veterinary set up, whose protocols were a 180 opposite of the place I’d just left.

            Kord Diagnostic Labs, for those unfamiliar, provides free autopsies to vets and farmers raising livestock in Tennessee. They are a state-funded division of the Department of Agriculture and may I just say, the services they provide are invaluable. After filling out the paperwork and speaking at length with a vet about events leading up to KitKat’s untimely death, I was utterly amazed at the amount of focus and concern (not to mention sympathy) they gave to the passing of a lone pygmy goat. They came for her body and told me someone would call within the next couple of days while sending a full report to my vet. By the time I made it home, they had already left a message.

I cannot begin to imagine what an autopsy would’ve cost me at Minsky’s city vet, (though it does make me wonder if they use Kord for these things, and if so, if they mark things up).  For more information, go to

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