Jan 202012

All you dogs, this post has been a long time coming. Some of us go to visits with the veterinarian and are totally cool with it.  Others of us go to the veterinarian and range from skittish to totally terrorized. Where do you fit in?

We can talk about just waiting in the waiting room or bump it up a notch to being in the examination room, or having some procedure done. I’ve seen many dogs hang out behind their parents’ legs in the animal hospital waiting rooms; I’ve tried to make friends with many of these dogs, to calm them down and offer friendship, but they’re just frozen in fear.

I’m on the cool dude side.  When I had my injuries from being hit by the car, I had to have surgery, and xrays taken, and all sorts of procedures done on  me, including having my bandages changed regularly, and my wounds cleaned.  The doctors would ask my mom, “Does he need to be knocked out?” and except for actual surgery, and dental surgery, no, I didn’t.

It helped to have somebody just petting my head and saying “Good boy, Joey” and for splint changes I would need two technicians (my mom counted as “one”) but together we made it through everything, no “puppy’s little helper” required.

But many other dogs do. They have to take anything from a “calm down” pill to having an injection.

Let’s talk about this.

Do you think there’s a difference between how small and large dogs handle this?

Dogs who have been surgically “altered” and those who have not?

I am waiting to hear from you.


Sep 262009

<- to part 1

Follow up with the veterinarian is essential.  So are regular visits, including the annual exam.  Finding a veterinarian who provides excellent care for your dog and who values good communication with you is equally important.  You and your veterinarian can work together to provide excellent health care: You can ask your veterinarian all your questions, tell her or him your concerns and observations, and work out solutions to problems or medical conditions together. After all, you know your dog – you observe him every day – better than anyone.

This morning, my mom puts the lead on me. This is good.  We go outside and I’m standing on the sidewalk, awaiting instructions on what we’re going to do and which direction I should start heading in. Then she says  “Joey, go to the car”.  I do. She’s very excited that I’ve learned this new word, car, and says nice things to me. She also says the words car Go to the car car Go to the car a zillion times. I heard her the first time, but she persists in saying this word car.

When my mom and I arrive at the animal hospital and she is putting the car in a parking space, I’m already excited.  The door to the back seat, where I am, opens and I get excitedly out of the car and I know just where to go.  I walk excitedly up the side of the building to the door of the animal hospital. Each step brings me closer and closer to bliss.  The door opens and – I’m inside!  JOEY!!!! I hear my name ring out from the medical technician and this is even better. This is the place where I was first taken when I was hit by the car.  Except that now I’m all better! This is the place where I have many friends.

Soon, I meet a technician I’ve never met before. He is really kind, I can tell right away! He talks to my mom a lot and I’m hearing the words he and Joey a lot.  I’m used to this.  I have to stand on that thing, the scale, and everybody is happy that my weight is just about back to where it was before I was hit by the car.  Then we go back to the little room and talk more. I am at the center of all this activity.

Soon my beloved Dr. Tamara comes into the room. She talks to my mom, then examines me a little, and then talks to my mom. While she’s talking to my mom, I’m paying attention to Aaron, who is really kind to dogs and to me. While Aaron and I are sitting in a corner, my mom is telling my doctor about how often I pee and mark, and about my daily habits.

Then I stand up and Aaron holds me gently around my chest while Dr. Tamara examines me some more, but I can’t see her. She’s examining me from my rear end. This is a strange examination and my mom comes over to me  and stands really close to me and looks into the depths of my eyes to a place beyond human language and speaks into my eyes and says “Good boy.  Good boy.” That’s very nice and very calming the words and the way her voice kind of sings. But this examination is very unusual.

The doctor says things to my mom that I don’t understand.  I’m not sure I want to understand.  I’m not moving – one inch – from this position.

Then that’s over.

Dr. Tamara and Aaron have me lie down on the floor. Jane comes over to where my head and face are and says nice things to me. Again, I’m at the center of all this activity but I have no idea what it’s all about. Soon, Dr. Tamara is pulling back the prepuce, the skin over my penis, and she is examining my penis. She is looking at where my penis was lacerated during the car accident. She is talking to my mom. I’m quiet. I’m a good patient.  This doesn’t hurt but it is odd.  My doctor examines me and says “I’m not worried…I’m not worried” and then nobody seems worried.

