Mr. Cobbler was already shouting as he burst through the waiting room door.
"Emergency! Emergency!" He held the door open for his daughter, Peach, who joined in the chorus. "Emergency! Emergency! We
need the doctor quick!" They both held the door open waiting for the "emergency" to come through.
Michael A. Obenski, VMD
I couldn't help but notice that there is a direct correlation between the outside temperature and the length of time people
hold the door open. Since it was 15 degrees outside that day, I knew that the door might stay opened indefinitely.
A few freezing cold minutes later, Mrs. Cobbler ran in carrying a large bundle. The entire panicky procession was directed
to an exam room so that I could get to work. I didn't get a chance to ask any questions, because helpful history was coming
at me from all directions.
"Hobbler can't walk!"
"Our dog injured his feet!"
"We don't know how he did it!"
"Hobbler might be paralyzed!"
I instructed them to unwrap the poor pooch before he suffocated. They responded by uncovering his head. He looked fine. So,
I decided to get the whole bow-wow out of the bundle. He just lay there on his side and looked up at me. Apparently, Hobbler
Cobbler couldn't walk. All four feet were bandaged, which seemed strange to say the least.
"Were his feet bleeding at home? Is that why you bandaged them?" I asked. Their answer made the diagnosis rather easy.
"Oh, no Doc, there was no bleeding. In fact, we didn't notice anything wrong at all. Those aren't bandages. They are his new
boots. We made them ourselves, and it's a good thing we did because now he needs them to protect his sore feet. It was very
cold this morning so we thought it would be a good time to try out the new boots. Well, he didn't want us to put them on.
It must be that his feet hurt, and he didn't like us touching them."
"Then, after we got all four feet booted up, he refused to walk. His condition got worse just that quickly."
I suggested that we uncover the feet and take a look.
"Do you think that is safe, Doctor?" Peach Cobbler asked. "Without that protection his feet will hurt worse. Couldn't you
take an X-ray right through them? That way you could diagnose the problem without hurting his feet."
I decided to give them the bad news. As tactfully as possible I inferred that the boots were the problem, not the solution.
They couldn't or wouldn't accept the obvious. Clearly, the dog was the brains of the family.
It took 15 minutes to get the feet uncovered. I wound up cutting my way through the array of knots and tape. When I was done,
the pup ran around with "happy" written all over his face.
I explained that Hobbler was just not able to tolerate boots on his feet. "Do you think he is allergic to them?" Mr. C asked.
"We could try making a pair out of a different material if he is."
I told them to let the matter drop. Foolishly, I thought it ended there. I was wrong. Mrs. Cobbler called me the next day.
"Doctor, do you remember my dog, Hobbler? He is one of those rare dogs who can't wear boots. Remember?"
(How could I forget?)
"Do you remember how hard it was to get those off of his feet?" She went on. "Those wouldn't fall off and get lost outside.
We think we had a great design when we made them. Just because our dog can't wear boots, that doesn't mean that most dogs
wouldn't love having warm feet. If we started making more, could we sell them in your waiting room?"
I told her no. You see, Hobbler and I both have a bad reaction when exposed to homemade dog boots.
Dr. Obenski lives in Zionsville, Pa.
For a complete list of articles by Dr. Obenski, visit