Doggy Doctor

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Veterinary Cancer Group, Culver City. June 2016

We were here last year with our cat, Dudley. He developed a limp that wouldn’t go away. At first our regular vet, Dr. Dean thought it was tendonitis and treated him for it. It got better and then came back. At one point he could barely put any weight on his right front paw. After some expensive X-rays, Dr. D noticed an anomaly at the top of Dudley’s humerus, the upper arm bone. His preliminary diagnosis – bone cancer. It had turned the top of his bone where it meets the shoulder into a spongy looking mass with a chip of bone floating in the joint. He recommended us to the VCG for a more detailed opinion.

Sure enough, Dr. Pierro confirmed the diagnosis. The treatment? Amputation of the entire arm. Drastic, sure, but there wasn’t a choice. Expensive? You bet. We started a You Caring fundraiser for him, and sure were overwhelmed by the generosity and compassion of friends, family, and surprisingly total strangers who contributed to his surgery. (If you want to donate, just click the You Caring link. It’s still active.) It was traumatic for all of us, but Dudley pulled through, and amazingly, doesn’t seem the worse for it. He still leaps onto the roof of our house, jumps onto the 6-foot high wall, and roams the neighborhood just as before.

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It was traumatic for all of us, but Dudley pulled through, and amazingly, doesn’t seem the worse for it. He still leaps onto the roof of our house, jumps onto the 6-foot high wall, and roams the neighborhood just as before. The one thing he can’t do is climb trees, or scoop his food out of his bowl with his paw as he used to do. But for a tri-pawd, he gets around pretty darn well.

The VCG is a wonderful place. All the folks who work there are caring and compassionate. The waiting room is spacious, clean, and modern. I don’t know what the person and her companion in the photo were waiting for but I’m sure they were well taken care of.

They Also Serve Who Lie and Wait

 

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Bank of America, Pacific Palisades. April 2015

Saw this patient little doggy waiting for his person in the Bank of America last year. I was taking care of some old banking business and couldn’t resist. I think dogs spend a lot of their time waiting, but not in the self-aware kind in which humans wait. I don’t think they know what they are waiting for, or that they are even waiting. Like a cat who crouches under a bush waiting for a bird to land, they are simply doing. What do you think?

 

Down to the Car Wash (Bomp-dee-bomp-dee-bomp)

20 years ago, one of my neighbors initiated a campaign to plant street trees in our neighborhood. He chose a variety that spits tiny droplets of sap, dead leaves, and twigs throughout the year, and a multitude of little yellow flowers during the spring. I can usually wait about a month or so before our cars are too disgusting to stand, so it’s down to the car wash. This collage includes 4 different establishments. The one with the two dogs waiting for their car was my go-to when I worked in Santa Monica. I could stop on my way in, get a quick once over and still get there by 9. Now, my regular hookup is Handy J’s at the intersection of Washington Blvd. and Washington Place.

When you bring your car in for cleaning, you fully expect to wait, and these four places have similar but different vibes in their areas. Handy J’s has an outdoor barbecue restaurant on the corner owned by the same folks that run HJ’s. They grill on a large charcoal barbecue and the smell of tri-tip and ribs wafts across the lot, borne on the perpetual on-shore air from the ocean to the west. Santa Monica has free wi-fi, little bistro tables, and if you are hungry, a McDonald’s right across the street. Millennium is one block away and in a pinch I might go there, but HJ’s does a better job and I get coupons. Now that we all have our mobile phones, it doesn’t much matter where we are, we are always in our own little worlds. In years past, you might strike up a conversation with your fellow waiter, but there isn’t much conversation anymore; we are all too busy peering at our 5-inch screens.