Sep 7, 2005

The vet

She may be pregnant so we go to Meknes, to visit the doctor. She looks dreamy on the way. We get lost in Meknes. We're half an hour late. It's behind Belvie, across from the stadium, next to an internet cafe, up a few steps. The office is a narrow sliver. We wait a long time. Has she eaten today, the doctor asks. I didn't realize the operation would be the same day. I lie a little. She hasn't eaten much in truth, but she has eaten. The doctor is concerned. He thinks it would be better to wait. I agree. Come back in a few hours, he says. I do. The dog stays tied up. When I get back the doctor and I sit down. I want to know about the procedure. He explains. How much is this going to be, I ask. The equivalent of $260. I had no idea. I'd heard half that. I fall back on my anger. He explains. I argue. Can he come down a little? The truth is, I'm running dangerously low on money. Finally, he says well what about shots. Get a shot now and another in the spring. It's a short term solution and you woulnd't want to do this every year. Perfect, I say. So, he says, wait a few weeks, you'll see spots. Call me then and I will give her a shot.

His next patient, a pit bull, is late. He tells me that this business of treating animals badly has no corollary in the Koran. In fact, he explains, once the Prophet was sitting with a cat asleep on his clothing. It was time to pray but the Prophet ever sympathetic to cats cut the cloth around the cat rather than disturb it.

But dogs are another matter. If you touch a cat before prayer, no need to wash. Touch a dog and you must wash 7 times. That's with sand, you understand. Seven times and the Prophet said that there was only 3 reasons to have a dog: to guard sheep, to stand guard at your house, to accompany you on a journey with animals. Guard. But he would have no tolerance for other more sentimental reasons. He didn't see them as companions in that sense. He thought of them as necessary but dirty and, unlike cats, without intelligence or felinity, as it were.

Meanwhile, Lucy is tired of waiting. She bites my hand. The next patient arrives. We leave.

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