Bella's Byline

     My time observing this past week has left me puzzled.  It was mid-morning on a Thursday, and even though my next nap was overdue, I was quiet taken with a perky dachshund that came in with Cassidy.  She sat down with him on the floor to start trimming his nails.  Curious that he possessed such a spring in his step, I moved close to Cassidy and sat down on the floor to watch.  The dachshund started wiggling and squirming in her lap.

     "Calm down Ernie," she said.  "You're O.K. I promise."  Then she looked at me.  I moved closer to help calm my new friend Ernie.  He wiggled even more.  Cassidy got up and moved to another spot with him.  I followed them.  More wiggling ensued.

     "Bella, you're making Ernie nervous," Cassidy told me.  I stared at both of them.  Insulted by the suggestion that I was causing Ernie to be nervous, I got up and walked away, whipping my tail back and forth as I went.  I noticed Amanda lifting a French bulldog into the bathtub.  Shocked that I wasn't falling asleep on my feet, I decided to go over and investigate.

     I stood to Amanda's left as she started the water.

     "There you go," she soothed, "its O.K., you're O.K. good girl."  I jumped up on the towel cart that was positioned next to the tub for a better view.  The bulldog's skin was red and inflamed.  Large red bumps covered her chin.

     "I know Irma," Amanda said as she applied some medicated shampoo.  "This will help."  "What a good girl!"  I watched as Amanda gently lathered up the shampoo and massaged Irma all over.  She covered every inch of her and handled her carefully; sensitive to the discomfort she was in.  She talked to her and pet her as the shampoo set in to do its work and told her repeatedly what a good girl she was as she rinsed her off.  When Amanda left to get a towel, I stared at Irma trying to decide where to begin. 

     First, I licked my paw and worked on my right ear in an attempt to show poor Irma my cleaning methods.  Despite my fatigue, I showed her how I can stretch my neck in order to make long, cleansing licks to clean the front of my chest and upper legs.  Although I was not in need of a bath, I licked my paws and worked in between each toe thoroughly to school Irma on how to prevent this condition she was in.  I stared at her for some sign that she understood.  She stood very still with her mouth open and looked at me.  Then she threw up in the tub.

     "You poor girl!"  "What happened sweetheart?"  "Are you nervous?" Amanda soothed, hurrying over to Irma.  I stared in disbelief at Irma, attempting to be sympathetic to her predicament while at the same time resisting a very strong urge to swat her with my paw.  I jumped down from the towel cart and made my way over to Jo Anne who was taking inventory of the prescription food to see what we needed to order.

     "You keep out of this Missy," Jo Anne said to me as I watched her.  I arched my back and brushed up against her leg.  Then I sat down and stared at the food bags.  There was a time that I could roam freely at night when the clinic was dark and everyone had gone home.  I could race up and down the halls and sit in Dr. Bonda's chair.  I could visit with those that were boarding with us and share stories.  I could explore to my heart's content.

     Then, one night, I decided to help inspect the cat food.  I jumped up on one of the neat stacks of Feline Hairball Control, chewed open one corner of a bag and tried a little.  It was delicious.  The next night I helped myself to the Optimal Care Formula which I also found tasty.  The third night I tried Science Diet Kitten Formula and it was out of this world.  But the very next day, when it was time to close up, Sheri came and scooped me up.  She carried me to my "house," (I won't allow anyone to call it a cage) placed me inmy bed and closed the door.

     I watched as the girls taped up the bags I had opened and shook their heads at me.  I gave them my best look of shock that I should be punished for helping with the progress of the clinic.  Hadn't they ever heard of taste tests?  Shouldn't I be applauded for my efforts?  I shivered at the thought of how misunderstood I was, at the injustice of it all. 

     Puzzled by Ernie's squirming, Irma's reaction to my bathing lesson and the consequences that led me to be stripped of my free roaming at night, I decided the best thing to do to ease my mind was to sleep.