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anal gland impaction and emotive malamutes

i've written previously on mauja, our emotive malamute and his sometimes amusing, occasionally infuriating, tendency to walk around "talking" to you; of course since he talks, he's more than capable of talking back, or - more correctly - getting sassy:

"One of the most endearing (and sometimes exasperating) characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute is the fact that they talk. Their "Mala-talk" is usually sounds such as "oowoo", "roowuf", etc. Be warned, if they talk... they will also "talk back" to you just as a arguing child would. Owners have often found themselves in full conversation with their mals and both parties understanding what is being said."

under normal circumstances mauja's full of mostly good-natured, if not slightly grumpy sass, but give him a good case of impacted anal glands [ i'm not going to go into the ugly details of impacted anal glands, follow the link or use your imagination. ] and the sass turns into the rough equivalent of what you get when a toddler decides that she doesn't want to be in the car anymore 20 minutes into a 5 hour trip.

to "unimpact" anal sacs, one need to "express" them, which pretty much means you need to pinch and squeeze them to get out the infected material. it's kind of like when you were 13 and had pimples, only different in vitally important and repugnant ways. technically, a dog owner can perform this function, but i've never had the necessary fortitude, so off to the vet mauja goes, with bulging anal sacs and a mouth full of sass.

i arrive at the vet and realize that i'm getting a "newbie". maybe she's heard of mauja, but she hasn't really experienced his sass in the first person. i don't even bother to warn her. she takes mauja's leash and i take a seat, casually flipping through "dog fancy", while counting down in my head.



and so it goes on for two or three minutes. the newbie has gusto, i think to myself. people in the lobby cast worried glances, obviously wondering what sort of torture is being performed on mauja. of course, i know that not one person has laid a single finger on him. he's merely telling them in no uncertain terms that he's not really happy about the whole situation.

the newbie comes into the lobby, red-faced, likely embarrased by the calamity and probably wondering if i'm thinking that she's injuring mauja.

"ummm. i think it might be infected. but i'm not really sure, because mauja won't let me look. you know, he's really not very happy."

"i think i'll have to get his regular vet so there's somebody in the room he knows. it might be a few minutes since she's seeing another animal right now"

"that's fine. i understand."

about 5 minutes pass and mauja starts into making his case again. only this time, it's slightly different. i am not making this up. you can tell when he's talking to somebody he knows. although he's still loud enough so that you can hear him through the entire building, he's a little less over-the-top in his vocalizations. it's as if he's switched from north korean style brinksmanship to a more diplomatic tone. it gets quieter over time and can tell the vet is slowly sweet talking him into letting her do what needs to be done. it's only when i don't hear a sound that i know he's been pursuaded.

a few minutes later the vet comes into the waiting room. "ok. all set."

"mauja's such a big talker." she says. "and a big baby. you know the whole time he was making all that noise we were standing around trying to talk to him. he always settles down eventually. "

"yeah. i know."

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8/23/2003 11:18:00 AM 0 comments


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