You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy.
The Scent of a 1ooo dogs.
We open the door to the Veterinarian’s office and walk in.
Frosty outside air clashes with super heated inside air.
It’s like being the referee caught between 2 heavy weight boxers.
I’m suddenly not thrilled with the layers of winter garb covering my torso.
We enter, and the door snaps shut.
The space is tight like a size 34 gut in a pair of size 32 pants.
The reception area is tiny, and forces two highly energized dogs into a cramped space designed for cats and rabbits and Dachsunds.
It’s like shaking a coke can and then pulling the top.
Hair and paws and dog spit explode into the available space.
Suddenly 150 pounds of Black Lab bounce into the tiny office, banging off the walls with all the calm of a dump truck losing its load.
We walk in like an unsettled tornado.
Two dogs. Two leashes. A thousand smells.
The dogs begin criss-crossing the lobby like X Wing Fighters bursting into light speed.
What do I smell? What’s that’s Smell? You smell that smell? Smell! Smell!
zoooom. The boy lab bangs into the reception desk like a mountain goat testing his manhood.
The thud is cavernous and I can’t tell if it’s the dog’s skull or the density of the desk.
The boy dog races along the periphery of the wooden reception desk, his nose pulsing like a tuning fork resonating at a ferocious frequency.
The dog stops and hikes his leg.
It’s primal. It’s prehistoric. It’s a right of dog passage.
Just what we need. Dog urine to add to the mix in this waiting room the size of a port-a-john.
I tug on his leash and he lowers his leg and continues inhaling the voluminous scents, mysterious and invisible.
“This barn wood has the scent of a thousand other dogs,” the receptionist says commenting on the stupid reception desk that has a urine trail dating back to the 70’s.
The Girl Lab has joined her daddy and begins partaking of the spectrum of invisible smells that only a dog can bathe in.
Back and forth, sniffing, inhaling, devouring enigmatic odors of the past, these four footed vacuum noses suck in every molecule of previous k9 visitation.
“We periodically bleach the floor and the wood,” the receptionist says out of the blue.
These dogs don’t care. The smells are like a hypnotic drug that makes them push their muzzles into the floor where the microscopic scent flows like invisible lava on a spectrum of pungent magnificence.
Suddenly a dog comes out of the waiting room with a big cone on it’s head. It looks stupid like a dinosaur with a plastic horn.
Just what this moment needs, I think to myself. Another dog and another human to take up valuable space.
The cone head dinosaur lunges at the girl lab trying to sniff her scent.
The Girl Lab is a nasty sneer full of teeth and attitude.
“nobody sniffs me without an invitation,” she growls.
The coned warrior retreats in panic, hiding behind the familiar leg of his owner.
“Waiting room 3 is available,” the receptionist says.
Good, I think to myself. We can lose the million dog scent in the lobby and the interaction with coned K-9’s.
We enter the room. Both labs charge in. Criss Cross Apple Sauce.
The door shuts.
The claustrophobic density of small is upon us immediately.
Two Adults. 150 pounds of prancing frenetic dog energy.
We are crammed into a sardine can of collapsing energy, confined by plaster and Formica.
I check the air vent in the ceiling to make sure we can breathe.
The dogs are bouncing into each other like bumper cars on adrenaline.
They loop around each other, the 2 leashes entangling multiple times like tree roots in a South American rain forest.
We begin to untangle as the dogs continue to loop around each other.
It’s chaotic and hard and more mental energy than this moment deserves.
It’s like doing the New York Times Crossword puzzle under water.
The room is 8 feet by 8 feet.
Prisoners in Siberia have more space.
We take off the leashes and let the dogs do what dogs do.
The labs sniff the floor and the baseboards. There is a 2nd door in the rear of the room. This is where the vet and nurses enter.
The dogs simultaneously push their noses under the slot sniffing the air from the great room beyond.
Sniff. Sniff. Sniff.
The girl Lab is nervous. She doesn’t like the Vet. She doesn’t like change. This is change. A tiny room with a million dog smells.
There’s nothing good that come from this her tiny dog brain has surmised.
She jumps up on us. She whacks me with a paw. She needs attention. She needs to be consoled, reassured that everything is ok.
I pet her head and for a moment she seems content.
Meanwhile the boy dog finds a smell that beats all smells. He lifts his tail, sniffs his own butt and then decides to lick his privates.
Splat. Lick. Slosh.
The sound is uncomfortably disgusting in both its proximity and liquid grossness.
Just then the Vet enters. Now there are 3 adults, 2 chairs, and 150 pounds of Black Lab all sucking on the air barely moving out of the ceiling vent.
It feels like I am in a submarine, 2,000 feet under water, on fire.
Suffocation is only one panicked thought racing through my mind.
The vet is nice and in a moment takes the girl Lab to a place beyond the door to be poked, prodded and vaccinated.
The dog shuts with a thud.
The 8 x 8 space feels suddenly feels capacious.
The boy dog flops to the floor like a million hairy mutts before him.
He puts his head on his paw and closes his eyes.
Somewhere in his big skull he will dream of a girl dog from a million scents gone by.
Smell the smells of a million smells.