Us, owned by dogs or owners of dogs – I never was certain which is more accurate – have an endless list of funny, sometimes embellished, sometimes sad, but mostly true stories about the adventures of our pets. The picture of the dog on the front page of this short story is a picture of the actual dog who, as you maybe have guessed, is the culprit. Please excuse the bad quality of the picture but it has been taken around summer 1987, and there is only a hard copy photo of him.
So, now back to the story, in short, he, Bobby, killed a guinea pig in the waiting room of the vet. Story over? Not even close! Let me tell you…
Bobby is a successful hybrid between a giant schnauzer lady and a dalmatian lover, born somewhere north of Wörthersee, a lake in the southern Austrian state of Carinthia. He weighed somewhere between eighty and ninety pounds with a ridiculously giant mouth. Once he caught a fully-grown hen which virtually disappeared in his mouth (only slightly embellished), just to give you an impression of his size. At the same time, he had the most devastating puppy eyes imaginable.
Back to the story, my sister, Bobby and I sat in the waiting room of our vet, doing what most dog owners do. I was oscillating between being anxious and being bored. My sister, I have no idea why she came with me — well, actually this is embarrassing, now I remember. My dog received his annual vaccination, and I needed my sister’s support because I tend to faint if someone close to me gets a shot. Yes, I know, he is a dog and doesn’t even feel the little prick of the needle. Go ahead and tell my sub-conscience or whatever is responsible for this mental affliction of mine.
Bobby is one of those rare breeds who was not afraid of the vet, which made the time in the waiting room more or less boring. If you have been to one waiting room of a vet, you have seen them all. Mostly bland, some with cute pictures of happy pet owners and their “not as cute as mine” pets. This waiting room had white walls, no pictures, and clinker bricks on the floor. The waiting room was maybe eight yards long and four yards wide. The entrance was on the short side, while the door to the vet was right in the middle of the long side. There were approximately ten seats along the wall facing the entrance to the vet’s examination room. We sat and waited, shortly disrupted by a newcomer, a young woman with a medium sized basket. She was thirty-ish, medium-sized, and blonde hair. She greeted us and sat down left of Bobby and me with a free seat between us. Since she did not come with a big dog or cat, in both cases, I needed to keep a tight leash on Bobby, I relaxed and ordered Bobby to sit down again.
Sometimes Bobby listens to me and does as ordered but he knew precisely when I meant it and when it was okay to ignore me. In this case, he ignored me and sniffed in the direction of the lady and her basket. I know, I should have paid more attention, but I had a discussion with my sister and only held loosely on to his leash. Suddenly Bobby pulled with all his ninety pounds. He dived into the basket with half his head disappearing. He pulled his head back. All three of us sat there shocked for about three seconds until we understood what had happened. Sorry for several repetitions but you need to understand: this is not a situation we are prepared to handle!
I knew immediately there was no chance for the poor thing in his mouth. Why? Schnauzers have been bred to be ratters. They catch their prey (mostly mice and rats at farms) and bite down until it is dead. While waiting for their prey to die, they fall into a rigor. You could not move him, nor did he listen.
Nonetheless, I stood beside Bobby shouting at him to open his mouth, and at the same time tried to pry open his mouth to save whatever was in his mouth. Finally, it probably took less than sixty seconds, Bobby let go of the poor animal and dropped it to the floor, with a satisfied look. All three of us stood around my dog and the guinea pig, dazed by the enormity, and not sure what to do.
In the meantime, the vet came, roused by our shouts and the crying woman, immediately realized what had happened and took the now “as dead as a doornail” guinea pig and the woman into her examination room.
My sister, Bobby, and I sat down again. I looked at my sister, she looked at me.
“Oh my god! What do we do now?” I said to my sister, just to say something. She looked just as shocked as I felt.
We sat there for at least one minute without saying a word. Bobby, the culprit was lying on the floor and fell asleep.
“How could this happen? This is ridiculous!” She looked down at the culprit.
It took me some time to realize the whole extent of the incident and how I was not able to wrap my head around the thing. This is a situation you are not prepared for – EVER! I invite you to think this through.
“Your dog just killed a fucking guinea pig in the waiting room of the vet!”
Seriously? You don’t know what to think. You don’t know what to say. You don’t even know how to handle the next minutes. You will sit in this horribly bland waiting room, waiting for something to happen. But and here is the killer (sorry, no pun intended), NOTHING happens, while you have a lifetime to think.
Okay, so I sat there, wordlessly, my sister on the right and was forced to accept the reality. What reality? My blasted dog just killed a guinea pig in the waiting room of the vet. IT trickled down into my brain, step by step until I realized there is another horror waiting for me. I have to face the poor woman who just lost her pet guinea pig and say something to her.
I looked at my sister wide-eyed, “what do we tell the woman when she comes out?”
My sister has this embarrassed giggle, which right about now came out, “how embarrassing!”
I rolled my eyes; this was not funny! I looked down at the floor, imagining the woman coming out of the examination room and felt this ridiculous embarrassment creeping around in my stomach. You know the feeling, doom is waiting for you and you KNOW, there is nothing you can do to stop it. This was the point where I looked at the joints between the clinker stones and wished to sink into the ground.
We sat there, waiting for something to happen. I tried to hear something through the door but it was sound-proof. The situation became unbearable and somewhat unreal and to release the tension I had to whisper-laugh. I mean, imagine the woman hears us laughing. How would she feel? Her precious pet just died, and these morons were laughing!
“We could get up and leave,” I suggested, immediately dismissing it. We both weren’t the types to run away from a situation. She’s my twin sister, and we knew we had our backs, no matter what.
My sister grinned back at me. She knew exactly why I laughed. The situation was too crazy and terrible and most of all so embarrassing, you had no way to accept it as the truth but you had to. We both had enough time to distance us emotionally from the situation to realize how unbelievingly absurd the whole thing was and saw the funny side of it. You know what I mean! My dog just killed the fucking guinea pig, and we had to apologize for it! What do you say in such a situation? There are no words to alleviate the pain this poor woman must feel.
Finally, the door opened; I looked over to my sister who covered her face with her hair. I knew exactly, she was grinning with that embarrassment written all over her face. She whispered: “you talk to her.”
Then I heard footsteps and all I could think about was: “Don’t laugh. Don’t you dare to laugh…!”
…and the woman came out with red eyes.