It’s that time of year. Cali always knows. She saw me setting out a small paper plate, ziplock baggie, and a poop bag one evening, and she knew. No breakfast in the morning, and a visit to her pals at the vet clinic who would steadfastly refuse to give her cookies, no matter how good she was.
It was time for her annual Morris Golden Retriever Lifetime Study physical exam. She’s usually pretty resistant to the sample collection, particularly the urine sample.
I think that, with Cali’s advancing age and important new role as the teacher of all good things to Orly (you know, how to thoroughly coat yourself with mud, which plants to chew in the garden while avoiding all the weeds, and the most strategic spots to dig holes in the lawn), she has also learned wisdom and patience. She knows how this day will unfold and, for the first time, she (mostly) cooperated.
I took her out, on leash, first thing. She gave me a disgusted look when I grabbed the plate and baggie, but went willingly. She did not stop peeing when I shoved the plate into place and she did not kick it. Progress! She provided her other sample during our walk.
At the vet’s she briefly objected to going into the back area without a cookie … she was hungry, after all. Once all the samples had been collected and she’d been examined from nose to tail, Cali showed me how well she had trained our vet. As the doc and I talked, all Cali had to do was shift her glance slightly and Dr. Z handed over a cookie or a squeeze of cheese whiz. Cali’s consistent, clear communications were quite impressive!
Best of all, we were out of the vet’s office in well under an hour, and Cali’s breakfast was duly served. Late of course.
As a Golden Ager, Cali — along with other study participants — has been invited to be part of an additional study about aging. Cali doesn’t have to do anything; her mom gets more questionnaires to fill out. With her white face, she increasingly looks like a senior dog, but Cali is aging well. She’s fit and energetic; she loves playing with Orly and going hiking. Let’s hope she has many more annual study exams ahead!