He is a thin, short, clean-shaven man with Jewish good looks and soft, sympathetic brown eyes. Normally my head wouldn't turn if I passed him on the street but sitting in his exam room and looking into those eyes, I take notice. He's a vet, after all. He is so gentle with Bob, raising his tail slowly to see the reaction to his spine or gingerly raising his head in an odd position but doing it with loving care.
He surmised it may be a spinal disc problem where calcium builds in the lower region about an inch above the tail and it could be pressing on the nerves causing Mr. Slobbers pain. He decided to prescribe a steroid treatment for the next month to see if the inflammation will recede. When he left the exam room to inspect Bob's x-rays that were taken last year, I hugged Bob's thick neck and spoke softly into his ear.
"You like Dr. Elliot, don't you?" I cooed.
His ear twitched which I took to mean a resounding, "Yes I do and I know you do too!"
The doctor came back into the room, apologizing for taking so long and decided the steroid regimen would be best. If that doesn't work, he suggested a surgery to correct the problem. My heart sank.
"How dangerous is the surgery?"
"It is not without risk considering Bob's age and the anesthesia and we are working with the nerves," he said looking right at me, gauging my fear.
I gulped, nodded and mentally weighed the options. I hoped the new treatment would work magic and Bob would be a downright puppy in no time flat.
"There is a strong possibility I will be moving for a job to DC very soon. How will that affect Bob?" I asked a question although I doubted I would get any information I didn't already know.
He looked at me and smiled, "Well he's not going to like the cold very much. His joints will ache more in the winter time."
"A heating pad maybe?" He nodded yes to my question.
"He already hates the rain and blames me when it happens," I joked.
"You know we both had a devastating loss last year," I said as I had told him about Billy last year during the visit when Bob had been attacked by a pit bull.
"And Bob likes change as much as I do!"
"Like father, like son," he said and I wanted to blurt out that Billy was Bob's father and I was just someone else who lived in the house. But I didn't.
"What is bringing you to DC?" he broke the brief silence.
I explained the job and offered, "Perhaps you'd like to be on Emergency Vet? Or we could do the Dr. Elliot Show and have cameras follow you around for 24/7."
"That would be a very boring show, I assure you," but at that moment, I wasn't so sure. Maybe it would have an audience of only one, me, but I thought it would be great to follow around Dr.Elliot.
"I'll have this prescription filled in a moment," he said as he ushered Bob and I to the lobby. We waited and watched the TV that was on. Kathy Griffin was being interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN, talking about her extreme makeover. The only thing extreme I could see was how little had changed on her.
Dr. Elliot walked out holding in his palm the littlest duckling I ever saw. It was making chirpy mewing sounds and looking around its sterile environment. In Venice, there are thousands of ducks that live on the canals. They sometimes stray into other parts of the neighborhood and they get lost. It is not uncommon to see traffic come to a dead halt while a mother duck crosses the road followed by four or five of her little charges waddling behind her.
"Where did you find him?"
"Some kids brought him in yesterday and wanted to euthanize him!" the large Latina behind the desk chimed in.
"I hand fed him some grain and now he seems to really be doing well," the vet in him proudly said as he knelt down and put the little duckling on the floor. He gently coaxed him with his finger and the waddle started in tiny tiny paces. He held out his hand and the duck made it right back into his palm.
"You know you are forever his mother now," I said and felt like I wanted to kiss Dr. Elliot's cheek and thank him for taking care of this little lost soul.
"I've been worse things," he laughed and I doubted his statement. Dr. Elliot had no skeletons in his closet. He was just a kind and increasingly sexy man who made his life helping animals.
Bob and his Daddy taken in the backyard in 2001.