I had a doctor’s appointment last week. Even though I knew why I was there and what was going to happen, I still couldn’t help but utter, “Ouch” when the needle pierced my skin. I’m not a good patient. I’m rather a wimp when it comes to personal pain and discomfort. While I was gutting it out through my minor procedure, it occurred to me that if I were one of my own veterinary patients, I would not be a good one. Granted, since my retirement, I don’t see many patients these days, but I have forty-two years of memories.

If I were a dog going to the vet, I would be the one who cowers in the corner, peeing all over myself, and snapping at anyone who threatened to remove me from my corner. That would be after I had to be dragged or carried to the exam room. I would be one of those cats who hisses and swats at anything in my path. I would be one of those birds who, given the slightest opportunity, flies around the room, forcing the doctor and technician to chase me. They would have to move furniture out of the way to get to me, by which time I would take off for another area of the room where it was difficult to get to me. Once captured, I would attempt to sink my beak into the most sensitive part of the hand holding me.

If someone tried to draw blood from me, I would squirm and screech at the top of my lungs. If at all possible, I would let loose with an explosive stream of stress diarrhea, accompanied by the emptying of my anal glands, and manage to get as much of it on my body (as well as everyone else’s body) as possible. If I were put into a cage, I would claw at the door and bark non-stop. If restrained for radiographs or ultrasound, I would wiggle as much as possible, rendering the diagnostic procedure useless.

That said, it is amazing how few of my patients were like this. Even though they didn’t understand why they had all these strange people doing unpleasant and scary things to them, most of them cooperated with good grace and a lot of them even managed to wag their tails, give our faces a lick, or beg for a scratch or two after everything was over. I sometimes wonder why animals are such good sports and so quick to forgive.

In addition, although animals occasionally do stupid things, like sticking their tongues into paper shredders or ingesting non-edible substances, they do so out of ignorance, not to purposely cause problems for their owners. People, on the other hand, often do stupid things just to be stupid. I know what I’m talking about because I watch untold stories of the ER. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have much empathy for some of the patients these doctors have to deal with. I would probably just let the idiots die and take themselves out of the gene pool, which is perhaps why I am not a people doctor. Unlike the young Labrador who suffers a snakebite due to his natural curiosity, many of the incidents of humans who incur snakebites are preceded with the words, “Here, hold my beer. Watch this!” Give me the Labrador over the stupid drunk any day. At least the dog will reward me with love. The drunk—well, let’s just say I can do without his love.

Anyway, I went through my procedure just fine and didn’t bite, scratch, wiggle, or pee on the doctor. I behaved myself because I would hate to end up as one of those patients on reality TV.