We were in the waiting room. Ray, who had been calmly greeting the other doggy patients, came to stand next to me. The door to the clinic opened. My prejudice dog growled menacingly at the new arrival, an English Bulldog similar in color to himself. I gave his leash a tug and reprimanded him, but as always, I was secretly proud that my blind dog could tell the bully breed without actually seeing the subject of his animosity.
"Sorry," I said to the dog's person, a young woman with a friendly smile, "Ray doesn't like bulldogs."
"That's OK," she replied "A lot of dogs don't like bulldogs. Because of their pushed-in noses they can't smell very good, so they get up in dogs faces and dogs don't like it."
She took her dog to the other side of the small clinic and sat. Mr. Juice, the two-year-old bulldog with an amazing resemblance to Winston Churchill, was looking at Ray and straining at his leash. His nub of a tail was wagging furiously and I could tell he wanted to make friends with the tall, aloof stranger staring off into the distance.
Thwarted in his attempts at friend-making, Juice started producing noises. The grunts, groans, wheezes, harrumphs, squeals and other strange emanations from the dog sounded more like something heard in a barnyard full of animals. He did everything short of moo. I started laughing.
"Does he always make noises like that?" I asked.
"Yes," said the girl, "He just does it to get attention."
Juice spotted the coffeepot on top of a small table in the waiting room and made a sound like someone hacking up a piece of sandpaper.
"Was that a bark?" I asked the girl.
She laughed at the blutterbunged look on my face and nodded. Juice was still hacking at the coffeepot. Apparently his eyesight wasn't all it should be.
Ray, not knowing that he wasn't the object of Juice's ire, retreated to the far side of the waiting room and curled into a little ball on the floor against the wall.
He hadn't been there long when the doctor's assistant called us in.
"So, what's going on?" asked the eye specialist.
I told her that Ray had been smacked in the eye a few days previously when he was playing with a friend and had let loose with a bellow of pain that I'd never heard before. All weekend his eye had been tearing, one of the warning signs that I was supposed to keep watch for.
The doctor checked his eye pressure.
"It's up to 44," she said, "Increase the drops to three times a day. Come back in two weeks and we'll check it again to see if it's down. We already talked about 'the procedure,' right?"
I nodded my head as she quickly went over the three options again. She gave Ray a smile, a pat, and a treat, then went to attend her next patient, the vocal Mr. Juice. Ray crunched up his treat and, his discriminating taste unaffected by his current situation, spat it out on the floor.
We settled up our bill and left.