Monday, September 29, 2008

When Irish eyes are smiling, it's Riley's dentist

For years I have used a local equine dentist, Les. Les is a big bear of a guy, in his fifties; he's friendly, strong, and good with horses. He's also very successful, and our barn gets on his calendar well in advance. Well, this year the word didn't get out about his visit, and I couldn't arrange for the vet to be there for Riley's dental work. Les was down in Florida for the season, and I needed to find another dentist. I asked around, and someone in Bucks County recommended a dentist who handles some of the top competition horses/barns in the area: P.J. O'Rourke [slight name change here to protect the innocent and keep him to myself].

My first reaction was a smirk. He's gotta be Irish, of course. In my mind's eye I pictured a wizened old leprechaun of a gent, like Mickey Rooney many years after Andy Hardy. I called P.J's number and scheduled an appointment with his secretary. And because Riley was uncooperative for the last visit, I planned on being there, along with my vet in case Riley needed sedation.

The appointment
P.J. O'Rourke pulled up in an SUV. As I walked out to greet him, he was pulling his tools out of the back of the car. And MY OH MY. P.J. was tall and lanky, with shock of thick, curly, auburn-red hair perched atop broad shoulders. He was wearing black jeans, and (there's no subtle way to say it) he had a cute tush. P.J. Rourke was a hottie! He turned to me and offered a friendly greeting.

In a thick Irish brogue.

Thank God the vet pulled up in his truck about now, or I may well have fallen at his feet and attached myself to his ankle. I have loved red-headed guys ever since my teen crush on Rodney Jenkins. Ireland must produce more red-heads than any other nation, so by extension I must love Irish guys too. FWIW, Bob is of Irish descent.

Getting to know you
I spent a good few hours at the barn, chatting up the vet and listening dreamily to P.J. talk while he worked on several horses at our barn. Not only did P.J. have a great accent, he had the gift of gab. In the course of the conversation he mentioned his father's name was "Paddy." What else would it be? If he had pulled out a flask of whiskey every now and then, he would have fit every possible Irish stereotype. It didn't matter. He was charming and witty and delightful. And I was positively giddy.

Riley required sedation for the dental procedures -- actually I suspect the vet was ready to sedate me by this time. It turned out my horse had a lot of sharp ridges to file down. At my request, P.J. observed Riley eating--he holds his head to his side while chewing, which is a sign of dental issues. The examination and filing took perhaps an hour from start to finish. Before he left, P.J. handed me a bill.

All's fair in equine dentistry
$190! Wow! Les never charged more than $80. For the second time that day, P.J. had taken my breath away. I blinked hard when I saw that number. P.J. volunteered that I could make several payments if it was better for me. Bonus points for flexibility! And besides, this visit had entertainment value.

The question is, in the future, do I use P.J or Les? I've always been happy with Les, but he is travelling a lot now, and... Well, it was a quandry. I was on the fence until August, when P.J. wrote to me! Well, sort of. I got a newsletter from his practice. At any rate, now we have this relationship. I'm sorry Les and I drifted apart. But in light of this whole newsletter thing, I think P.J. has shown he deserves my loyalty. Sorry Les.

P.S. Riley is chewing normally again.


  1. Being a fine Irish lass meself, (OK, so theres a lot of Celtic blood in my gene pool,) a good thick brouge makes my heart flutter! Add in that he looks fione in his britches (oh gosh imagine him in and you would have palpatations going on!

    Glad Riley is eating normally now too! ;)

  2. Awesome that your horse is chewing normally again! But boy oh boy would I balk at that fee!

  3. Great post!

    I came very close to buying a horse from a local trainer. He was from Scotland and had the nicest accent and a nice laugh. Luckily I passed on the horse, but keep thinking of ways to go out there...

    What is it about a good accent that makes us all silly? I'm of Celtic descent as well - even had red hair when I was a wee lass... My hubby has red hair too, so I've covered that angle.

    All of that being said, glad Riley is eating well again. Tooth care is very important - you might have to have PJ come out for a few checkups! lol

  4. ROFL See compared to what I used to pay that was CHEAP! I couldn't believe it when you said you used to pay less than $80.

    PS. For a cover name you could have called him O'Riley. XD

  5. You made me laugh!! That was a good story, and really well written! Now no making Riley chew funny so he wears his teeth uneven faster! :P

  6. While the fee was a little high, it's worth it to have Riley chewing normally. We've had a farrier named Paddy and he was the absolute best guy ever, I was sorry to lose him when we moved. Our dentist is also from Ireland and has that great accent. My daughter being of Celtic descent(on my husbands side) seems to prefer all the Irish guys too! I'm sure it's the accent but I just love the way they spin a good yarn.


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