Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How Much Information Does Your Vet Need to Give a Rescue?

As you may have guessed we spent a considerable amount of time with our Vet over the last few months. We'd also consulted with her regarding our quest for our next rescue and was surprised to discover that some Vets are becoming increasingly concerned with the amount of information rescues are requesting from Vets about their patients and their owners. For our Vet it is starting to cross the privacy lines. Based on her comments I also think that it is also starting to take valuable time away from the patients that need her.

When I've filled out forms in the past that request my Vet information for rescue adoption, my feeling was that rescues wanted confirmation that my dogs were receiving regular checkups, medications, and adequate care. However, during our last rescue attempt I felt there was far more pressure to conform to personal beliefs about care, not just suggestions. The person pushing those beliefs was not a Vet, but felt very strongly that her beliefs were equal to those of my Vet's and I had a problem with that because I do think medical training counts for something. My conversation with the Vet confirmed she too is experiencing this and it is not siting well.

I don't think she or any other Vet objects to providing confirmation that a rescue dog will be going into a home that provides regular vet care. From a humane and let's be honest business perspective this is just common sense. Vet's care about dogs and don't want them neglected. It's hard to keep a Vet practice running if people aren't seeking regular Vet care for their pets.

The problem seems to be the level of information rescues want and how they seek this information. It isn't enough to know that the dogs are receiving care, but what choices are the owners making and do those conform to the philosophy of care the shelter promotes. That is a very ugly place to put a Vet.

We all have choices to make about our dogs' health. Many of us make different choices. As long as those choices don't constitute abuse or neglect those decisions should be ours to make. Just because we chose to rescue a dog instead of using a breeder shouldn't mean we lose our freedom to make medical decisions for the dogs we adopt.

There are a range of controversies regarding dog health today. It is difficult for pet parents to negotiate through those waters and I rely on my Vet to help me work through the constantly changing research, opinions, and fads to chart a course for our dogs. The fact Bailey made it 13 years I think is a sign she's steered us well. I don't want to be second guessed and judged by people reviewing an application who have different views on dog health than I do. I wouldn't tell them not to pursue their path with their animals. I'm merely asking for the same respect regarding my animals. Since I can provide proof my animals are receiving regular medical care, medications, and all Vet, State, and local requested treatments I don't feel the fact we have different treatment philosophies should matter.

The second issue is the way the information is requested. I have a great deal of respect for the volunteers who work with the shelter system. It is a tough unpaid job. Those who have the additional task of reviewing applications, checking references, and Vet calls have additional burdens. However, the Vet checks put an undue burden on the Vets that could be simplified with a little thought.

Most of us have had the experience of a sick dog and had to make a call to the Vet to get help. Our Vet is a single practitioner so for her to answer calls it interrupts the patients she is seeing during the day. She willingly does what she can for emergencies and calls back those who can wait. However, shelter volunteers are also placing calls to Vets during office hours and they often want a response then. It's understandable, they are volunteers and have limited time to give to the cause. The animals are waiting for placement. However, what if there was another way?

How about having a basic checklist of important information that a Vet needs to verify that can be downloaded from your website or given to potential adopters that their Vet fills out and either emails, faxes, or mails back to the shelter? If there are any specific concerns raised from the form, the shelter than would reduce the number of calls needing to be made. This actually reduces the time the volunteers have to make calls and the time Vets are pulled from the work they need to do. Most of the relevant information is in the current animals charts and could be tasked to a clerk just requiring the Vet to sign and add any additional info that might not be in the chart. This is a win/win for all parties concerned.

However, BASIC is the key. The questions should be based on animals receiving adequate care, not on personal preferences. Preventing animals from going into an abusive or neglectful home is essential. A shelter volunteers personal dislike of a medicine or preventative shouldn't be a matter of discussion when it comes to finding a qualified home for a homeless dog. Additionally, valid medical choices people make that differ from those a volunteer might make for their own dog shouldn't disqualify someone from adopting.

It is time we make choices based on the best interests of dogs, not personal philosophies of how dogs should be raised, fed, or medically treated. There are far too many homeless dogs to be rejecting people because they make valid decisions that differ from those who have the power to choose homes for those dogs. The focus needs to be on screening for applicants who have a history of abuse, neglect, or demonstrate an inability to care for an animal. We may not always agree on specifics, but as long as we aren't drifting into abuse or neglect we need to be a bit more open minded.

I am some what eclectic when it comes to my dog family. Medically in most ways we are probably more traditional when it comes to medical care. However, both dogs experienced chiro and recently massage as ways of improving their health. That comes from listening and deciding what we feel is in the best interests of our dogs. We try to find the path that will provide them with a high quality of life for as long as possible.

I can respect those feel their dogs need a different path to have that same quality of life option. While I don't always agree with the choices, I've found it interesting to read about the paths others take medically and when you are open to listening you can learn. I think that attitude is even more important in rescue. Rescues may not have the same philosophy as those who apply to rescue, however it is important to be open minded and listen. Not everyone who is different is dangerous. The right person may make different choices, but those may be the right choices for that dog.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Remembering Bailey


This was Bailey's placement picture and one of the few puppy pictures I have left as we lost a bunch of our pictures in a computer crash when our backup got corrupted.



