Last month, I spent two days shadowing a local veterinarian for a story. I don’t have any pets of my own and when I was a kid my mom always took care of our dogs’ vet visits, so even though Going To The Vet is a totally normal thing most people do, it was all totally new and foreign to me. One thing I learned about veterinarians is that they spend a not inconsiderable amount of time with their fingers up various animals’ anuses. I had never seen a dog or cat’s glands expressed before but now I have seen many. Many many many. You have perhaps never lived until you have looked into the eyes of an unsuspecting beagle as it gets its funky butthole squoze. And I don’t know if this is standard operating procedure, but this particular veterinarian, after she has done her rubber-gloved thing, reaches for a squirt bottle of store-brand Listerine. It helps clean up The Area and, via inevitable licking, freshens the animal’s breath. Brilliant! It was only a few days later that I realized the potential complications in my own personal life. Joe and I were getting ready for work one morning—me in the bedroom, him in the bathroom—when I was hit with a distinctly astringent waft that nearly brought me to my knees. I steadied myself and peeped into the bathroom, where Joe was re-shelving his bottle of store-brand Listerine, grimacing and swishing away. How many times will my freshly mouthwashed husband have to kiss me before I no longer associate the smell of his gingivitis-free gums with sad doggy eyes and sad doggy butts? I’ll keep you posted.