It’s Vet Time!

Contrary to the subject line of this Post, it is not currently vet time for Ray however, I have recently read a number of Posts about some dogs total aversion to the vets. The Posts were followed by a wide collection of suggestions from readers around the world about how to overcome this. Ray never had an aversion to vets … or did he perhaps?

When Ray was picked up as a stray on November 2012, it was done by our local animal welfare people who wear dark (black?) uniforms. After we adopted him in March 2013, He showed a clear discomfort when approaching Fire or Police representatives. We concluded that it was the uniform.

When we had selected the vet for Ray, they recommended that we took him there a few times prior to his initial examination so that he could get used to the staff and the building. It made sense to us because, if circumstances can make him apprehensive around a uniform, then different circumstances can also trigger delight at going somewhere!

As soon as we arrived for these “happy visits”, he was given treats. The staff were clearly pleased to see him and, after a very brief time, even his vet came out to say “Hi” to him! Within probably 10 minutes, we were on our way home with a very happy Ray!

This process was repeated a few times, and then it was his examination appointment time. Ray was getting excited as we headed in the general direction of the vet’s building, and was really excited when we arrived there. He pulled us through the front door and, as expected, was greeted very enthusiastically by the staff … but no treats this time. From Ray’s perspective, it was perhaps confusing, but he would no doubt get treats later (his rationale).Β  He did!

Ray has had a lot of unpleasant treatment there (in the form of injections for various reasons, and hands-on examinations). He has left there very drowsy, having been sedated for a specific purpose, and yet, despite all that, he still gets excited when we turn into the parking lot near the vet’s building.

We attribute his cooperation to a variety of factors, the most influential one being his initial “happy visits”. Since then,Β  he has always been greeted very enthusiastically by the staff, and his vet. Of course we are not stressed taking him there, so he is not negatively impacted by our emotional state at that time.

The last time Ray was there, he was not only pleased to be going again but, while we were waiting in an examination room for the vet, he was alternating between the two partially open doors (one accesses general waiting area for pets and owners, while the other is access by vet from other areas) to see where his vet was, and when he heard her voice ……………………………….!

We are so pleased that we initially took the time to introduce him to the vets practice. We are also very appreciative of the interest shown in Ray by the vets and all the staff of that practice.

I do not know the origin of the pic below, although I think I may have stumbled across it accidentally while in FB? It always makes me smile, but also makes me happy. My imagination would conjure up Ray in that position as he exerts his will … and I would smile. I would be happy because “our boy” loves his vet, and taking him there is never a problem.


39 thoughts on “It’s Vet Time!

  1. The dog I grew up with as a child was terrified of going to the vet. But I’ve also had a dog that trotted happily into the vet’s office and actually hopped up onto the exam table all by herself. Now we have Lucy, who seems okay with going to the vet as long as we are allowed to stay with her.

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  2. Murphy readily jumps up into the back seat of the car, but like I said, don’t start the engine!! It’s not the noise because she’s oblivious to a lot of noises. But her first two years of life were with heroin addicts. These S.O.B’s abused her so badly that 3 days after we rescued her she was having her right rear leg amputated. 😑😑😑

    Fortunately she didn’t get the memo that she’s missing a leg!! She does just fine. Runs like a Greyhound!

    Perhaps some abuse took place in the car. Or she was transported in the car, like maybe to a secluded woods, where abuse took place. She can’t tell us, or maybe she is telling us, but we’re not getting the message.

    If love alone could erase those two years, she’d have no issues at all. Sadly the reality is there are still some issues, the worst being riding in the car. So I think we’re doing ok! She is our ‘Ray’.
    πŸ”Ή Ginger πŸ”Ή

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  3. So glad Ray is having a good vet experience. We have so many dogs, we don’t know what to do but we sure keep our vets in business. The pups all look forward to the car ride and our hound starts to howl in the car and continues her happy howl inside. She’s like a rockstar who has survived kidney cancer and numerous other things a formerly tossed out, starving hound could overcome. Vets are amazing people. Animal lovers are people to be trusted (for the most part). I look at them with less concern anyway. Thanks for reading the piece about my mom’s memory devices.

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    • It’s all perspective Amy. I try to see as much of “our world” as possible from Ray’s perspective. Fortunately, I have been assisted by a number of professional trainers; Carol’s earlier dog experiences and, of course, Ray’s vet in this scenario. πŸ™‚

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  4. Lena never goes in the car, but then she’s a cat, not a dog. I do all her medical needs here at the house. Since she never goes outside (We live in a subdivision full of big, angry dogs.); it’s not safe. For seventeen years this arrangement has worked. At her foster mother’s (her home for the first six months of her life), she lived inside with her mother and littermates. She came from Paws Animal Rescue, and we had to sign that we would keep her indoors. It is the only life she’s ever known.

