Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jupiter on a Bike

Yesterday, Roxi and I embarked on a trip that we have been dreading: taking her cat Jupiter to a local veterinarian for her annual checkup and shots. I checked Google for information about nearby vets and found one a short distance from our apartment. What made the trip difficult was that we would either have to take Jupiter on our bikes or on a bus, neither of which seemed easy. Taking the bus seemed less stressful but would take longer as we would have to take a round-about trip and transfer buses to go a very short distance as the crow flies. On the other hand, the idea of riding a bike with a cat carrier over the relatively short distance seemed like it would really upset Jupiter.

After careful consideration, we decided to ride bikes with Roxi wearing the cat carrier bag over her shoulder. Getting Jupiter into the carrier was pretty easy considering the last time she was in it and she didn't make a peep for the ten minute ride through the wooded roads to the vet in Hengelo. Thanks to Google Maps, finding the vet's office couldn't have been easier. However, the seemingly perfect trip hit a snag when we arrived at the office only to find it closed. We were fifteen minutes early and had an appointment, so we waited and watched a dark cloud in the distance move in our direction. When our appointment time arrived, it didn't appear that anyone was going to show, but I insisted that we wait for at least another fifteen minutes in case the vet was running late.

We've never bothered to get a cell phone while in the Netherlands because we really don't have anyone we need to call, but at that moment, I wished for nothing more. We were across the street from a bustling grocery store and debated about asking a random person in the parking lot to borrow their phone. As I struggled with my anxiety about asking to borrow a phone, a older gentleman crossed the street and began speaking to us in Dutch. I pulled out my most used Dutch phrase and asked if he spoke English. He said he spoke a little and went on to tell us that the vet was closed. We told him our situation and asked if he had a cell phone. He said he didn't, wished us good luck and crossed back to the grocery store. Roxi and I were about ready to leave when he returned a minute later and told us that we was going to drive to his house and call the vet for us. If the vet was not going to be coming, he said he would drive back to tell us!

He was gone for about fifteen minutes and again, Roxi and I were about to pack it in and head back to our apartment when he pulled up in his car with his wife. He told us the vet was not coming, but he talked to another vet just down the street and wanted to take us to him. We weren't sure if we should because of the impending rain and the likelihood that Jupiter would use the bathroom in her carrier immediately upon getting in the car. The Dutch gentleman and his wife were insistent upon taking us so we got in the car. Immediately Jupiter started to whine and used the bathroom in her carrier. Thankfully, we had a towel with her inside so there was no mess but we were worried about the smell it might leave in these kind people's car.

Not far down the road we arrived at the vet and we were greeted by a kind man and his assistant. The vet spoke very good English, which was reassuring and took us immediately into the exam room. Like most pets, Jupiter hates vet visits, but this one was unavoidable because she needed an exam, an annual rabies vaccination and paperwork to be completed by the vet in order to be allowed to re-enter the United States in August. The vet had a wonderful bedside manner and gave Jupiter a clean bill of health after her exam. He administered her vaccine, started our paperwork and even gave Jupiter an official pet passport booklet that looks just like our passports! All we need now is a picture of her to complete it! We thanked the kind vet and paid our bill.

Meanwhile, the couple that brought us had insisted upon waiting until we were done so that they could give us a ride back to our bikes! They dropped us off just as the first drops of rain were beginning to fall. We thanked them profusely and headed back to our apartment. Within a minute, it was raining fairly hard and Roxi and I were getting pretty wet. Jupiter seemed to be doing okay as she was somewhat protected from the rain by Roxi's sweatshirt and she never even uttered a whine. It was a ten minute ride back and we went through a wooded area which gave us some protection, but by the time we were back at our apartment, we were both pretty soaked. But the important thing is that we got Jupiter vaccinated and the paperwork for her travel started. If not for the kindness of three strangers in Hengelo, we would have had to make another trip with Jupiter on the bike and might not have had as good of an experience with another vet. The kindness of strangers is an amazing thing and I only hope to be so helpful if the opportunity ever arises.

1 comment:

A Touch of Dutch said...

Great story & what an experience. Thank goodness for those very kind strangers :-)