Then it’s all over. Everybody acts happy and I get treats. I’m not worried, either.

I understand happy. But my mom is very happy.

I never understood the fuss in the first place.

Everybody agrees that the urine in my blood that had the other doctor so worried about 2 months earlier when I was being boarded was just from my damaged penis.   And my prostate gland, while enlarged, is not abnormally enlarged for a male dog who is whole, like me. And I pee and mark like a normal dog and poop without any strain.  All of which make my parents, who seem to observe and note every little thing I do, very happy.

So, in the end, after a lot of examining and a lot of talking, my doctor writes “healthy” in my chart.

Healthy – and happy.

A healthy and happy ten-year-old unaltered male dog who has survived being hit by a car and is loving life, more than ever.


Jun 252009

How do dogs communicate with each other?  Some dogs make friends quickly and others not so quickly.

Today we took another trip to the animal hospital for another bandage change.

I met more and more dogs and one of them even let me lick him!  This dog I liked a lot. Her name is Fay. When Fay’s mommy was holding her in her lap, Fay let me lick her face.  She was really happy about this and we got along really well.  Then later Fay’s mommy put Fay down on the ground. I went to play with Fay and lick her face but suddenly she seemed afraid of me and hid behind her mommy’s legs.  Maybe because when she was on her mommy’s lap and higher up she liked me to play with her but when she was down on the ground and could see that I was many times bigger than her, she got nervous. So Fay’s mommy and my mom decided that I should leave Fay alone so that Fay could feel happy and comfortable.  It’s too bad that I couldn’t just say to Fay that no matter how tall or small she is, I would like to be friends with her and I hope she could be friends with me.  But dogs don’t communicate that way.  But if we could, that’s what I would tell her.

There were other dogs in the hospital, too.

There were two dogs named Lowell and Lana who went together with their dad.  Lowell was the younger dog and was very excited to be in the hospital but Lana, the older dog, was very nervous.   Their dad held Lana in his arms and you could see Lana was shaking and their dad held Lana so that she felt comfortable and protected. It’s too bad that I couldn’t just say to Lana that I’ve been in the hospital many times and that everything was going to be alright and that the doctors in the hospital really care about their patients. Dogs don’t have that kind of communication but if we could, that’s what I would say.

Tern, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Tern, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

I also met a dog named Tern. Tern is a Cavalier Spaniel and these dogs are very friendly to humans and to other dogs. Tern and I became friends there at the animal hospital and he even let my mom take a photo of him.

May 072009

What can we expect after our dog has surgery? How should we treat him after we bring him home following surgery?

Is there anything we need to do to our home to protect our dog?


One of my new friends was Evan. Even has a mixed Labrador Retriever puppy. He said that he hopes his Lab will grow up to be as strong and healthy as me. Wow, that’s quite a compliment!

When I was leaving, I saw a lot of people who made me happy, and I let them know that by wagging my tail. I think that people really like it when dogs are friendly to them.  When I go to this hospital, people who pass by me, or who I pass by, say “Good boy” and “He’s a beautiful dog” and “He’s so friendly.”  I don’t understand “boy” or “beautiful” or “friendly” but I do know that people are saying the nicest things!

Outside of the hospital, I jumped into the back seat of my parents’ car, they jumped into the front seats, and we drove off.  Suddenly I started to feel really tired.  My dad opened the back window so I could get some fresh air. That was nice. But still, I felt very slow, very low on energy.   At some point the car stopped and Jane got out of her seat and ran around the car to the back and got into the back seat with me, and petted my head, and kept saying, very softly, “Good boy. Good boy, Joey.”  She said, “We’re going home!” I felt so knocked out and barely heard the word “home” but I do know that I was with my parents, and that was just fine with me. Mom scratched me under my ears, and in between my eyes,  some of my favorite places. It was so pleasant that I kept dozing off.

Maybe my being so groggy was a good thing. When we got home, Mom walked me into the house with the lead on, and then she took the lead off of me. Freedom rang and I was able to walk around the dining room and the living room and the kitchen on my own.  I was able to drink my water right in the kitchen, in its old place.  Life had the ring of familiarity to it.

But many things about our home, and about my life, had changed.

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