OK, so here’s the rest of the Saturday story, in brief:

First up, the Baxter tragedy. Then…

A woman carting in the most aggressive Chihuahua on the planet (she has to be caged when she goes anywhere) seriously lacerated her foot on the first of the double-glass doors leading into the hospital. Hate to say it, but at least it wasn’t our liability—the strip-mall is responsible for maintaining those doors and we’d informed the management of the danger in at least two documented instances.

Meanwhile, a backed-up waiting room gets even more crowded as a team of paramedics arrives to attend to the crisis. There’s blood everywhere, by the way, so the techs and kennel staff are busy fulfilling OSHA requirements for blood spills. Picture it: There’s kitty litter, red biohazard bags and Clorox everywhere by the time ten o‘clock rolls around—just in time for peak Saturday traffic.

That’s when the incredible smell of death in the back alley was tracked to our dumpster. A crate full of dead chickens is discovered. Sickening, this cock-fighting refuse. It’s the second time we’ve had to call the health department for this seemingly unique-to-Miami vet hospital issue. This time the kennel tech takes it upon herself to call the police. Now we’ve got cops in the waiting room, too.

Then another tearful client calls to inform me he’s not going to wait the agreed-upon month to keep his young Weimeraner alive after suffering a fibrocartilagenous embolism in his spinal cord last week. It can’t be helped with surgery or drugs but his recovery so far had gone so well I’d hoped his owner would continue the physical therapy regimen we’d prescribed.

Nonetheless, he claims his dog is a mere shadow of his former self. Unless I can promise his dog will be restored to 100% function within the month he’ll be driving right over so I can euthanize him—right now. And here’s where I’m thinking: Oh my God I don’t need a foster dog at this point in my life. I’m certainly not about to euthanize a two year-old dog on his way to a reasonable—if almost invariably incomplete—recovery. Sorry…but no. After much telephone drama, he relents and the dog gets a stay of execution on his owner’s behalf.

Before long, the waiting room erupts with the inevitable squabble over who was first. The client with the appointment arrived right on schedule and had already waited 15 minutes but the walk-in (not an emergency) had been waiting 45 minutes. Sorry. Scheduled appointments come first. Still, I’d had to suffer through the complaints and accusations. Can they not see what’s happening here and the extremes of chaos I’m dealing with? Puh-lease!

Next up, the ringworm fiasco

Finally, as I’m walking out the door, the kennel tech informs me her car is on the fritz and she won’t be able to come in all weekend to clean up and feed our numerous kittens and a colleague’s boarded dogs. Sigh. I was so looking forward to not seeing the place for two full days—now I’ll be slogging through kennels and litterboxes for the next couple of days. (Where else do vets do this, I asked myself grumpily?)

So, eventually, I get myself home to swim off the morning’s pent-up stress in my parents’ pool. I’m excited about the prospect of some private time with the new gadget my boyfriend had gifted me: an airtight swim-case for my iPod with which I’d be able to hear the new Polyphonic Spree CD I’d downloaded last week and hadn’t yet had a chance to listen to.

I splash into the pool, savoring the cool water and the tight seal of the earphones. Then three laps and half a tune later…nothing. No polyphonics…no spree…

The airtight seal had proved not so tight after all. My iPod was waterlogged and ruined—along with my workout. That’s when I sat down and cried out all my leftover tears for Baxter, my iPod, my morning and everything else. And that’s all I’m going to say about Saturday. I hope this demon’s been exorcised now that’s it’s all on a computer screen and blissfully outside my head.