Make no mistake; the veterinary lobby is a highly politicized place. When it comes to dogs facing dogs, it can get especially hairy. Here's a story to help illustrate:

"Shih-Corgis." Ever heard of 'em? They’re a cross between a Shih-tzu and a Corgi. As in, all that blowout fuzz and big-dog personality in a smaller package — with a whole lot less shedding.

Now, don’t laugh. After all, a Shih-Corgi (Shorgi?) makes about as much sense as a Puggle — with a less catchy name. But then, mixing any breed’s name with "Shih-tzu" is bound to be fraught with some difficulties.

I raise the issue of this nascent hybrid breed because a "breeder" of this canine varietal sauntered into our practice a couple of days ago for the first time, puppies in tow. But it wasn’t the appropriately-crated puppies — there for health certificates, of course — who raised Cain and sentenced me to two hours of surgery, without pay, it was the stressed out Corgi mom (who, incidentally, had no reason to be present) who pounced on a poodle in the waiting room, slicing him to shreds in a matter of seconds.

When the dust settled, the poodle was bleeding profusely from five wounds, one of them a deep, tendon-exposing flap on the lower third of a hind limb. The poodle’s owner fared better with a bruise to her fingernail. (Why is it that the attackee’s owner always manages the bite wound?)

But I guess it could’ve been worse.

Our general policy? It’s the hospital’s responsibility to cover the damages for altercations that occur on our property.

Sure, if it came right down to it a judge would likely rule that the Corgi’s owner held the lion’s share of the responsibility ("shared responsibility" is a common legal outcome of hospital lobby inter-dog clashes).

But if the cost of our repair amounts to less than $1,000 (our cost), it’s not worth fighting over. I mean, who wants to hire a lawyer and waste precious time (not to mention sanity) fighting it out?

Did I hope that the attacking dog’s owner would cough up some money? Yeah, sure I did. It’s only civil for them to offer. But this one didn’t.

So I spent one hour talking the client of the attacked dog down off a ledge and another two in surgery fixing up her poor, innocent dog (as sweet as they come, incidentally). It’ll take another few visits for rebandagings, drain removals and wound checks before my work is done.

So, I never did get to meet the Corgi. Just a "hi" and a "bye" and a "hope-your-owner-never-comes-back" uttered under my breath as her tail flounced out of sight.

Harsh, I know. But do you blame me?

Dr. Patty Khuly