As you’ve read before, my first job was a kennel worker at a veterinary office. I would leave school, head to work, clock in and immediately start doing my thing. Hardworking, I had a routine, a process to make sure I never missed anything. Coming in the door there was a white board we all used to list kennel medications, warn one another of a volatile animal or list who the technicians still needed urine and/or stool samples from.
On this particular day the white board indicated “Stool & Urine Sample still needed from Rocko” and so I walked to the back room where the kennels were located. Sure enough, they had even put a brightly colored tag in his name tag slot with the same information. I made my rounds and next was Rocko’s turn to be walked.
Rocko was a Rottweiler, and still to this day, the biggest rotty I have ever encountered. His head was wider than me and nostrils so large they were like train tunnels. But as he wagged that tiny nub at a ridiculous speed with drool dripping from his ginormous jowls, he was horribly adorable in my eyes.
I took him out, kneeling down loving on the massive beast for a few minutes before taking him outside with the cup and bag in my pockets for the requested samples. We played fetch for a good while, which was something I tried to do with the larger dogs since they were cooped up in a kennel more so than the tiny dogs. I got what was needed, cleaned his cage and in he went.
I immediately walked to the technician’s area to drop off the samples.
“Here you go!” I proudly placed the materials next to Ivette who was looking through the microscope. “Rocko’s samples!”
“Wait, what?” She jerked away from her viewing, and stared at the samples then looked me over. “Whose samples are these?”
“Roooooocccckkkkooooos…” I said slowly, noticing the panicked look she gave me. “Why?”
“As in, Rocko the Rottweiler?” She was shaking my shoulders now. “The one that tried to eat everyone?”
“He seemed fine to me…” Now everyone else was looking at me strangely. “Did I miss something?”
“D-did we forget to leave Val a note?!” Ivette was still shaking me as she looked over her shoulder to Sylvia. “D-Did we think to leave Val a note!”
“Oh my god…” They were all paling. “No, we didn’t think about it.”
“Wait, Val, how did you get the sample from Rocko?” Tiffany crossed her arms, everyone seemed to be checking me for injuries. “Because none of us here could. I got to hear how you did it.”
“Um, like I do all the others?” I was feeling rather startled. “I took him out, played with him, then out to play fetch-“
“Fetch?!” They exclaimed, staring at one another in disbelief.
“Uh, yea… and then grabbed the samples.” Now they were pushing me down the hallway mumbling lair. “I’ll show you! Honest!”
They hid in the hall and I went around the wall, opened Rocko’s cage and rolled with him on the floor yet again. Threw the ball across the floor and even asked him to speak to make it clear that this was indeed Rocko the Rottweiler. I put him back in, gave him a treat for the inconvenience and walked back to where the rest of the crew huddled, paling yet again.
“I can’t believe it.” Sylvia shook her head in disbelief. “You really do have a way with animals…”
“ok,” Ivette stood tall, poking her finger into my chest, “Let me show you what happens when we walk back there…”
As soon as she rounded the corner, Rocko let lose, snarling and barking and the whole kennel seemed to shake from the ferocity he displayed. She walked back around out of his view and it stopped. The others followed her example, and each time the raging violent outburst happen. They all looked to me, gesturing I give this a go. I walked back in the room and back out again; nothing but a wagging nub of a tail.
To this day, we have no idea why the big dog favored me. I had the same blue scrubs on, but I swear I had less fear towards the beast since I worked with cattle. Maybe I simply had a gift for animals or I reminded the dog of his owner. Regardless, it was a little frightening to know the gang forgot to warn me he “might eat me” if released. Then again, most dogs don’t hide that fact when they choose to take on that goal.
Picture found at Pixabay.com