Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Veterinarian and the Ventriloquist

No, I am not about to bust into a joke where these two go to a bar and are accosted by a talking monkey or something of that nature.  This is a serious story about a serious subject that cracked me up. What else is new?

My friend, an absolute sweetheart, had a cat. It had been with her for many, many years - before her kids, before her husband - back when she was single. Now with the kids, and the husband, and the dog, she would often remark that the cat seemed to be left out.  The cat, however, was still very much a part of the family.

One day, the cat got out of the house and met up with two vicious dogs on the front lawn.  My friend heard its cries and ran outside but could not get the two dogs off of the cat.  Sadly, the cat perished.  For days, my friend would come into the office in tears reliving what she could have done, should have done and how very much she missed her cat.  

Right about now I am sure you are thinking "how the heck is any of this funny?" I assure you, I do not think cats or any family pet dying is funny.  We were recently crushed at just the thought of having to put Mooch down.  That is no laughing matter.  However, the lengths that some people will go to in order to protect their children from sadness and death can be quite amusing.

You see, my friend could not figure out how she was going to tell her children that their cat had died. Her daughter was quite young, not yet in school and her son, although older, was quite sensitive.  So she did what any parent would do when conflicted - delay, delay, delay.  She told her kids that the cat was at the veterinarian and hopefully would be home soon.  Every day her son would ask how the cat was doing and every day she would give that same answer. When a week had gone by her son finally demanded that she call the veterinarian and check up on the cat.  And, this, is where I was amused.

Since there was no vet, my friend called her friend and without giving her friend any warning, immediately started this conversation:

Her*:  Hello VETERINARIAN, this is [name] and I am calling to check up on my cat.
Friend:  What???
Her:  DOCTOR, I want to know how my cat is doing?
Friend: Um, okay
Her:  Oh, the cat is sleeping? He seems to be okay?  Any idea when he will come home?
Friend: [laughing]
Her:  Okay, doctor, then we will call back tomorrow.
Friend: [still laughing]

Now, at this point in time my friend's son decides that he wants to talk - to the CAT!  My friend tries to dissuade him telling him the cat is resting and should not be disturbed.  But the son is not deterred and stresses that he wants to talk to the cat. Fearing that her son was about to freak out, my friend says this:

Her:  Doctor, my son would like to speak to the cat.
Friend:  WHAT? Friend, what am I supposed to do? What I am supposed to say. Don't you put him on that phone! Don't you dare.
Her:  Here is my son, doctor.

Son: Cat? Are you there? I miss you cat.
Friend: [panicked silence]
Son: Cat? I wish you were home. Can you say something cat?
Friend:  Meeeoowww.

There you have it - her friend meowed like a cat in response to being asked to "say something." I have to tell you that even when my friend was telling me this story, as sad as she was, she was cracking up at the idea that her friend actually meowed like a cat.  As if the cat had really had the phone up to its ear, it would have meowed in response.  I mean really. When does a cat EVER respond to anything?

Although I think about my friend and her cat still when I look at my cats and I imagine how sad her and her family still are, every time I picture my friend telling me this story and hear the little pitiful "meow" by her friend, the pretend vet, pretending to be a cat, I smile.

*I learned not to use acronyms for people anymore after my brother pointed out how my acronyms for my coworkers (COWS) could be misconstrued.  My coworkers, to my knowledge, are all human.  Likewise, I would not describe any of them as cows.

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