Did you ever notice how every time one of your dogs has an emergency it happens on a weekday at exactly 48 seconds past whatever time your vet’s office closes, or on the weekend? EVERY. TIME.

This is how one Saturday night I ended up at one of the emergency vet clinics in town with Simon.

I had been gone most of the day and just as we were getting ready to settle in for a Saturday night of movie watching on the couch, I realized that my poor boy could not get comfortable. He kept getting up and shifting position and was clearly in some pain. When I got up to investigate, I realized that his tail was just hanging off his backside and it was definitely tender to the touch.


This is not Simon.

Simon had been at doggie daycare that day and I was convinced that someone had yanked his tail or in some way abused him in some awful manner. On the drive to the emergency clinic, I was imagining all the ways in which I would seek my revenge against the evildoer who had done Simon wrong. Oh, no, I was not just jumping into the deep end of overreacting, I was running full force and cannonballing myself over the edge of reason. I had worked myself into quite a tizzy by the time we reached the clinic.

Despite his pain, Simon attempted a sad little wag of the tip of his tail when the vet came in to the exam room. She did a quick check of Simon, looked at me and said, “It’s Swimmer’s Tail.”

“But he hasn’t been swimming in weeks,” I exclaimed convinced I’d been given the rookie vet who had drawn the short straw for the overnight shift. What did she know? Clearly, my dog had been abused. Why wasn’t she taking x-rays and documenting details? A crime had been committed. I was just sure of it!

She smiled, rather condescendingly (at least in my retelling of the story) and said, “Swimmer’s tail is the term we use when a dog has strained or sprained their tail during vigorous swimming or play. We see this all the time in Labs who are known for exuberant tail wagging.”

swimmer's tail

This is not Simon either

I blinked. I paused. I blinked again. “I want to be clear here. Are you telling me that I am at the emergency clinic at 11:30 on a Saturday night because my dog sprained his tail wagging it too much?”

She said, “That is exactly what I’m telling you. Simon is just a VERY happy dog.”

I blinked. I looked around the room for a camera. “C’mon. Am I being punked? Is this REALLY a thing? My dog sprained his tail because he wagged it too enthusiastically?”




This is Simon!

The vet confirmed her diagnosis, handed me some pain meds and some anti-inflammatories, explained that Simon’s tail would be sore and limp for a few days and sent us on our way.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that no one had in fact been manhandling my dog and I was quite relieved knowing I would not need to hire a team of personal injury animal rights attorneys or contact the Humane Society of the United States.

[fa icon=”paw”]  Simon Says

I’m just a happy boy!