Sometimes, a name just fits. That is the case with Hardy Bruin, who is the biggest man I have ever seen. The guy must weigh
at least 300 pounds, and there doesn't appear to be an ounce of fat on him.
On the other hand, his dog Dainty represents a complete misnomer. The pooch weighs 83 pounds, and has the personality of a
wounded leopard. Due to a lifetime of dealing with animals, I am able to recognize that Dainty is probably an "allisaw," the
result of mating between a male alligator and a female chain saw. For those of you who would like a clarification on the taxonomy,
I'd like to point out that he would be a "chaitor" if his mom were the alligator and his father the chain saw.
The last time they were in to see me, Mr. Bruin, who could probably bench-press a Buick, flopped down in the exam room chair
while his daughter Pansy (not a misnomer) attempted to control the dog. Are you surprised? I'm not.
After calling one of my people to hold the dog, I asked about the reason for the visit.
"I don't know, Doc," he said. "Didn't my wife tell you when she made the appointment?"
Apparently, he, Pansy and Dainty came to see me due to some sort of problem, but had no idea as to what it was. Surprised?
I knew the reason for the office call had probably been recorded on the computer when Mrs. Bruin made the appointment. Theoretically,
I could pull up the appointment schedule and read the presenting complaint. That gave me the thought, "I wish I knew how to
work that thing."
I asked my tech to look it up. Unfortunately, the information wasn't there. We wound up having to call Mrs. Bruin to find
out what the problem was. She wasn't home. Does that surprise you? Personally, I thought it was par for the course.
So I examined the critter to see what I could find. That's when the genes kicked in. Dainty's chainsaw ancestry recognized
me as a delicious sampling. Meanwhile, the alligator genetic component in him noticed a definite similarity between me and
a bay elk straying too close to the edge of a lake. The "allisaw" went into full attack mode (as usual). Hardy and Pansy got
a good laugh out of that (as usual). Are you surprised that people would laugh at such behavior? I, of course, expected it.
Mr. Bruin had a theory pertaining to the dog's horrible behavior. "We figure he probably acts that way because someone abused
him when he was young."
Meanwhile, Pansy had a theory of her own. "Dainty probably thinks that he's defending us from you," she said. "He probably
thought you were going to give me a needle." They had excuses for the dog's dangerous behavior and lack of training. Are you
shocked yet? Wait, there's more to come.
Mrs. Bruin called with the reason for the visit. Dainty needed to be examined for rabies. Apparently, he bit the neighbor.
Surprise, surprise. It was his third such visit in the last six months. Mr. Bruin was perturbed by the situation. "This is
really getting annoying, Doc," he said. "There ought to be something we can do to keep the neighborhood kids from playing
on the sidewalk in front of our house. They know Dainty lives there."
He actually wanted to put the blame on the victim. Do you think I'm making this stuff up? Does this sound far-fetched to you?
Hardy Bruin had more to say. "Some of our neighbors have suggested that we get rid of Dainty. Or, worse yet, that we get him
neutered. We would never do that, Doc. He is an important part of our family. I don't care if he has to get examined every
week. Money is no object."
Five minutes later, he was complaining bitterly about the exam fee. Are you astonished?
If you think any of the events in that office visit seem unlikely, I have two things to say to you. First, congratulations
on your recent graduation from veterinary school. And, second, welcome to private practice.
Dr. Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.
For a complete list of articles by Dr. Obenski, visit