"Who are you?" I asked not recognizing the guy.
"I'm the vet tech," he replied with a pronounced East European accent.
"Uh, I know that," I said, "But who are you? What's your name?"
"Olek," he said.
"Olek?" I inquired.
"Yes," he said looking at Ray's file. "He's blind?"
"Umhmm," I nodded.
Olek ran through the shots that Ray needed and set the little vials out on the counter. Ray was nosing around next to him looking unconcerned, as usual.
"I'm going to take him out and draw some blood for his heartworm test," said Olek.
I handed over Ray's leash. Olek opened the door and let Ray walk out in front of him.
"Don't let him run into anything!" I called after them at the last minute.
I heard a faint OK in reply.
I waited patiently, reading the pamphlets and other extraneous things lying around the examination room.
The door opened. I heard a bonk.
"Did you just run Ray into the door?" I asked Olek in mock outrage as he followed Ray into the room, "You are a terrible seeing-eye human."
The vet tech smiled at my tone but looked a bit embarrassed.
"I'm sorry," he said abashedly.
"Well, it's not like it's never happened before," I said grinning, thinking of all the times I've accidentally run my blind dog into things.
"This is the sweetest dog," said Olek looking totally smitten, "I took his blood and he just stood there like nothing was happening."
The vet tech bent over to give Ray a pet; Ray moved away slightly.
"He thinks you're going to bonk him into something else," I ribbed the newbie.
Olek gave a smile at the wisecrack but didn't rise to the bait. He got down on Ray's level and gave him a good rub.
"Dr. Kim will be right in," he said as he left.
As always, Ray was happy to see the Doc. He immediately flopped for a bellyrub. Dr. Kim obliged then ran her hands over his bum back leg. Her hands stopped at the joint, manipulating something just above the hock.
"What's this?" she asked to no one in particular.
Her hands probed a malleable, fluidy nodule about the size of a peeled lychee.
She looked at me.
"Has this always been here?" she asked.
|I'm dying aren't I? You can tell me. I can take it.|
Dr. Kim put his leg back on the ground, when she did, the lump disappeared into Ray's anatomy. She felt around, found the lump again and manipulated it some more. Ray, who had been stressing out in a total flop, raised himself a bit and tried to lick her face. Dr. Kim grinned and told him what a good dog he was. Finding the half-upright position difficult to maintain, Ray flopped back down.
"I'm going to draw some fluid from it and send it in to see what it is," she said.
"OK," I accepted.
After giving Ray his vaccines, Dr. Kim drew a vial of clear fluid from Ray's leg. His royal prone-ness never moved.
"Do you think it could be lymph?" I asked.
"Could be," she replied, "I'll call you next week and let you know the results. Has he ever seen anyone for this?"
"He saw the Internist once when we first brought him home, just to see what was what. She said to keep an eye on the leg and if anything changed to bring him back," I told Dr. Kim, "But it always looks the same, so we've never been back."
"Well, we'll see what the tests say. You can take Ray to her if he needs to go," said the vet matter-of-factly.
I got Ray to his feet. We paid our bill and left.