This Lemon Was A Real Eye Opener

It’s funny how far a little bit of knowledge and wisdom can take you. As a veterinarian, I see countless individuals making poor choices and I often wonder: Was I like that? A quick moment to reflect, and soon I recall the long list of “what was I thinking?” moments. The list is more extensive than I’d like to admit.

I suddenly feel compelled to share one of these not-so-proud moments in my life. Sit back and shake your head as I do when I look back at my foolishness.

It was a warm summer’s day in Colorado Springs circa 1993. I was busy studying for organic chemistry, which was a prerequisite to getting into veterinary medical school. Suddenly, I heard barking outside and rushed to see what my furry family members were excited about.

“Tara, Keoni, what’s the matter?” I asked. Tara and Keoni were my Klee Kais. Klee Kai is a new breed — basically it is like a miniature husky.

As I looked around, all I could see was a little old lady about half a block away.

“It’s OK, kids,” I said. “It’s just someone crossing the street.”

Returning to my studies, I took out the 3-D molecular models that were supposed to help me conceptualize the theories that eluded my comprehension. A few minutes later, my dogs started to bark again.

This time it was a skateboarder. Next up was a woman pushing a baby carriage, and the list went on.

Instead of studying that afternoon, I think I got a great workout running from my house to the yard over and over again.

After weeks of these shenanigans, I realized that I needed some help. A friend recommended spraying Tara and Keoni with a water bottle whenever they barked. I tried it, to no avail. In fact, Tara started opening her mouth to catch the spray. I think she thought I was offering her a watery treat.

Another friend told me to add some lemon juice to the water when I sprayed them. It was worth a try. As soon as I sprayed my “malfunctioning security alarm,” the barking ceased.

Eureka! It worked.

A few days later, I tackled organic chemistry once again, but this time I felt confident that my lemon water silencer would offer me peace and quiet.

Right on cue, Tara and Keoni started to bark at a passerby. Armed and dangerous, I rushed outside and shouted “Tara, Keoni, shush.” As they ignored my admonishing glare and harsh tone, I reached for my silencer and sprayed at will. Suddenly, a gust of wind whipped up and diverted my spray from reaching its target. In fact, the wind was so strong that it forced the lemony water directly at me.

A few seconds later I dropped to my knees with hands over my face. Ouch! The lemon water stung my eyes causing them to tear. I rushed to the garden hose and flushed repeatedly. Sensing my pain, Tara and Keoni started to lick me as a feeling of guilt started to creep in. I immediately threw the water bottle away.

The next day I called my friend and told him what happened. He laughed. I laughed. Lesson learned.

What in the world was I thinking?

Dr. John Kaya is director of the Windward Community College veterinary technician program and associate veterinarian for VCA University Animal Hospital.