His favorite bed he won all by himself


Helping a friend do work in the backyard


Hanging with Katy


His Couch


Enjoying the snow


Bailey participating in the Olympics


Bailey hanging out watching sports


I want to thank all of our Blogville friends for their support. Your messages have meant more than you can image. Having Bailey in our lives was a special gift. We keep hearing from friends and family each who have a special connection with him. They all have a special Bailey memory to share.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Flowers: Lavender Iris


Mom couldn't believe how beautiful the Iris were this year. She hasn't seen this particular Iris bloom in a bit and had to capture it to remember it.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday Katy!


Happy Birthday dear girl. It is hard to believe you are 8 today. You run like the wind and have the energy of a young pup. You have been so strong and caring during all of Bailey's challenges. It is time for you to relax and enjoy yourself. You have more than earned it.

We went shopping for her birthday and she got to sniff out some new bully sticks along with a new toy. While nervous making her first solo shopping trip she found if she took the back aisles to the target areas she was less nervous than pursuing the main shopping aisles where most of the shoppers gathered.

Dog Dad has promised we will still celebrate with a dog bakery birthday cookie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bailey Has Crossed the Rainbow Bridge


Yesterday morning our Vet very compassionately and caringly helped Bailey to cross the bridge.

It became clear over the weekend that the baby food strategy wasn't working. When we tried to add solid food back in, his stomach rejected it and he soon no longer could eat the baby food, either. He fought hard, but his Vet believes the Lymphoma diagnosis may in fact have been the correct one. Bailey just managed to hold off the symptoms longer than expected. Perhaps an early start on steroids may have regressed it's growth for a bit. What ever the delay we can only be grateful that instead of losing him before Halloween, we had him until yesterday. We were grateful for every extra moment.

Our Vet isn't open on Mondays and I must say selfishly it was a relief. Katy, Bailey and I spent the day together. As you can see in the picture we brought his bed downstairs and he spent much of the day resting in it. This in itself was a sign things were not right. Bailey hated changes in the environment. I once tried moving his bed downstairs when he was sick and he got all agitated and upset. Monday I knew it was the right move. The bed provided maximum head, back, and behind support and he was comfortable lounging in it.

We also spent some time in the back yard. Bailey had a short burst of energy scrambling along the fence to say goodbye to an old friend.

Katy was until the end an amazing companion. She stayed close to him comforting him and encouraging him. The vet said she understood more than we did what was happening and I must say I agree. When Bailey had to stay overnight for testing, Katy was inconsolable until Bailey arrived safely home the next day, at which point she sniffed him from head to tail. I dreaded her reaction to us coming home without Bailey this time. However, she seems to know he's gone. She didn't look for him at the door when we came in. When she counted Bill and I, she turned back from the door and settled down. She didn't look for Bailey, which she's always done when we've had to take him without her. The Vet was right again.

I have to thank our incredible Vet for her assistance during this journey. Since we started seeing her when we brought Bailey home as a puppy from rescue there have never been any stupid or silly questions, she has addressed each one with practical honest answers. As we approached this difficult time she encouraged, supported, and cheered each victory with us. She offered so much help and guidance in finding ways to keep Bailey eating. When it came time to say goodbye, nobody could have handled it with more compassion and made us feel like family.

It is amazing how many lives Bailey touched in his 13 years. People keep reminding us of their favorite Bailey story. He had a unique ability to reach out to humans and dogs alike finding ways to comfort and entertain. Run free over the bridge my brave one. You have more than done your duty here on earth. You will always be our baby boy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Flowers


While the Iris have a short bloom season, especially with the rain we've had this season, I've loved collecting different colors that now have spread across my yard and those of friends and family, too. My collection started with family and I added to it with flowers from local garden clubs' sales and green houses.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Not Today Mom


Yesterday, I was sure Bailey was ready to make the trip to the bridge today. All the signs were there and the Vet was sure we'd be back to visit today. However, she gave us one more option a shot to make up for the meds he'd refused to take orally and a suggestion for meat baby food. Not having much hope DH picked up a couple of jars of baby food knowing the store collects baby food for the local food pantry and if he didn't eat it, we could donate the unopened jars.

Well Bailey's not ready to leave just yet. I'm not sure how much longer he wants to stay, but he gobbled down two jars of baby food yesterday and two today including one with his oral medications which he's refused to take since last week. When he doesn't take his meds he can't keep food down and eventually stops eating all together, which is what happened over the weekend. This is the sign we've been told to watch for as a sign he's done fighting. When he stops eating and we can't get him started again, it is time to let him go. We thought we had reached that point yesterday. DH had to return to the store for more baby food jars. Honestly, I have no idea how that smell appeals to his stomach as it makes mine turn, but as long as he's eating I can deal.

He also was sniffing in the garden today where Katy's been flushing out the bunnies. He hasn't shown any interest in critters for weeks. His back legs are very weak and since that trip out he's been resting quite a bit.

This may just be that last burst of energy some dogs show at the end. I don't know. I can't think beyond the fact that today we are not visting the Vet to say goodbye to Bailey. Tomorrow and the next day I can't predict. We are cherishing the time we have. The Vet said he'd tell us when it was time to say goodbye. Today's message seems to be not today, Mom. I'm not ready to leave just yet.

Thank you all for your prayers. We are continuing to take this one day at a time. He will let us know when he's ready. We just have to follow his leads. We ask for your continued prayers.