For some months now, my friend Lynn has been having sleepless nights worrying about her Labrador, Molly.
“She’s so restless!” she reported at afternoon tea in Raffles. “She just mopes around the house with this sad dopey look!”
“Maybe she senses you have cancer!” Saffy offered. Her voice seemed to lift itself up to the rafters of Raffles’ shiny new interiors and bounce around.
As conversation killers go, this one was a massacre. Tea cups paused mid-way to lips as eyes swivelled from Saffy to Lynn and back to Saffy. She blinked. “What?”
Lynn sighed finally. “Don’t think I didn’t think about it. I’d just been watching the YouTube clip of that dog that sensed his mistress’s cervical cancer and saved her life. But Molly’s not moping around me or fretting. She just sits in a corner and stares out the window. It’s really freaking me out!”
“What does the vet say?” asked Amanda whose entire world view is based on the belief that doctors can solve any problem so long as you throw enough money at them. Once, when she was holidaying in New York, she woke up with a severe sore throat and immediately flew to the Mayo Clinic all the way in Minnesota to see an E+T specialist. A few thousand dollars later, she was diagnosed with the flu.
When Saffy WhatsApped Sharyn to tell her, Sharyn replied, “Hah? Siow!”
Amanda loved the whole experience. For weeks, she raved about the quality of the doctors at the Mayo and would counsel everyone to get their ailments checked out there.
When the tea auntie at the office handed over the afternoon coffee and cookies with a slight tremble in her hand, Amanda immediately suggested the Mayo.
“Ay, xiao mei,” the auntie sighed, “I no need see doctor, one. You pour and hold 200 cup of coffee and tea two time a day for 25 year, you see if your hand tremble or not!”
“I wonder if there’s a canine equivalent of the Mayo,” Amanda now wondered, her mind running riot with the image of lab coated specialists scheduling shihtzus for MRIs, and aiming CT scans at Dalmatians.
Saffy later said just when you thought Harvard really should take back Amanda’s Law degree, the woman comes up with a brilliant idea. “I mean, the pet industry is worth billions! An actual hospital full of expensive dog specialists? Seriously, that’s just genius! When I was a kid, our Pomeranian got sick with, like the flu or something, and a week later when she still hadn’t gotten better, my parents had her put down!”
I put down my phone to give this conversation my complete attention. “Shut up. Because of flu?”
Saffy hesitated. “Well, maybe it was more serious than a flu, but my point is, in those days, you didn’t spend a lot of money at the vet. Whoever heard of a dog getting an MRI? But look at Molly! That Labrador has had more expensive tests done to her than any human I know! How much money are those vets making?”
A few days later, Lynn rang Amanda in a state of mild hysteria. Apparently, during the night, she’d been gently stroking Molly, attempting to sooth the restless dog when she discovered a lump near the stomach.
“Oh God, what if it’s cancer!” Lynn shrieked. “We’re on our way to the vet right now!”
In the background, Saffy wondered aloud just exactly where the stomach is in a dog. “Would it be the same place as a human?...What?” she asked, noticing my look.
A few hours later, Lynn rang from the vet’s. The lump was a lipoma.
“Shut up!” Amanda said. She turned her head and shouted in the direction of Saffy’s bedroom. “Molly’s lump is a lipoma!”
“Shut up!” Saffy sang out. She stumbled out of her room, eyes bright. “Oh my God! A lipoma!”
Amanda turned on her phone speaker. You could tell from Lynn’s voice that she was surprised. “Wait, you know what a lipoma is?!”
Saffy’s bosom inflated. “Hello, we watch Dr Sandra Lee every day during breakfast. We’re obsessed with lipomas!”
“When the vet told me, I nearly passed out in fright until he explained to me that they’re….”
“...A collection of benign fat cells, yes, we know!” Amanda said.
“Who are you people?!”
Saffy clapped her hands. “Ooh, ooh! Can we be there when the vet takes it out of Molly?”
Amanda sighed, her eyes shining in happiness. “Oh, that would be so awesome!”
Apparently Lynn told her best friend Margaret who told Jennifer who told Sharyn who told Saffy that she is seriously reconsidering her friendship with us.