I had to take one of my dogs to the vets a couple of weeks ago for what appeared to be her second bout of cystitis in as many months. She certainly wasn’t very well, and the vet wasted no time in getting her urinalysis done, blood tests, antibiotics, and painkillers organised. All at great cost too, I might add.
I asked the vet why it was that my dog appeared to have exactly the same thing that she had not so long ago, considering I had followed all the instructions and pumped those expensive antibiotics down her throat for 2 weeks. The vet wasn’t sure, but she asked me to put my dog on a different course of antibiotics for two weeks and bring her back before they were finished with a sample, to make sure that they were working this time.
A sample? What kind of sample?
It was, of course, my dog’s urine sample. I looked at the vet disbelievingly. Wasn’t that what I paid these people all this money for? To gather pet pee among other things? How the hell was I going to get my dog’s urine sample? She doesn’t pee on command you know, and she certainly doesn’t know how to pee in any kind of pee-holding receptacle.
I thought about it when I left the vet’s and consulted the expert – my mother – who actually came up with an idea that had some merit.
An old plastic empty margarine or butter container.
I could cut one down with a pair of scissors, so it would resemble a small tray, and it would be small enough to slide right on in underneath my dog before she knew what was happening. Ingenious!
As it turned out, my dad had a stack of them hidden up in his cupboard for a rainy day. And that day was today. I was in margarine container heaven. I took two home with me, just in case.
Now all I had to do was pick my moment.
A couple of days before the vet’s appointment, I started to follow her around, but she became suspicious and wouldn’t do anything in front of me. She got to the point where she would sneak off to do her business so that I wouldn’t stalk her.
The night before the vet’s appointment, I was getting a little desperate. I filled my pockets with doggie treats and coaxed her out into the front yard. I even let her go out of the front yard to her favourite ‘sniffing’ tree that she loved so much. She followed the trail of treats and headed outside. I held onto the tray with anticipation. It was now or never.
I coaxed her, I praised her, I yelled at her, and finally I begged her, but she just kept on sniffing. And sniffing some more.
Right. That was it. The vet could get the damn sample herself.
I was just about to herd her back inside when she started to squat. If I hadn’t turned around I would have missed it. I tried to move as quickly as I could without causing her alarm as I swept the tray out out my pocket and underneath her tail end.
She nearly jumped a metre in fright to get away from me. I just managed to hold onto the darn thing as she shot away from me, through the gate and up the stairs.
I looked down at the tray. It was all over my hand, but it was also all over the bottom of the tray. It was at this point that I silently thanked my husband and his ‘never-know-what-you-might-need-em-for’ bulk sterile glove purchase some months ago. I had all the necessary equipment for urine collection. I also had all the urine.
I managed to transfer the hard-won sample into a more secure sterile sealed container that my father also had a stash of. Don’t ask.
I put this in another sealed container and put it in the fridge and covered it up. I might know that pee is on the shelf next to the milk, but I don’t want to see it until tomorrow.
It took me an hour to coax my traumatised dog out from under the bed.