“If you have time, can you come with us while I’m driving?”
When I got the message from my mother, I couldn’t stop imagining that she had a car crash. She was going to drive with Zen to the veterinary clinic.
My mother isn’t a very good driver. Neither am I. I understand well how upsetting it is to drive alone through highways.
I was free. So I agreed to go with her.
I don’t drive my mother’s car because its insurance doesn’t cover me. A person over 50, including my parents, is covered with the insurance.
I was just sitting on the seat beside the driver.
Luckily, we got to the destination without any accidents. Phew!
Maybe, my father has the same fear with mine.
“Dad is too nervous. He often texts me today.” She said, showing me the LINE message on her smartphone. It says, “Have you got to the hospital? Tell me if you’re safe or not.”
Being air conditioned, it was rather hot in the clinic. The waiting room was crowded with people and dogs and cats. They rushed into the clinic before the New Year holidays.
Zen looked nervous. He stood up on his mat, sat down and stood up again. As is often the case with dogs and cats, Zen doesn’t like clinics.
Zen is an assistant dog for my mother. We call him Zen-kun. He goes wherever my mother goes and helps her notice specific sounds.
For example, Zen informs my mother when the water boils in the kettle. When the steam passes through the kettle’s spout, it makes a high sound which my mother can’t hear. Zen recognizes the sound and takes my mother to the steaming kettle. What a clever dog!
Assistant dogs always have to be in a good condition. Their users take responsibility for their partners’ health.
My mother has changed after she started to live with Zen. First, she walks longer than before. Zen is a young dog. He needs enough exercises everyday.
Second, my mother makes Zen’s meals. He eats not only dog food but also a piece of chicken or fish and a spoonful of yogurt. Rich meals. All these are necessary for an assistant dog to work happily.
Medical check is, too.
Zen is a Shih Tzu, a kind of small dogs. He has very big eyes which almost can’t be seen under his long hair.
According to the vet, Shih Tzus are likely to have a problem with their eyes. Zen might have some hairs backside of his eyelids. So, Zen’s eyes need a detailed check at the large veterinary hospital far from his house.
When I heard about this, my eyes almost felt itchy. Hair might grow backside of dogs’ eyelids!? Can that really happen?
Even humans sometimes have ingrowing eyelashes. Dogs should suffer from similar illness.
After being kept waiting for an hour, Zen entered the examination room. My mother and I have to wait for more one hour and a half until the examination was over.
We left Zen at the clinic and went to a cafe for lunch.
My sister recommended Mother the cafe near the clinic. Though she didn’t come with us, she lives around there.
It was one of the nicest cafes I’ve ever visited. We had a table at the corner on which pots of foliage plants were lying. On the wall, there were wreaths and bouquets of dry flowers.
Guests use a tiny bell on the table to call a waiter.
“If Zen were here, he would be confused,” Mother said, laughing. “I use this kind of bell at the hospital. A nurse rings the bell and Zen tells me that I’m called.”
When the waiter served the dishes, Mother’s face lit up with joy. There were two plates. A piece of tart, a cream puff, a macaron and some fruits were on the upper plate. The other one was filled with sandwiches cut into bite size.
“My dream came true! I’ve wanted to have afternoon cake set!”
She has a pure dream like a girl’s, I thought. To tell the truth, I often feel as if Mother were a little girl. For me, she’s no reliable mother.
All the same, Mother is loved by everyone in my family. Everyone wants to help her.
I’m sure that Zen is happy to help Mother.
We got back to the clinic ten before one. They have already finished accepting the patients. Only few people were waiting.
Finally, Zen appeared from the examination room. The doctor proved that there was no problem on Zen’s eyes.
Zen looked so happy. He was expressing joy by shaking his tail. His eyes were staring only at Mother.
In the car to home, Zen was sleeping soundly. Hours of medical check made him exhausted. He didn’t know that he had to come to the clinic next month for a urinalysis.
I offered Mother to accompany. If an accident occurred, I’d want to stay with them.