I'm preparing myself, mentally, physically and emotionally for a potentially traumatic experience later today.
Small Dog is due to have her annual booster vaccination and full MOT/health check.
*cue dramatic Dah, Dah DAH music*
It will all start off well enough. Before we leave, she'll jauntily run to fetch her harness and lead, then as soon as she's togged up, she'll pick up the end of her lead in her mouth and run to the door.
Once in the car she'll sit bolt upright on my lap, eagerly looking out the window and enjoying the passing scenery.
As we approach our vet's surgery, she'll become a little restless, and the minute we turn into the approach and down the drive her ears will droop and she'll give me a look similar to the one that Marie Antoinette must have had on the steps of the guillotine.
Once out of the car she'll drag her feet and by the time we're at the door she'll have all four paws planted firmly on the ground so that she nearly backs out of her harness.
In the waiting room, things go from bad to worse and she'll be trembling and shaking so much that all the other waiting pet owners must assume that she's suffering from an advanced case of St. Vitus Dance.
From then on it's downhill on the way. When her name is called, we generally have to carry her into the consulting room as she's lost the power of her legs. On the examination table, she presents a sorry specimen, ears down, tail tucked firmly between her legs, quivering and terror-stricken.
At this point, I fervently hope that the very first thing the vet does is quickly give her the injection. The period from terror to retaliation lasts a very short time, and since PP and I usually have to be at the bitey end, I prefer it if the potentially painful part is done first. However, in order to have the vaccination, she has to be thoroughly checked over to see she's fit to receive it.
This usually involves, checking in her ears, in her mouth, palpating her tummy, flexing her back legs....... you can see where this is going can't you?
Experience has taught us that after her head has been checked, it's best to pop her muzzle on for the remainder of the ordeal. By and large, vets have very quick reflexes, but often not as fast as Small Dog, who seems to believe that she has to fight for her very survival.
I'm sure that being surrounded by three giants, all firmly grasping various body parts then being systematically squeezed, pressed, palpated, flexes, twisted, punctured etc while being assailed by the smell of previous torture victims must be terrifying.
It doesn't help that wearing her muzzle, Small Dog looks like a small, furry Hannibal Lecter.
Without the bashful charm.
By the end of the consultation, all four of us are generally exhausted, hot, sweaty and panting. However, once released, Small Dog instantly reverts to her usual, happy self, and determinedly makes for the door.
I am NOT looking forward to it......