The Paws Den is getting a bit old and creaky these days. Our dogs have been healthy all their lives and barely been to the vet because of a good diet and because we've taken care of their physical and emotional health holistically.
Because they haven't needed to see the vet, they haven't experienced regular visits and so we needed to help them feel comfortable in case any of them have to have emergency treatment. We decided to treat them like puppies by habituating them to each of the surgeries, so they've all done Sniff Trails in the car park at silly o'clock in the morning when no one has been around! Then we've gradually introduced them to the car park at busier times. Lily is having regular acupuncture to help her spine and Moth is being treated for arthritis in his hip. Betty's arthritis is being managed naturally at the moment, and she's doing very well. Our biggest worry, though, was Archie. He was badly damaged before he came to us and has taken years to gain confidence with people. He's had a lovely summer getting more and more comfortable with new people coming to our home. Our training team had a small get together in the garden in August and he did really well with so many new people in his space. After a lot of careful work helping him feel settled in the car park at the Veterinary Hospital, both at their Newport and Skellingthorpe branch, we took the plunge yesterday and managed to get him into a consulting room. After doing a calming Sniff Trail in the car park he was relaxed enough to watch two dogs who went by, just looking at them and then self-calming with a good snuffle through his #HideAndSeekMat. Anneli, our very special vet, was wonderful with him. She came out to meet him outside and ignored him at first, then let him take his time sniffing her. He was eventually able to take a few treats from her and then we followed her into the building. He made it all the way into a consulting room and then thought he'd have a snuffle around the back of the reception area, watching the reception staff from a safe distance. There were people walking around and chatting, and he was comfortable enough to stand and look at them without any huffing 😊. His huffs are a good signal that he's not really coping and, although his tail was tucked throughout, there was no huffing. It's taken us 6 months to get to this stage - I started habituating him to the car parks with snuffle mats in March. We went twice a week at 7am and then he met Gosia outside at the Skellingthorpe branch a few weeks ago when it was very quiet. Gosia was lovely with him and was even able to take his heart rate and look in his ears. This time, inside at Newport, he sniffed the stethoscope, and we'll hopefully be able to give him a check over in a couple of weeks when he goes again. Ideally, I want him to be able to have some acupuncture to ease tension in his neck and shoulders. We know that could be a slow process, but yesterday's session was very promising 😊 Thank you to all the staff at the Veterinary Hospital for their devoted care and expertise with our little crew of hounds 😊 🐾