Don't get 'mad,' get your rabies shot

Don’t get ‘mad,’ get your rabies shot

 

As a pet owner and a husband who has spent ample time in the doghouse, I am a firm believer in rabies shots. I believe all dogs, cats, and mad spouses should get their rabies vaccination once a year, whether they are foaming at the mouth or not.

That is my favorite—and only--rabies joke, so I tell it often and it always, without fail, makes the wife mad. Her foamy-mouth symptoms and snarling, however, usually don’t occur until we show up at the rabies clinic and I actually have the audacity to ask the vet if I can get a two-for-one deal if I have the wife and kids vaccinated at the same time.

“It won’t hurt a bit,” I reassure her. But it does hurt. Usually me. Me and my big mouth.

But in all seriousness, as an animal owner and farmer with more critters than you can shake a Purina feed sack at, I take the threat of rabies very seriously. Especially when it comes to protecting my children and loved ones, who love to go outside and romp with their pets.

So one fine weekend soon I plan to load up all my critters and haul them off to one of the local rabies clinics that is going around this spring.

But wait. Where are those confounded dogs? Those same dogs that always get under my feet and cause me to drop the bags of groceries and say bad swear words on Sunday, the same dogs that chase my car, bark nonstop at my lawn mower and beg for handouts or spare change are nowhere to be found when they know the local vet is waiting down the road with a needle. Perhaps they sense that spring is in the air and someone is about to get a needle in the rear end!

Finally, after searching under every car and shed around, I’ll have to drag each dog squealing into the old wooden dog box built just for the occasion.

All except old Dixie, of course. Dixie is a trouble-maker and an accomplished escape artist, so she gets to ride in the back seat with the oldest kid so he can keep an eye and a firm grip on her. But we get about halfway to the neighborhood clinic when a strong, overpowering, and frankly nauseating odor starts reeking forward from the back seat. Yes, Dixie has a bit of a gastro-digestive problem, to put it nicely. Yes, the kid is choking back there and may pass out. I hit the brakes and the power windows to get some relief, and that’s when old Dixie tries to lunge out the window for a smelly, last-ditch chance at freedom.

Luckily, I manage to roll up the window in time to trap her hind legs and rear end. Her front end is now hanging out of the window of the still-moving SUV, tongue and ears whipping in the breeze, but her smelly rear end is still inside the vehicle, which doesn’t help the choking, gagging kid much back there. But I’ve got two kids, so I guess one is expendable.

We finally make it to the clinic in one piece. But then I have to answer a lot of really tough questions from the vet and his staff.

Breed of dog? Let’s see, I’ve got one mutt, two mongrels, a couple of mixed breeds, and one registered biscuit eater. My kid is full blooded, though, I think. I can’t say what category the wife could fall under without sleeping in the doghouse for a fortnight.

Name of pet? Oh, another tough one. This one here the wife calls Flame, the kid calls him Floyd, and I just call him Fred. This one here we call Lucky, because we hit him with our car, buried him in the garden amid a teary funeral, and then he dug himself out and showed up for dinner. And this one here we didn’t even bother to name because he likes to chase school buses and log trucks for amusement and it’s only a matter of time….

After a little adventure, I finally get every critter on the place vaccinated against the rabies virus, so now I don’t have to freak out and worry about killer germs every time one of them licks the youngest kid, or when the kid licks them back.

As lazy and irresponsible as I am, if I can do this every year so can you. There is a rabies clinic going on somewhere near you for the next few Saturday mornings (check your local media for details). Remember, it’s not just the law, it’s for the safety and protection of your own family.

Too bad I didn’t have room to take the foamy-mouthed wife and all the wormy kids. Oh, well, guess I’ll have to make a second trip.

Don’t get mad, honey. Just get in the truck. It won’t hurt a bit. And the vet will even give you a cute, little medallion to wear on  your collar.

 

RABIES CLINIC SCHEDULE

2016 Hampton Rabies Clinics are being sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Hampton County Environment Health Services and local veterinarians. The South Carolina Rabies Control Act requires that all dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination. For the majority of vaccines, the minimum age to vaccinate these pets is three (3) months of age. Upon vaccination, the pet should wear the serially numbered rabies tag provided by the veterinarian around its neck. The licensed veterinarian will also provide a certificate of vaccination. Vaccination Fee: Prices may vary by clinic location, not to exceed $5.00 per pet. Note: Dogs must be on a leash and cats in a box or carrier.

Saturday – April 16
8:00 – 9:30 a.m.                                  Ehrhardt – Enterprise Bank
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.                  Miley – Post Office
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.                        Varnville – Town Hall
Friday – April 22
5:00 – 6 p.m.                           Fairfax – Dr. Sease’s Old Office
6:30 – 7:00 p.m.                      Ulmer – Fire Department
Saturday – April 23
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.                    Yemassee – Town Hall
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.                  Early Branch – McTeer’s Grocery
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.                      Cummings – Shuman’s Grocery
Saturday – April 30
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.               Gifford – Old town Hall
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.                  Brunson – Town Hall
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.                        Hampton – Animal Hospital