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  5. Aww God bless him he’s such a lovely soul. Our old dog was like the one in the picture which when I think about now is upsetting becuse she was utterly petrified to the extent I stop myself remembering the trauma it caused her. Casting that quickly aside she was at least spared that one last visit and was put to sleep peacefully at home, curled up in her smelly disgusting blanket and didn’t even know the vet was there.

    Generally I have nothing but the highest praise for our vet. The vet and nurse that were with me and my little friend Cass when she had to be put to sleep last year were just brilliant. I knew Cass was dying but was in a hurry to make it on my shout and peacefully with me there and with as little fear, anxiety and distress as possible. The hurried “OK Claire just do it. Get your shit gimme the forms but make it quick I don’t want her dropping in a heap” and there wasn’t any look, comment or unspoken glances that said “How awful she’s in a real rush to kill her dog”

    When Fleet has his gentleman plums removed he hadn’t long since been re-homed to us and it was his first trip to the vets. I gave them some insight including his love for praise, cuddles and snuggles and a short memory so they worked with that to make the whole experience as stress free as poss.

    Vet nurse Jo was stroking adn talking to him then jabbed the pre-meds quick as a flash in the back of the neck and went “Ooh dear what was that? Oh it’s OK never-mind you’re a good boy yeeee” Ten mins later he’s zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    The only time there has been issue was with the practice owner / senior vet during a consultation with my eldest dog. Puddi is the type of dog that has it in her to potentially be a nasty sod if needs must. A lovely, friendly and genuinely sweet-natured dog but a typical wary, cautious sheepdog that trusts few and suspects everyone until they pass the test and she decides are friend or foe.

    I have only ever seen her take a swipe at someone once which was his fault entirely and upset Puddi most. A guy that lives near went up at Pud too quickly with both hands on her neck and she had no idea what he was doing, wriggled out of his grasp and snapped at him. Not her fault and he learned a harsh but important lesson about not being too keen and eager.

    I’m fortunate in that Puddi allows me every privilege even though it comes with side-eyes and death stares. She knows I won’t harm her, trusts me completely and when I’m checking sores, injuries or poorly paws she will roll and try to budge arms and hands away from her but just a calm but firm “Hey hey come on sweet we have this to do just let me look” and she’s good.

    This one vet handled her like she was checking the bar-code on an Amazon parcel moving her head from one side to the other, picking up and prodding her paws and abscessed toe and my daughter said “Mum she was really bad honestly. She kept giving her that look and I could tell she was gearing up and then the stupid cow vet just stuck her stethoscope on her chest without a word or warning or a kiss your arse”

    Puddi turned and took a swipe at her. The vet stepped back dramatically and said it may be that she needs to be muzzled for future consultations.

    I spoke to the practice later and said it might be best that we stick to appointments with Clare in future but in any case Puddi will not be muzzled for a routine consult on request because one vet hadn’t the sense, time or patience to stroke her gently, chat in a friendly voice and then slide the stethoscope on her chest whilst stroking her so she barely even knows it’s there.

    If we did that, the sight of the muzzle would trigger her anxiety knowing “Holy shit the vet!!” and with that would come more struggling and resistance if not a flat out fight to get the muzzle on. Then you have sedatives to give at home so you can fit the muzzle before bringing for a consult. It happens surprisingly often and all for the want of a vet with a little bit of patience.

    Sometimes you’ll have dogs like my first one whose fear of the vet is so bad there’s nothing you can do but drug up to the eyeballs and do whatever needs must to get them treated and keep veterinary staff safe. God I feel bad when I think of Bess in that state outside the vets 😦

    Attitude and approach can make all the difference.

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    • Thank you for your Comments. Sadly, all professionals have their idiot component, whether it be family doctors or vets! We did have to initially muzzle Ray when out on walks and at the vets, but we simply taught him that wearing a muzzle = more treats. It was also a “Baskerville” muzzle which allowed him some some jaw movement so he could not only breathe easily, but could also chew … but could not bite/nip. It was funny then because If we held his muzzle at his level, he would dive right into it! Positive Reinforcement Training is a wonderful thing! πŸ™‚

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      • This is it though – you’re entirely right and give a perfect example of how you can’t treat, approach and work with all dogs in the same way. What became a positive thing for Ray would be traumatic for Puddi.

        We had “Don’t get a cage” and all sorts of bizarre advice, suggestion and flat out β€œYou must / must never” I won’t even get into when Fleet first came home. Given he’d lived in an outside cramped kennel his whole life I didn’t particularly want to see him crammed inside a cage but he didn’t come with a single toy, luxury or item that offered some familiarity and reassurance. He was put in the back of my car naked as the day he was born. The only life he’d known was sleeping on a concrete floor inside a cramped kennel so to him that would be the security blanket he was otherwise missing.

