The vet would tell you my dog suffers from canine gingivitis. It doesn't really seem to be bothering her, though, so I think I'm the only one who is suffering. Every year when we take her in for her checkup, I have to brace myself for the finger-wagging, get my story straight for what bold steps we are taking to rectify the problem, and keep in mind that my two daughters have been brainwashed into uncompromising truth-telling. They out me every time.
Last year, I gave the dog Denta-sticks. Until they ran out, that is. When the vet complained about her back teeth needing more attention, my daughters cheerfully volunteered the enormity of the lapse since the last Denta-stick and I pledged to purchase a doggie tooth brush.
Turns out, that big doggie toothbrush doesn't fit very well into the back corners of my 10 lb dog's mouth. So after a couple pathetic attempts that bathed me in gravy-flavored dog-toothpaste, I wasn't very motivated to take it on again – which my girls cheerfully reported to the vet at his first hint of dental displeasure this summer. The vet pulled up her lip and showed me the dog's worst offending teeth and I acknowledged that her teeth looked like she'd been living hard in a camper-trailer, drinking her coffee black, and swallowing her chew.
The vet said they'd give me an estimate for a tooth cleaning on our way out. When I saw it, I knew why he makes the staff give the estimates. It costs $250 to put her to sleep and grind off the plaque. I swallowed my impulse to ask if they could just pin her down awake. Really - say her teeth all fall out and she dies of starvation – it still only costs $106 to adopt another orphan at the Animal Rescue League.
But I want to be a good dog-mom. I don't want the vet to give me that condescending look next summer. And I definitely don't want to have to pay the extra cost of feeding her canned dog food when she's toothless. Plus, she really is a sweet and lovable dog-friend. So I tell myself, "Self, it's time we got out the toothpaste and had another go at it." Maybe tomorrow?
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27