Welcome my faithful readers to the second edition of Veterinary Tails. Sorry to disappoint you last month with my absence. Too many dogs ate the Halloween candy and I was tardy with my submission. But, fear not — I am back and ready to contribute.
Many years ago, I practiced in rural eastern Connecticut in a small town called Colchester. Nearby in Columbia lives a little firecracker of a woman named Edith Prague. Edith was a State Senator and a well-known liberal. She was a true political dynamo serving in the house and senate in that state from 1982 until 2014. Edith was pushing 83 years old when I met her and started taking care of her little Shih Tzu named Molly.
Molly was about 10 years old and had suffered from many rounds of chronic pancreatitis, a painful gastrointestinal condition that results in inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Unfortunately, due to her chronic pancreatitis she developed Diabetes. Over time, Edith and I worked together to get Molly’s diabetes and pancreatitis well-managed. During this process, Edith and I became good friends. My colleagues at work would rag on me for being “besties” with the old “bleeding-heart liberal” as she refused to see any of the other vets at the practice except for me.
One day I come to work and a colleague asks me if I have seen the news. They told me that there was a big hullabaloo at the State Capitol in Hartford involving Edith and Molly. Apparently, a dog had been urinating and defecating in the middle of the capitol building on the rotunda floor for several weeks. There were accusations by other senators that the offending dog was little Molly.
Edith Prague did not take well to having Molly accused of such filth. She got in front of the cameras holding Molly and said “my Molly would never do such a thing! She always goes outside and is well-behaved. She has never, ever gone to the bathroom in the house and certainly would never do such a thing in the capitol building! The real perpetrator was that seeing-eye dog over there!” She then pointed out a seeing eye dog that worked at the capitol with a blind Congressional Aide.
Well, the Congressional Aide took offense to that and suggested her dog would never do such a thing! She demanded a full investigation and was angry that her seeing-eye dog had been singled out by Senator Prague. She pointed out (rightly so) that seeing-eye dogs go through intense training and testing that weeds out dogs that have behavioral problems or are not fit to serve. There was only one solution; the police had to pull the security camera footage. When they released the black and white footage you see an empty and dim rotunda waiting on the arrival of lively bodies. Out of nowhere scoots a little Shih Tzu into the frame where she promptly eliminates right on the Connecticut logo in the middle of the capital building!
Molly’s political career went downhill pretty quickly from there. Comedians everywhere were given a layup. “Molly did more at the capital in one day than Edith did in 25 years!” The jokes were endless. As a result of her indiscretions, Molly was banished from coming to Hartford. Edith was heartbroken. So, we agreed to board Molly with us on days that congress was in session. We gave her insulin and doted on her and cleaned up her messes. Edith Prague is 92 years old now. She suffered a stroke in 2014 that forced her into retirement. I will always remember the twinkle in her eye and her smile when she tells me that she really did think “it was that seeing-eye dog over there!”
By Dr. Ryan Ehlinger
Dr. Ehlinger is the owner of the Main Street Small Animal Hospital in Templeton. Check them out at www.templetonvet.com. For an appointment or questions about your pet’s health, he can be reached at 805-434-2002 or can be emailed at templeton.vet@gmail.com.