Saturday, March 03, 2007

My kind of people, Vets

Since Herself and Meself got together there have been all kinds of animal followers about the place. In the past few years these have been whittled down to a collection of cats in various states of repair.

Naturally, this meant that we had to have dealings with vets. The one we chose for handiness sake, in Tallaght Village, was run by a mad genius by the name of Peter. Peter the Vet.

Like something out of "All Creatures Great and Small" the Priory Veterinary Hospital was filled with roaming creatures and random children eating ice cream.

You'd enter with a basket containing a cat and be met by a three-legged hound with a long wagging tail and a big, wet nose. Peter the Vet would be somewhere in the back stitching up an ear on something while trying to keep the rest of the pack away. He'd invariably greet you by asking:

"Do you want another cat?"

The basket would be left in a safe place while you were given the mandatory tour of the cages in the next room.

"Peter, I already have six cats."

"So? I'll give you one with its shots and all thrown in for free."

The idea of accounts seemed to be foreign to Peter the Vet and it was never certain exactly how much money would change hands at the end of a visit. Usually, it was negotiable.

Peter the Vet would be called out at all hours of the day and night and was usually yawning because of it. On a housecall, he'd come in and flop down onto the floor to watch the behavour that was causing concern. But no critter likes the V.E.T., and no matter how friendly he was, tails would disappear between legs and bellies would flatten to the floor as soon as they say him.

Peter put back together several wonky animals for us and never at the full price. Anti-biotics for cuts and bites would appear in little brown envelopes and his hand would wave dismissively at the mention of payment. After some years I was sorry to hear he had eventually sold up the business as too great a strain on his health and time.

The place is still there under new management and we, of course, are still customers. The waiting room is now presided over by a ginger cat that someone left for treatment then never picked up. It wanders freely and fearlessly, disdainfully thumping terrified dogs on the snout, adding injury to the terror of a trip to the V.E.T. Some days it hops up to sit on your lap, other days ignores you completely. Such are cats.

So if the budgie is off the perch or the pussycat has a runny eye, you could do worse than a visit to Tallaght Village. Just mind where you're walking. You never know what you might be stepping on.

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