A Refresher Course September 6, 2011
Yes, even vets need a refresher course sometimes. So my seven year old daughter has been begging for a puppy for the past year. Of course, her loving veterinary father could come up with hundreds of reasons why we didn’t need a new puppy “right now”. It’s funny how the same reasons sounded similar to some of my clients. Anyways, her persistence (and her being my only daughter) finally wore me down, so we are now the proud owners of two shih-tzu puppies- Cam and Lucy Belle! If you were paying attention, you caught that I said two puppies, not one. So here’s where I needed the first refresher lesson.
Refresher Lesson no. 1- Don’t take either your wallet or your children when looking at puppies! If I’ve said this once, I’ve told clients a thousand times. And what did I do? I took all three of my kids. And imagine how it turned out. My oldest son pleaded the unfairness argument. “How come she’s the only one to get a puppy?” Luckily, my youngest son (who is three) could not adequately convince us of getting a third puppy. So we walked out with two puppies in hand…much to my chagrin.
Refresher Lesson no. 2- It’s good to remember what my clients go through with their new puppies…. every few years. From cleaning up messes to crying puppies late at night, it’s good for a vet to experience it. It’s easy for me to dismiss or casually address behavior issues when they’re not my own. I now will make a more concerted effort to help the poor souls who are dealing with the fun puppy stages.
Refresher Lesson no. 3- A vet’s puppies aren’t automatically smarter than anyone else’s! Just because I have a lot of knowledge on raising and training of puppies doesn’t mean that mine will learn it by osmosis. I’m reminded of the saying “do as I say, not as I do.” I’ve got to spend time working with them just as much as anyone else. I tell my clients to play with their pet’s paws and roll them on their back, and then I’ve got to do it myself.
Refresher Lesson no. 4- Your kids (no matter how much they promised) will not help take care of the puppies. But I thought my kids were different- ha-ha. Oh they have great intentions, but ultimately it will be up to one of the adults in the house to do aaaall the work required. They’re good at holding them in their lap, but I could do that (and I do).
I am reminded of one of last thing…..that after a long hard day at work petting a soft cuddly puppy in your lap can be very soothing to the soul.