Thursday, June 21, 2012

One Nation Under Dog documentary

There has been so much hype in the rescue and dog world about this documentary on HBO, I knew I would watch...but I knew I had to prepare myself...whatever that means. 
My friend, my mentor, and the founder of GSROC sent out an email that it was an important watch, so I prepared faster.  (whatever that means)  

A few days later, I still hadn't watched it, and she said this-

Knowing that it would be painful, I forced myself to watch the entire HBO documentary, "In Dog We Trust."  I strongly recommend that anyone in the rescue community do the same.  Yes, I sobbed out loud during parts of it, but it strengthened my resolve to do more for the dogs that are waiting--alone and afraid in shelters all over the country.  If everyone can give just 10% more of themselves or of their resources, surely we can help put an end to the tragic fates that so many beautiful dogs suffer every year.  I would love to see this subject turned into a weekly show to open more eyes and, hopefully, more hearts.  As the saying goes, "The sadness I feel looking into the cages can't possibly compare to the sadness of those looking out."  Watch the show, even though it's a tough subject to handle.
                                                                                    -Maria Dales

I watched it.    It was as horrible as it had to be, and I loved it.   I watched it two days ago.   I thought I had recovered enough to write this, but I am already crying again.    While I was watching it, my husband who is completely used to me crying over animals and who is completely comfortable ignoring me while I do so,  actually stopped the show and asked me "Are you ok?".     So, yes... I was sobbing...but I was also so strangely RELIEVED that it was out there for everyone to see, on HBO.   See!   This is what I have been trying to tell you!   I know you don't want to talk about it at your kids birthday party, or at the beach, or at the grocery store, but I can't help but talk about it because I have seen it, and now you have.   And now you know it is too horrible to make it go away by turning away and you KNOW it is too important to not do anything.  
We can fix this.   If you haven't watched it, watch it, cry and then help.  
I will watch it again, and I will keep talking about it. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Until the end my friend, and then some.

Tonight, one of our dedicated volunteers is sitting in an Emergency Vet hospital room, with his beloved foster baby in his lap while she crosses over to the Rainbow Bridge.   I am sure there are a million places he would rather be, but there he sits... holding this girl so the last thing she knows is a kind face, open heart, and love.   This particular man has made sure that this dog has known love since she came to the rescue.   We haven't known her for long, but it got me thinking...every dog should pass over in the arms of those they have loved, and for lack of a better word... served.  
I have known so many people who have said that when the time came for their dogs to be released and put out of pain, that they loved the dog too much to be with them in their final moments.  In a desperate attempt to not be judgmental all I will say is ... ummm, what?   
I was talking to a lady the other day who had owned, loved and known her dog longer than she had known her husband and obviously, her kids.   Her sweet little old lady was 14 years old and could no longer stand on her own.  This woman sent her old gal off in the car with her husband to go to the vets to be put down.   It was too hard for her, after 14 years, to be with her baby and hold her tears, smile at her and hold her while she crossed over.   I wanted to ask her what she would do if her child was sick and in the hospital.   Send flowers?   
So, when the time comes that one of your furry family members must move on, please take the decision to be there with them as seriously as you take the decision to let them go.   Think about who you would want around if it was your time...I bet you would want your dog there.  

RIP FANCY.  You were important.   You are loved.   You will not be forgotten. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Picking a good vet

A veterinarian is your pet's second-best friend.   However, picking a good vet can be hard, and it is important to remember that you need to honestly reevaluate the relationship and the service often.  

When selecting a veterinarian, you're doing more than searching for a medical expert. You're looking for someone to meet your needs and those of your pet, a doctor who has people as well as animal skills. The worst time to look for a vet is when you really need one, so plan ahead and choose wisely.
Veterinarians often work with a team of professionals, including technicians and qualified support staff, so you'll likely want to evaluate the entire vet team's competence and caring. You should also consider the hospital's location and fees when making a decision. Driving a few extra miles or paying a bit more may be worth it to get the care you want for your cat.   Ask the vet what they charge for an office exam.   This is a charge you pay just for walking in, and can be very telling about a practice.   Call several vets in your area and compare office visit prices.  

How to find the right veterinarian

The best way to find a good veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, animal shelter worker, dog trainer, groomer, boarding kennel employee or pet sitter.
Look in the Yellow Pages under "Veterinarians" and "Animal Hospitals," where you can likely find important information about hours, services and staff. You can also search for veterinarians in your area online. Check for membership in the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA membership means that a veterinary hospital has voluntarily pursued and met AAHA's standards in the areas of facility, equipment and quality care.   If you call a vet's office to ask about the vet and their practice and request a call back and they don't offer that service, determine if that is the kind of access you like.   Ask if they give after hours numbers and/or an email address or if they just refer you to an ER vet for after hours issues.  
If you're looking for a specialist, ask about board certification. This means the vet has studied an additional two to four years in the specialty area and passed a rigorous exam.
Once you've narrowed your search, schedule a visit to meet the staff, tour the facility and learn about the hospital's philosophy and policies. This is a reasonable request that any veterinarian should be glad to oblige. Write down your questions ahead of time.
What to look for:
  • Is the facility clean, comfortable and well-organized?
  • Are appointments required?
  • How many veterinarians are in the practice?
  • Are there technicians or other professional staff members?
  • Are dog and cat cages in separate areas?
  • Can you tour the back and surgical areas?
  • Is the staff caring, calm, competent and courteous, and do they communicate effectively?
  • Do the veterinarians have special interests such as geriatrics or behavior?
  • Are X-rays, ultrasound, bloodwork, EKG, endoscopy and other diagnostics done in-house or referred to a specialist?
  • Which emergency services are available?
  • Is location and parking convenient?
  • Do fees fit your budget, and are discounts for senior citizens or multi-pet households available?

Be a good client

Having good client manners encourages a happy relationship with your vet.
  • See your vet regularly for preventive visits, not just when your pet becomes ill.
  • Learn what's normal for your pet, so you recognize the first signs of illness. If a pet's not well, don't wait until she's really sick before you call your vet. It's frustrating for a vet, and heartbreaking to owners, to see an animal die of an illness that could have been treated successfully if professional care had begun sooner.
  • Schedule appointments and be on time. Lateness is rude and wreaks havoc with the office's timing.
  • Don't disturb your veterinarian during non-working hours for matters that can wait, and don't expect your veterinarian to diagnose a pet's problem over the telephone
  • Even if you have an emergency, call ahead to ensure that the veterinarian's available. She will have to work your pet into the regular schedule, so be prepared to wait. If your pet can't be seen that day, you will be referred to an emergency vet hospital.

Breaking up is hard to do

If you feel that your veterinarian isn't meeting your needs as a client or the needs of your pet as a patient, it may be time to find a new one. But sometimes simple misunderstandings cause conflicts, which you and your vet can resolve by talking things out and looking for solutions.
If you can't resolve a fee or treatment dispute with your vet, you may contact the ethics and grievance committee of your local or state veterinary association and/or the American Veterinary Medical Association.
For serious issues of medical competence, you may file a formal complaint with the Veterinary Licensing Board in your state.
And finally, you can take up the matter as a civil suit with your attorney. You can avoid these experiences by carefully and thoughtfully choosing your veterinarian.