I am in love with the vet. She is petite and pert and pretty beyond description, her hair is all of the colours of an autumn oak leaf and her hazel eyes sparkle under delicate, natural lashes.
Toffee, bless his cotton socks, picked up another wild barley seed between his toes. Spaniel’s have very furry feet and it’s quite common for a seed to lodge there and slowly burrow it’s way into the paw. Once through the skin they can continue to burrow for a long way before settling and causing a very painful abscess. By the time it’s made it’s way in it’s too late and although I’ve managed to cut the more obvious ones out myself, more often than not a visit to the vet is necessary.
(Here’s a thing I’ve never understood. Flora finds the most ingenious ways to successfully reproduce. Windmills carry Sycamore seeds far away from the tree, some seeds can lie dormant for decades before germinating as a response to fire, there are endless varieties of seeds with microscopic hooks that hang on to passing traffic on the off chance that they may eventually fall on fertile soil – what kind of half arsed evolutionary meandering has persuaded this particular genus to make it’s preferred home in a dog’s foot? When was the last time you saw a stalk of grass growing out of a fucking Spaniel?))
Anyway I digress.
Toffee sits on the operating table, content to be the focus of attention. I hold his head close in my shoulder, like a hug, while she holds his paw in a firm but gentle grip. Her hands are slender, pale with no hint of varnish on her nails. She is precise and I notice that her eyes wrinkle at the corners as she concentrates, and as she cuts through the flesh on Toffee’s paw a single tiny fold forms between her nose and brow. “Good boy she coos”, “brave boy” I echo.
Everything is a little grey and fuzzy round the edges now. There is a stillness in the room, no sound and too little air. Toffee’s ear is soft against mine and I am rapt by her every movement. As she leans forward her collar falls away from the concealment of her hair and there, revealed, are tiny moles in the nape of her shoulder. There are freckles on her arms, and tiny, gossamer hairs.
Toffee grumbles and rolls his eyes, “there, there” she says “soon done” and, without releasing her hold on him leans forward a fraction to whisper “good boy” against in his ear. Our faces are only inches apart, so close I can feel the warmth of her breath and then the clench of goose flesh on my arms.
And then it’s done. The prettiest, most desirable woman ever to don a white laboratory coat produces, with a gratified murmur, the offending seed clasped in her tweezers.
Toffee is oblivious to the injection of antibiotics and because he will heal readily, there’s no dressing, just an antiseptic wipe.
She looks at me as we say our respective thank yous and goodbyes. She really looks at me. Oh no, what’s given me away, do I look odd, did she feel my stares, or is it written all over my face. Am I actually drooling? I have to consciously stop my hand from checking my face.
And she says, “he’s a brave boy, just like his dad”, “don’t worry, it’s okay to be squeamish”.
(And last night I didn’t really contemplate collecting grass seed and planting it between Toffee’s toes – well not seriously at least).