A short story by
Naturally, the puppy preferred to chew their slippers to shreds and ignored the squeaky toys. Mary was knitting doggy sweaters for the winter, and Charlie bought three different doggy beds for him to choose the one he liked the best.
Of course, the puppy chose to sleep on the bathroom rug.
One afternoon Charlie called me and said, “I took Muffin to the vet because he was scratching his ear and cried. The vet said that he has ear mites in his right ear and they gave him ear drops.”
“Okay…” I answered wearily because knowing Charlie, I never knew what to expect when he called. A childhood illness left him with a mild cognitive disability and Mary wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed either. “Did you put the ear drops in his ear?” I asked.
“I can’t decide which one is his right ear!” Charlie replied.
“Umm… what do you mean” I asked, feeling confused. “There is only right ear and left ear. Why is it confusing?”
“Well, when I’m facing Muffin, I touch his right ear with my right hand, so it must be his right ear. But when I stand behind him, I get confused because the ear I touched is now on the left.”
Oh, boy! - I thought - How on Earth am I going to explain this to him over the phone?
“Well, stand behind the dog and touch his right ear with your right hand.” I prompted him.
“Got it!” he answered.
“Now put the phone down and put the ear drops in his right ear.”
“Okay, but don’t hang up!”
“Don’t worry; I’ll stay on the phone.”
I heard rustling, whispering then muffled cursing, and then Charlie picked up the phone and said, “I don’t get it! I can’t put the drops in staying behind Muffin because he keeps turning his head to look me. But when I face him, I’m confused again about which ear is the right, and which ear is the left.”
Not knowing what to say or how to explain without further confusing him, I had a brilliant idea. “You know what Charlie? Just put the drops in both ears!”
“Are you sure it’s okay? The doctor said his left ear doesn’t have mites.”
“Yes, I am sure. Just put the drops in both of his ears, it wouldn’t hurt him. My friend, Marie is coming up the driveway, Charlie. I must go now, but good luck. I’ll call you later.”
“But wait! Can you come over?"
"I can, but not right now, Charlie. I haven't seen Marie for months and I want to spend some time with her, but I'll go over later."
"Oh... okay," Charlie sighed. "I'll just do it myself. But are you sure it's okay?"
"Charlie, just put the bloody drops in both ears."
"Okay, don't shout! I'll do it."
I felt guilty saying no to the sweet guy but I missed my friend and I was eager to spend some time with her. I'll go over when Marie leaves, I thought and went out to greet her.
I thought the problem was solved and Muffin got his medicine because my phone didn't ring for about an hour. I enjoyed Marie's visit, we had a lot of catching up to do. Then the phone rang and I heard Charlie’s excited voice, “I still wasn’t sure and decided to call the vet. He tried to explain, but then he told me exactly what you said. He said ‘put the bloody drops in both ears’. I did, and Muffin was a very good boy, he let me do it.” He announced happily.
“Fantastic!” I replied feeling happy that the doctor's firm words saved me from spending time with my friend feeling guilty.
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