        Being locked inside a house or shut inside a room with no access to his safe place (outside on the concrete patio floor) would have been traumatic to say the least the poor lad he had never been inside a house. He was allowed to come in and out of the house as and when he liked but the external yard and gates were locked down like a high security unit so he couldn’t slip out and run off. Interestingly within five days he went full circle and decided inside was his safe place so needed prompting to go out the back door. With the comfort, food, affection, attention and care he was getting inside the house he figured β€œIf I go outside I might end up back in that sodding kennel no don’t let them take you outside no!!!”

        I’ll never understand why people such as veterinary staff wouldn’t go all out to make friends with every dog they work with. If I met Ray and had the job of putting a thermometer in the holiest of places I’d make that a magic trick in terms of being fast, painless and almost naked to the invisible eye. Our old German Shepherd β€œSabre” was a big beautiful natured soul like Ray but he had a lot of fear and anxiety issues and I don’t want a big powerful fearful dog like that feeling unsure or frightened of me if I can avoid it. Sabre was the worst guard dog on Earth mind you he sat there and watched three lads completely rob the contents of my brother in law’s house and never made a sound which to me smacks of an inside job. You wouldn’t climb in through that window and not be straight back out again unless you knew that dog.

        Really glad to hear things turned round and became positive for him though. I love it when dogs are helped to get over their fears and anxieties with just a little time, patience and help from their new friends and owners that realise we’re all scared of something.

        Takes so little to make or break dogs but at least Ray has someone that gets it and is putting him back together again πŸ˜€

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      • My daughter said she once heard someone remark on a woman who was out with her two dogs one of which was a staff and the other a poodle. Her poodle was wearing a muzzle, wearing a harness and kept under c;lose and full control and the little Staff happily trotted by her side off lead no problem.

        Some idiot went “Think you’ve gone the muzzle on the wrong dog there love” which she said was something she heard on a regular basis 😦

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        • My personal moment of experiencing human stupidity is when somebody (usually a man) approaches Ray with no finesse and “It’s okay! All dogs love me!” This happens quite often and, much as it is tempting to let Ray deal with it, we tend to immediately distract him. In those circumstances, a bite is always deemed to be the dog’s fault.

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          • Yep I know the sort. I imagine if Ray dealt with the idiots he’d be the most upset the same was Puddi was when she nearly took that guys hand off.

            Not sure how it works across the pond but seem to think the law over there doesn’t work in the same way it does here.

            It’s not right or fair to be worried about whether Ray dealing with an idiot is a matter for the court to determine what was right and who was at fault.

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  6. Funnily we are just on our way home from the vets. Ruby loves visiting the vets. We went to have a lump on front right paw. It has been there about three weeks and after a biopsy it appears to be , fingers crossed a trauma. Ruby loves the vets everyone spoils her and like Ray she gets treats πŸ˜€. Today she also had a Rabies injection because we are off to France later this year and Ruby is joining us! She didn’t even flinch when she had her injection. Like Ray she was lucky to have her introduction to the vets handled sympathetically. πŸ’œπŸ’œ

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    • If the dog owner, and the vet clinic, are prepared to take a few moments to acclimatize a dog before any services are necessary … it makes all the difference doesn’t it. πŸ™‚


      • Our Murphy hates going in the car. Well, she’s okay in the car, just don’t start it! So she’s a wreck before we even get to the vet. She lets the techs and the vet do what they need to, but she’s stiff as a board and drooling all over the place.

        We’ve tried practice rides and visits to vets, but that didn’t work. Sigh…… So I bring treats (none given by vet) and talk to her continuously to keep her as calm as I can. Fortunately she remains healthy at 10, so we only have to go through this once a year!!!
        πŸ”Ή Ginger πŸ”Ή

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        • Perhaps there is a bad car experience in her past? Ray was initially cautious about vehicles, but that could have been simply his recollections of his capture/rescue … or perhaps he was driven away from his earlier home and abandoned. We will never know. We used to throw treats onto the back seat to get him in, and still do occasionally, but he generally likes going for car rides now. πŸ™‚


        • We had similar issues with Fleet and after his first trip home he suffered from travel sickness, fear and seemed to associate the car with something else possibly happening. I opened all the car doors and left them wide open whilst the dogs trotted around outside playing with toys and then very gradually put a tennis ball on the seat and tapped it with “C’mon Fleety you coming in?”

          Would leave a little treat on the seat but let him clamber in and snap that up as and when he felt brave. He’d hop in and straight back out again and we did this sort of thing on a daily basis until he’d jump in without a fuss. Then we worked on literally driving up the road and letting him get out. He drooled so much it was revolting. His mouth, the seats, windows, dashboard and this would be literally a two minute drive I really feel bad for him 😦

          Now got to about 10 mins before he starts to whine and whimper which I suspect is just plain old fashioned horrible travel sickness I’m hoping the vet can help or maybe prescribe something so he can at some point be taken the 25 minute car ride and see the ocean.

          Best I can suggest is just steady away and baby steps. The trick of leaving what I knew Fleet would find hard to ignore on car seats with the door open worked well though. Gives them freedom of choice and element of control which goes a long way

          Best of luck! πŸ™‚

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