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The Good Quack

The Good Quack

The Good Quack

My vet, the tie-dyed, hippy-dippy pony-tailed, Dr. Quackenbush, whom I've been seeing off and on, but mostly off, for the last 12 years, has just retired, leaving me in a quandary. You see, Le Quack, as his legion of followers have fondly coined him, or Dr. Bong as I affectionately call him, is a legend. It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood walking an old dog was the good doctor's client. It's as if he anointed their pooches with the elixir of longevity.

I gotta tell you about the first time that I visited Le Quack's creaky-floored, wood-paneled clinic nestled in the upstairs of a greystone duplex in the tony part of town. There, the collagen-faced fashionistas "back from the gym" and maybe a tumble with the trainer, strut merrily along the cobblestone streets decked out in their shrink-wrapped Lulus, clutching their no-this no-that, no-sugar low-fat, $12 frosty beverages hoping to be seen by old classmates they bullied, especially those who, unlike them, did not win the marriage lottery with all the accouterments: the sprawling country house in Doucheville equipped with a home gym where they squat, bend and take selfies of their terrifically-toned tushies while their silver-spooned, smuggy hubbies cycle the country roads in aerodynamic Tour-de-France costumes, because they can and you can't.

Let's all sneer 
(Ooh ooh), Let's all sneer 
(Ooh ooh), Let's all sneer

You're gaudy, so haughty
Everybody thinks you're snotty
You're gaudy, so haughty
Everybody thinks you're snotty

Before I could jingle the wind chimes hanging from the clinic entry, Doc Quakenbush opened the door to greet me as if the universe whispered in his ear of my arrival.

"Live long and prosper," he said while making the Vulcan Salute.

"Peace and long life," I replied.

And just like that, a Trekkie connection was forged in stardust. The Quack was clearly impressed that I knew my way around Vulcan etiquette. 

"A fellow Trekkie. Let's go where no man has gone before," he exclaimed. Prophetic words that ultimately rang true.

"Veteran of four conventions," I boasted, beaming with pride, although it was a complete lie. I was hoping that he'd give me a Trekkie discount like Chadwick the cherubic manager of the local pet shop always did.

Doctor Quack rolled up his sleeve to show me his tattoo. "The Klingon symbol!" I gasped.

"nuqneH," he belched in Klingon.

"Ontday eakspay lingonkay," I replied in Pig Latin as he led me into his office.

Le Quack patted DJ on the head and showered him with kisses. "Now who do we have here?" 

"This is DJ," I answered.

Then the critter doctor placed DJ on the exam table and proceeded to sniff my doggy's rear -- and I mean inhaled deeply, capping it off with a nose-dip.

"One good whiff, says it all," stated the Maestro of Musk. I could've sworn I heard the sound of a cork popping after Quack extracted his bulbous schnoz from DJ's airtight rear exit. "I dare say that like Star Trek's Alpha 177 horned canine, (Season 1: Episode 5), your terrier will never get sick," he proclaimed while wiping the tip of his nose with a moist lemon-scented towelette. I chuckled inside -- the good doctor never struck me as a clean-freak.

"An intoxicating aroma," Quack commented. "The sublime, yet full-bodied spicy scent of a dingo in heat, just not as gamey." He shut his eyes, flared his nostrils, and took a deep breath. "Sweet and savory, oven-baked with a just hint of gonad musk."

"Are you talking about a Pinot Noir or my dog's gnarly butt," I joked, but the doctor wasn't listening, which was probably a good thing. I'm a big blurter with a tendency to blurt out stuff without thinking and at the most inopportune times, like in elevators, libraries and family funerals.

"Nice and firm," he said while jiggling DJ's wooly terrier testes. "That's it, he's good to go."

"What about shots, vaccines? At least give him a full-body CT scan," I suggested.

"Half the medications prescribed by vets are unnecessary," he said while studying DJ's file. "And your pet's still immune from the last round of shots. It's a bit of a racket, to be honest."

Le Quack grabbed a bong off his bookshelf and fired it up, inhaling deeply. I stood there, entranced by the rhythmic bubbling sounds emanating from his aquatic-smoking apparatus. The vet exhaled and casually asked, "You gotta try this trippy Purple Haze, brother. Care to imbibe?"

Purple Haze, the Quacker's gameRight here, right now, get on the train
Excuse me while I s-s-suck in the sky

Dada da dada da dada dada da da
Purple Haze, the Quacker's game


"Thanks, Doctor, but I'll pass," I replied as my gaze shifted to the half-filled decanter on his desk. I couldn't help but wonder if it contained single-malt Scotch. The hippy vet seemed like a connoisseur of mind-altering substances; my curiosity was piqued.

"But I wouldn't mind a splash from that tumbler of Scotch on your desk. Single-malt?"

Dr. Quack seemed disconcerted. Maybe I was too forward, or perhaps that Scotch was a rare fare he couldn't bear to share?

The hippy-dippy vet guffawed and clarified, "Oh, heavens no, that tumbler contains Duke's specimen."

"Duke?" I mumbled.

Le Quack nodded knowingly. "Yes, Duke, a rather impressive sample, but what else would you expect from a Great Dane?"

"So much for a toast," I whined in defeat.

Dr. Quack set aside his bong, grabbed DJ's snout, looked into his eyes, and gave him an affectionate kiss. "Now, let's not trouble ourselves with pesky questions. I'm here to enjoy DJ's company, though I can assure you he's perfectly healthy and ready to go home."

Before I knew it, Doc and DJ were playfully wrestling on the floor. The doctor grabbed DJ in a headlock, but not before DJ chomped on his pinky finger, causing him to yelp, "Owwwww!"

I happened to have a referee's whistle around my neck because I was officiating a soccer game later that evening. I blew it loudly, startling DJ into releasing the doctor's punctured finger. 

"Serves me right," he said while giggling and cleaning his wound. "Never attempt to headlock a terrier without the proper dog-wrestling gauntlets."

I feigned remorse, secretly delighted that I now had a fantastic story to tell. After all, isn't life all about the stories? Think of the bible; wild stuff, bro.

I feel terrible, Dr. Quack," I lied, accompanied by a crocodile tear. If my spontaneous ruse worked, maybe he wouldn't charge me for the visit.

"No worries, Dave," he said with conviction. "I still have nine other fingers and flexible toes, akin to a chimpanzee." Le Quack chuckled, revealing his impressive toe dexterity as he grasped the bong on his desk with his left foot. "And Mr. Friendly here will help ease the pain. As for DJ, I can guarantee he's in excellent health and boasts one formidable bite!"

Placing my hand over my heart, I shook my head and insincerely uttered, "I'm so sorry, Doctor. Please allow me to compensate you for the damages." Inwardly, I hoped he'd refuse, but if he accepted, I'd claim to have forgotten my bank card.

"I won't hear of it. It's entirely my fault, and I won't charge you for this...unconventional visit. Just promise me you'll come back. I adore this dog, and unless something unfortunate occurs, DJ's good for many years to come."

That was true, twelve years later, no health issues, and DJ is still bouncing around like a basketball. I can't remember the last time he had a vaccine, a pill, or any type of medication. Whatever the case may be, I now count DJ among the local legions of healthy senior patients of Le Quack.  And as for me, aside from my healthy sidekick, I've got more Purple Haze stories to tell, but not now my friends, let's save them for a rainy day.

Purple Haze, the Quacker's  game
Dada da dada da dada dada da da
Things ain't never gonna be the same