When Jesse and I adopted Dominick, he came with everything: shots, neuter, ID tag, and microchip. Apparently, since Hurricane Katrina, when lots of animals were separated from their humans, microchipping is a pretty standard procedure. A microchip is inserted just below the skin between the shoulder blades and, when scanned, will provide all of the contact information for the animal's human. Sure, we live in a condo building and it would be nearly impossible for Nicky to escape or get lost out in the wild, but one can never be too sure. Besides, we're not going to live in that condo forever.
Little did we know that Nicky is quite the escape artist, dashing to escape the comforts of home every time we open the front door. He's also quite adept at opening doors. So yeah, the microchip was a good idea.
Since we adopted Gracie from a different agency, she came with her pretty little diva self, recently vaccinated and spayed. The ID tag was purchased at PetSmart and her microchip was implanted this week.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (Nicky's previous caretakers) offers low cost microchipping and rabies shots several times a year (so if you're interested in this great service, check out their website). We brought Gracie over there and did not expect to see the animal mad house that was there--puppies and full grown big doggies, ferrets and giant kitties. There was barking and the occasional battle between doggies. The ferrets were pretty quiet, but the scared kitties were meowing like crazy. Gracie, who doesn't really talk much, took it all in from the comforts of her carrier. While the animal craziness surrounded us, I spoke softly to Gracie, trying to keep her calm and to let her know that her mommy wasn't going any where.
An older woman showed up with her two large kitties. As she waited in line, she spoke to them loudly as if they could respond (I do that too, but in the comfort of my own home). "Look, Kitty A and Kitty B (so I forgot their names)! So many doggies!" "As soon as we're done here, we can go home, ok, Kitty A and Kitty B?" "Don't worry, Kitty A and Kitty B, it won't hurt a bit." And then she made some contemptible remarks about the dog owners. "Humph. Can't even control their own animals. My kitties are better than that." You know, standard Cat Lady fare.
And then, a large dog approached her cat carriers. I'm sure he was just the curious sort, but the Cat Lady glared at the dog's owner, who pulled the dog back on his leash. The kitties may or may not have been alarmed. But the Cat Lady came to their defense anyways. With flare, she said, "Don't worry, babies. I would throw myself at any dog that might hurt you guys so you babies don't have to worry about a thing." Hmmm...a bit melodramatic if you ask me.
But then, after we paid and went to the microchipping line, a dog got close to Gracie's carrier and I instinctively pulled her closer to me. Jesse asked me, "Why did you do that? What's the dog going to do? She's already in a carrier." I responded, "Well, I'm sure Gracie is nervous as it is. No need to stress her out even more."
The truth is that I was stressed out. I figured the microchipping might be painful. And the last thing I wanted was for Gracie to feel any pain. Jesse and I saw the dog before us get his microchip. When the needle came out of his skin, the dog began to bleed. Yeah, that stressed me out some more. The volunteer saw the look of horror on my face and reassured me, "That rarely happens." The dog seemed ok, but no way was that going to happen to my fur baby.
When it was our turn, I just couldn't look. Gracie came out of her carrier and the vet tech took her by the scruff. She then pulled out a large needle. My jaw dropped. I pleaded to Jesse, "OH MY GOD. I can't look." I took one look at Gracie's clueless yet adorable face and turned away. I grabbed Jesse's arm and then I heard it. "MeOWWWW!" Gracie yelped. I squeezed Jesse's arm. It was almost as if I felt her pain.
I think that shot hurt me more than her.
By the time I turned back to look at Gracie, I had tears in my eyes. I'm not sure why I was crying. The vet tech and volunteer tried to comfort me. By the time we returned to the car, Jesse assured me that Gracie had probably forgotten the incident. In order to make it up to her, I kept offering Gracie her favorite treats--dried salmon.
When we got home, I was sure Gracie had forgotten the shot because she was her usual happy-go-lucky self in search of food. I'll get over the whole incident eventually.
But every time I remember her loud cry, my heart breaks all over again.