Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Not our finest hour.

Today was the day for Blue's booster, which means a trip to our local vets.

This didn't go well, to say the least. The main thing that suffered was pride and dignity, first off, is what happened, then I will say why we think it happened, finally what we are going to do, to put right any wrongs.

Arrived home from work, collected Blue and my wife Sue, and set off on the short journey into the London Road vets in Reading town centre.

Parking in the car park, Blue was taken out of the back of the car, and his muzzle was fitted. As we crossed the car park he was pulling like a train, as if eager to enter, but reality is something I will explain in due course. We entered the waiting area, where we always check Blues weight.

51 kilos (112 pounds) the biggest he has ever weighed in at, far too much for a six year old German Shepherd, let alone one that has undergone spinal surgery as a pup.

So as we waited Blue was unsettled, nudging and barging into both Sue and I, as we waited our turn in the empty waiting room.

The door opened and we were summoned in by the vet, Sue first and then Blue literally dragging me through the door. With the vet keeping her distance, talking was difficult, Blue was very vocal and boisterous, this is not unusual for him, but there was a determination and menace in his actions. The vet began explaining that she would like to listen to his heart, but was concerned about his temperament and stress levels. Generally by now he settles down sufficiently to be manipulated into a corner or against a wall to allow the vet to do the deed as they say, but not today, Blue was having none of it.

At this point i took him out of the consultation room into the waiting room, where sat a gentleman and his elderly dog, it was then i knew Blue needed to be taken outside to calm him down.

As we strolled around the car park he did calm down, Sue looked out to see how he was, so I beckoned her out, to say this is not a good idea.

She came out, and told me that the vet was ok, but she had just been told by the fellow with the other dog, "it's bad owners, not bad dog's; it should have been nipped in the bud when he was a youngster" This had made my mind up, an anxious dog and now an angry owner, would not be suitably minded to return into the vets. I said to Sue, Blue would not be going back in, not today.

Blue was put into the car, and Sue had returned after informing the vet we would re-schedule Blue's booster appointment.

Sue also had told the man with his dog who had made the comment about bad owners, "He did not know Blue or us and should keep his opinion to himself".

That is what happened, why is more difficult to explain, when you don't know, but here goes.

Blue has had some hard times at vets over the years, and this seemed one visit that was ill fated before it began. We have always had to cajole, and man handle Blue upon each and every visit when he has needed treatment or assessments. Sue has over a period of time done the familiarisation, where Blue is almost treated like a celebrity visiting, popping in to say hello. Those work out fine.

Blue is a very strong willed German Shepherd, who loves to be top dog. Most of the time it has been dealt with, but just lately it has been creeping back in under the radar. Only little things, but when you look for reasons, you can find a fit somewhere.

The road to peace and tranquility;

Like a marathon, it will be one step at a time, looking to achieve three specific goals, which will lead to a more sociable Blue

  • Loose some of the weight, cutting out the already sparse treats
  • Avoid opportunities for Blue to assert dominance, namely by distraction
  • Improve his doggie and human social skills
Three steps easy to write, three steps needed to enable Blue to live a longer and happier life.

I know Sue is not a bad owner, I feel that I too am not a bad owner, but neither of us are ostriches, burying our heads in the sand.

Blue is a terrific dog, who has had a difficult start in life, and through no fault of his own missed out the key socialising skills that a pup goes through because of his spinal surgery at six months of age.

Today "team us" have taken that first step forward, Blue enjoyed playing ball in the park, on his long training lead, a good run, puffing a bit, but enjoying every minute.

Finally to the man in the vets, don't judge what you don't know, instead offer some supporting or constructive advice.

Timing, like training your dog is key.

Blue resting after a hectic day.