She brandishes a photo. 'It's potty-trained.'
'I'll think about it.'
I have to confess I have a problem with dogs, especially 'cute' ones, having been bitten as a child by one such canine.
Now here I am at Mrs B's house. She not only has MUPS (medically unexplained physical symptoms), but owns two terriers that are as ancient as she and prone to spells of visitor-inspired incontinence. She is waiting at the door as I arrive for a visit. Stan and Ollie slobber in anticipation as they eye my bag.
I stand back and speak with quiet authority.
'Could you put those two in a separate room and shut the door, please?'
'Oh, my little dogs wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone a GP,' replies Mrs B. She seems ready to burst into tears. I concede immediately and, thinking I should banish my childish fears, step over the threshold. The dogs escort me into the lounge.
I give Mrs B a check-up while Ollie scrabbles at my dog-eared bag. He makes a strange, high-pitched noise as he chews the leather strap.
'Poor little thing, he has such a bad cough, doctor, can you hear it? It's gone to his lungs,' says Mrs B, cuddling the creature.
I nod my head in grave sympathy.
'He has bronchitis, you know, passive smoking from my husband's pipe. I give him his inhalers twice a day.'
Mrs B, by contrast, seems to be in rude health and I think it is time to make a swift exit.
'While I have you ...' she begins as I make for the door. I hold my breath. What is it going to be? A request for diazepam, zopiclone, antibiotics or perhaps a referral?
'Could you listen to Ollie's chest with that tube thing, my dear? The vet was so terribly busy; I couldn't get an appointment till next week.'
- Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol. If you are interested in writing a column for GP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.