Quick shout-out and praise for the nice folks and Vet at the Mendocino County Care-A-Van. Their Vet really impressed me today and I'll tell you why.
My little doggie, mascot, muse and love of my life, Leo is a rescue. He was found originally wandering down the middle of a road in Madera, CA dragging a 20' metal cable down the street, that was wrapped around his throat.
I adopted him from the Marin Humane Society and had to go through an extensive interview because, even though he was only 10 months old at the time, a lot of bad had happened to him. He was food possessive, had separation anxiety, wasn't trained or housebroken, etc. I worked with him... we went to Basic Obedience at San Lorenzo Dog Training Club and he made great strides in socialization, etc.
With one big problem remaining. EVERY VET I tried taking Leo to over the years, has tried the exact same approaches with the same result... a VERY snappy, snarling and scared out of his mind Leo and a stressed out mom, (me) trying to do the right thing and a Vet that wasn't equipped to handle the situation. I tried talking to the Vets, taking Leo in for visits to just say Hi, be petted, get a treat and leave... to build positive memories... but the Vets either wouldn't listen, were unwilling or wanted to charge me for an office visit and exam just to stop by and say hi. Have you ever had a reactive dog? It's really hard! The minute you even take them into the Doctor's office, they turn into another dog! So filled with fear and it broke my heart every time. And quite honestly, Leo's not been seen by a Vet as often as he should because of this reactive challenge.
But today, the Vet with the Mendocino County Care-A-Van was a true gem. She listened to me when I said that we'd probably have a better result if we didn't try taking him inside the van but did it outdoors.. she listened to me when I told her briefly about his reactive history... she reached for him and he growled.. so.. like all the other Vets over the years, she attempted to muzzle him, and that didn't go over so well either. This time he snarled and snapped! I know he's fearful... but I didn't want to reassure him at that moment because it would have reinforced his naughty, fear-based aggression. So, I took it from her and said I'd put it on him.
But, here's where the story changes, The Vet immediately came up with an alternate plan! She said, "We're gonna Taco him!" and went and got a big fluffy towel, explaining that we put the towel over his head and wrap it around him like he's inside a little taco, and then put his towel wrapped self, in between my body and my arm, holding him firmly with my right arm and petting him with my left. She quickly administered the Rabies booster and with a little yelp, it was all over! I exclaimed, "GOOD BOY!" as I rolled him out of his taco toweling and he scampered around happily and let the Vet pet him! BEST EXPERIENCE WITH A VET EVER! I was so happy, I hugged her, twice!
I recognized what she was doing, because I used to do it with the seals and sea lions when I was volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center . It's a widely used practice among zoo practitioners, etc... when you cover their eyes and head, it immediately calms an animal down.
She listened to me. She observed Leo. She immediately came up with an alternate plan of action that worked very well. I'm so impressed with the caliber of service that we received. I can't recommend and thank the Mendocino County Care-A-Van staff highly enough!
My Kittehs Henri Meowtisse & Enya and my Doggies Leonardo da Doggio and Brigitte Barkdot all got their rabies boosters! (Degas kitteh escaped the round-up... lol... ah well, 4 outta 5 ain't bad... and I'll get him next time they come back to town.)
I'm so happy, it's time to celebrate our success and this sunny day after the storms with a nice walk on the beach!
Come on kids, let's go!