“dog in Italy” by Sabrina Setaro 

Who of us doesn’t enjoy a lively discussion about canine anal glands?

Me, that’s who.

Here is how it happened:

My wife, Marianne, couldn’t pick up our ancient poodle, Prissy, from the vet so I had to. I didn’t know this, but in the COVID era a vet office operates a lot like drive-in burger joints from way back when. You pull up, call in your order and out they come with your dog.

I checked to see if the veterinary assistant who brought Prissy out was wearing roller skates like they did back in the day, but, to my disappointment, she was wearing loafers. She handed Prissy to me through the window and, before I could make a lame joke like “Can I have fries with this order,” she launched into an explanation regarding Prissy’s anal glands.

I was not prepared for this.

I am sure they are perfectly wonderful glands, well worth discussing, but I am not the one to discuss them with. I have a don’t ask don’t tell policy when it comes to dog glands, anal or otherwise. The less I know, the better.

The phrase the assistant used to describe the procedure they performed on Prissy was “we manually expressed her anal glands.” Before I could stop her, she explained in nauseating detail what “manually expressed” means. The good news is I have been struggling with a diet and now I am fairly certain I will never eat again. I will also no longer complain about what veterinarians charge. (Actually, I will complain, only I will use less curse words).

On she went about anal glands until I “manually expressed” my desire for her to stop by holding up my hand for silence. I informed her my wife, Marianne, heads up the Canine Anal Gland Information and Assessment Team for our family and any information regarding the north end of a southbound dog should be communicated to her. With that, Prissy and I headed home.

When I got home, Marianne wanted a complete report on Prissy. I suggested she call the vet. Turns out Marianne is a big fan of canine anal glands, or so I assume by the amount of time she spent discussing them with the veterinary assistant. By the time the call was over, Marianne could have taught a master’s class on the subject.

I, on the other hand, am happy to stay blissfully ignorant on the subject. Call me “gland insensitive” or an “anal gland denier,” if you will. It is enough for me to know all is well with Prissy, old dog that she is (and by “old” we estimate she was born sometime between the early to late Paleozoic epic). All I care about is she seems to be happier for having whatever they did to her glands done.

Marianne suspects our cat has a urinary tract infection. She wants to take it to the vet. I can absolutely guarantee you who will not be picking it up.