Yet another non-literary post from so-called Bookworm.

I took our dog to the vet yesterday morning to have a growth removed from her front leg. It was a small, benign growth; the main reason for removing it was because it itched and because if we didn’t remove it, it could, possibly, turn into something bad.

We went to a new vet this time. Though I had strong feelings of loyalty for our old vet, Dr. Testy Grumpy Socially Awkward, who once many years ago made a house call to help us with our dying kitty, I never really liked the clinic where she works. The place is huge and impersonal and they don’t take appointments. You just walk in and hope there isn’t a long line. And it ain’t cheap. So we decided to try this new vet who just started up his practice in our neighborhood earlier this year and moreover included the word “affordable” in the name of his practice.

The instant Riley and I walked into his office I knew we’d come to the right place. The vet came right out and introduced himself — “Bill” — and couldn’t have been more personable, friendly, and unassuming. Neither he nor the receptionist guilt-tripped me at all about the length of Riley’s nails or the fact that her vaccines were not up to date (not to worry: he took care of both while she was under the knife).

Now, here’s where the story gets good. When I arrived to pick her up after the surgery — which went totally smoothly, by the way, and Riley was a trouper throughout, bless her sweet doggy heart — Bill came right out to the lobby area, carrying a jar and a piece of paper towel. Full of enthusiasm, he told me that he got a great “margin” on the growth. I mean, he was really enthusiastic. He started opening the jar and went on some more about the margin. I wasn’t sure what he meant by margin, but the next thing I knew he was fishing something out of the jar with a pair of tweezers. Yep. It’s the growth. He set it on the paper towel for my viewing pleasure, pointing out the “margin” of healthy tissue surrounding it. Almost as an afterthought he asked me whether I was squeamish. “Not at all,” I lied gamely, and politely glanced in the general direction.

“I like to keep these,” he said. Swear to god, friends, those were his exact words. I like to keep these.

Oh ha ha! Can you imagine his gruesome collection of little jars? I felt like I was in the middle of a Far Side cartoon. I couldn’t help it: I burst into laughter. I would never have dared to laugh at our old vet but Bill and the receptionist were both totally cool and laughed with me.

Of course he doesn’t keep them because it’s some bizarre little hobby; he keeps them in case a biopsy should become necessary at some later date. But still! Our cats are due for shots, too, and I can hardly wait to go back.

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