Going to the vet is a very honest experience. When humans spend time in waiting rooms for their doctors, they often cope with the fear by going through the various stages of grief and worry(anger/denial/depression etc.), over-medication to dull potential bad news, or just disappearing into a really old issue of People magazine -- especially the articles at the end where you magically discover people far worse off than you are.
Going to the dog doctor, however, is a completely bold-faced experience in primal fear. In a veterinarian's waiting room dogs get pissy -- figuratively with each other, and often literally all over the floor. Wearing old sneakers, bringing a short leash and remembering to bring your sense of humor is truly sound advice.
Speaking of a sense of humor, I used to have a gynecologist in Los Angeles who would put hunky photos of current celebrities on the ceiling. She thought that if you had to spend any amount of time laying inappropriately vulnerable on an exam table you should at least have something hot to look at.
As if you could EVER get your dog to sit still for this....here is what we had to look at:
We also had some really gory photos of what heartworm looks like in a dog (absolutely too gross to post here) and a great pictorial example of what most of the felines in the vet's office looked like. They fell into only two categories.
....and "I'm-Going-To Gouge-Your-Eyes-Out-When-We-Get-Home-But-Not-Before-I-Piss-on-Your-Pillow-First":
The good news is that, left alone in an exam room with my dog for 30 minutes, we managed to entertain ourselves with stolen tongue depressors -- thus utilizing the human gift of denial in order to enjoy every moment on earth, even if that moment was spent in a largely humorless room.
The better news is that I got a phone call from our new civilian vet about ten minutes ago telling us that our dog has a fairly rare but treatable bacteria that causes bloody urine -- which was completely missed by the military vet we took her to three weeks ago. Go Navy. For now antibiotics and followups (not surgery for bladder stones) will most likely put her back in fighting shape.
This civilian vet is great, and her poochside manner is perfect. She just needs a little bling on those walls. As for me -- I need to do a little victory dance right now so I'm exiting to pick up my party slippers.