From “At home with the dogs of kona’s touch” series celebrating
APDT’s Train Your Dog Month and winner, best social media campaign
If I had known Little Star, my 10-year-old Lab x, would have surgery this month, I would have considered not doing “at home with the dogs of kona’s touch.” This personal up front view is harder than I thought it would be in public, when I go from dog trainer to dog mom. The mom part includes all the fear and anxiety that comes along with worrying about your pup while she has surgery. The dog trainer would be reminding you to breathe.
Yesterday Little Star had dental work and eyelid surgery. When we went in we weren’t sure whether she had a fractured tooth or any other issues in her mouth. Last time Star had dental work they found severe periodontal disease. That day they removed several teeth, one disintegrating as the doctor touched it. So I was nervous about yesterday, I didn’t want Star to go through old age with no teeth. It’s always concerning for anyone to go under anesthesia, let alone an older anyone. It’s also very hard to drop her off and not be able to explain what’s going to happen to her. That’s my hardest part.
I’m glad however that this came up in my series of blogs because there are many opportunities to blog about training that I hope are helpful.
When dropping Star off we made sure we did our best to advocate for her best care. The vet tech was wonderful and gave us the time that we needed to explain Star. We told her about Star not loving to be close to other dogs while she’s on lead. We explained that she understood many words and as long as she was coherent she could help with her own care. We showed our interest in being with Star post surgery and that we were willing and able to be with her while she recovers. We have had many vets through the years who have let us bring a bed and sit in an unused room as our dog comes out of anesthesia. If this is something you are skilled at and they have the space ask your vet if it can happen. It will help your dog’s stress level and if it doesn’t compromise their safety, it’s a win-win. However, sometimes guardians get too nervous or upset, or don’t have the knowledge and it’s better to leave your dog solely in the hands of the pros. Either way, whichever is best for your dog, it’s good to have a vet who’s flexible.
When we left her we were calm with her, we told her she was okay in a very calm voice and we told her we’d be back. It’s the same thing we tell her every time we leave her. It’s important to be comfortable and friendly with the person who’s going to walk your dog away from you. It will help with the anxiety your dog may be feeling. We sat with Star in the room for almost an hour. Star walked willingly with the vet tech and I believe felt as comfortable as she could with a stranger. There was another dog being treated where Star was going so they waited until it was clear to take Star. I’m sure that five minutes we waited took a load of stress off Star. It’s always great to be heard and understood. She started the day calmer, and with as low a level of stress as we could provide for a day that would be hard on all of us.
The result was as good as we could imagine. She had an infection in her tooth that caused swelling and pain and needed to be cleaned out. No fracture, no more teeth caving in and she kept all her teeth. They did a deep cleaning and removed the cyst from her eye lid.
Yesterday this dog trainer planned to blog about the experience while it was happening. Instead this dog mom took care of her other canines, paced, waited for the phone to ring and tried to breathe as normally as possible. Now that Star is home safe this dog trainer can blog.