Josh: Oh, the dreaded yearly checkup at the vet. When I was younger, I was the best dog in the world at the vet. I was calm. I would let the vet do whatever they wanted to me with a smile on my face. Nothing bothered me. Sure, I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Sure, I would jump on my daddy when I got nervous. Overall, however, it never did quite bother me much. It was just a major inconvenience.
Jeter: If only I was like Josh! The vet terrifies me. Not the doctor herself – just the entire idea of going to the vet. I get panicky. I am not a vocal dog at all – I rarely bark and I rarely cry. If I get accidentally closed into a room, I don’t cry to come out – I just sit by the door and wait for someone to get me. When I bark, I can’t even sustain it like most dogs – I let out a few before stopping. However, when I go to the vet, I do cry. I jump on my daddy, and I want nothing to do with going into one of the dreaded rooms….
Alanis: I know you are all going to call me strange, but I am used to that by now. It isn’t that I actually love the vet, but I sure do act that way. I look at it as I look at everything in the world: A play session! I try to go behind the receptionist desk to play with the people back there. I try to play with the vet techs. I bark like a lunatic, like I always do when I am actually excited. I don’t push or pull to leave – I walk into the dreaded office as if it is a playroom.
Jeter: You are one strange dog – I can’t even. The worst thing about going to the vet is that someone, a LONG time ago, put the dreaded “WILL BITE!” sticker in my chart. My daddy swears I have never bitten a soul at the vet. The indicator was put in there a long time ago – the entire staff has changed since then – but we have no idea how or why it got there or how I got the stigma. There is no doubt that I hate it there and that I need to be held for when they take my temperature or draw blood. But BITE? Never.
Josh: That is strange, indeed. Probably my funniest story (which wasn’t funny at the time!) is when there was a grooming accident at home – my owners accidentally cut me as they were grooming me. As the story goes, I had blood on my fur but pretty much didn’t complain one bit. I didn’t yelp or “shout” in pain. I didn’t cry. I acted as if nothing at all happened to me. My parents didn’t call the emergency room that night, but they did take me in the next day. I needed to go into surgery to get some stitches on the wound. Daddy didn’t tell my mommy that I needed to go under for the stitches – didn’t want to panic her. I came out of it all just fine……..
Jeter: That indeed was a scary story that became just another tidbit about Josh – the happy-go-lucky dog that never complains.
Alanis: I don’t really have any funny vet stories just yet…..
Jeter: I don’t really have one either – other than the gross stuff. When I was younger, I was unable to “express” myself when I pooped. I was prone to scooting because of this. Daddy had to bring me to the vet fairly often so that they could work on those anal glands! I guess somewhere along the way, my body started to do it since I never have to go to the vet for that purpose anymore.
Josh: How about the leg injury?
Jeter: Well, yeah – when I was really young, I was playing ball with my daddy. I started limping badly on one of my legs, so he rushed me to the vet. By the time the doctor saw me in the office, I was no longer limping! I was acting as if there was nothing wrong with me at all. The doctor decided not to do any kind of x-ray because I was acting fairly normal. It is possible I simply strained a ligament………
Alanis: You two are full of stories! Maybe one day, I too will have a good vet story!
Me: Boring is good in this case, Alanis! Just like kids will be kids, dogs will be dogs. They will injure themselves. They will have days where they simply don’t want to eat for reasons you are not likely to figure out (especially if it is a benign reason!). They will have days where they don’t want to play or be active. When you own a dog, observe them closely. Even dogs who are of the same breed will have unique characteristics about them. Something that may raise an alarm bell about one dog may be more common for another. A perfect example in our house: Jeter has always been an active dog. So when he is lethargic, we know something is wrong. However, even in his younger days, Josh had a tendency to be a calmer Golden Retriever. A day of Josh not wanting to play was not really concerning. I have said this a few times in this blog: KNOW YOUR DOG. Don’t panic at every little thing that is out of the ordinary, but also don’t gloss over an obvious change in behavior. As for shots, talk to your vet about how you want to go about keeping your dog protected from disease. Rabies will always be mandatory, though in recent years, they have developed a 3-year shot for that disease. Other shots are also now going the 3-year route. A good vet is not going to force vaccinations down your throat. A good vet will work with you to offer the best care for your dog. Studies on vaccines are always being conducted. Do your research and make the best possible decisions you can. You may also want to look into titer testing, a test that is designed to see if your dog is still immune to the diseases a vaccine is trying to guard against. (Full disclosure: I have never done any titer testing for my dogs, but have considered it). Obviously, i am completely in favor of taking your dog to the vet at least once a year just to get the basic wellness. Just like with humans, that one trip to the doctor can save their lives if something underlying is going on within their bodies.