I am worried about the rabbits. One of them has a wart; I felt it when I picked him up. It’s my husband’s rabbit, Barry White.
I break the news. “Ugh yuk. Don’t show me, show the vet,” he says shrinking away.
“Why are you so squeamish? You were OK at the boys’ births.”
“Children aren’t the same as warts, darling.”
The rabbits need their vaccinations anyway, so I don’t mind going to the vet, and, although I would prefer to go with just Barry White, I see the trip as an activity. An expensive and condensed version of a petting zoo. Milk and Mayhem will find the diseased animals in the waiting room interesting, and the owners of the sick pets get to watch my children drink water out of the communal dog bowl.
There are leaflets about fleas everywhere. It makes me itchy. Mayhem spots the fish tank immediately and runs over, pressing his open mouth against the glass. The fish dart. Milk asks me if we can have a puppet.
“You mean a puppy.”
“No, I mean a puppet. Please can we have a puppet, like that one?”
He is pointing at a Beagle puppy, for sale.
I wonder what would happen if I bought him a puppet.
The vet does an examination and gives Barry White an injection to stop him getting myxomatosis – that awful disease wild rabbits spew all over the countryside. I saw a wild one chatting to our rabbits the other day, so am suspicious this is linked to the wart.
She is a stern vet. She wants me to hold Barry White on the table as if he is my baby. But I have Milk and Mayhem trying to climb my legs to see what is happening, so she gets a nurse to clip his claws.
“Anything else I can help with?”
“Yes.” I shift my hips so the boys slip down my legs to the floor with squeals and soft thuds.
I lean in. “I think I found a wart on him. I felt it when I picked him up the other day. It was dry and lumpy.”
The vet raises her eyebrows as if this is interesting. She feels around Barry White’s fur, which smooths out beneath her gentle touch. After a while she stops.
“Is this what you felt?” she says and parts the hair to show me a wart.
“Yes! Yes! That’s it!” I feel immense relief that I have saved Barry White’s life. “I knew there was something there.” I say smiling.
The vet nods. “It’s his nipple.”