What do you do when you walk by a dog or a puppy, whose guardian is doing something wrong but is not aware of it?
When I go for walks with Skai and happen to be in a dog park, I can’t help myself but stop when I see certain situations occurring.
In the course of my veterinary practice, I have heard one sentence more than any other from people who have sick dogs: “I wish I knew better because I could prevent my dog from getting sick.” This is a very sad truth because a large majority of diseases could be prevented if only people knew a few tips. That is the main reason I find it almost impossible not to stop when I see a dog I can help even though others tell me that “I have to stop working sometimes."
When I stop, I usually do not tell people that I am a vet and that helping people creating longer lives for their dogs is my work, my passion, and my hobby. Who wants to be “lectured by a vet!?”
The other day, I was in a park. Skai and I were done playing heading back to the car when I saw a sweet Australian Sheepdog puppy on a retractable leash. I knew that this dog was loved, but her guardian was not fully aware that with every pull on the leash spring, with every push on the “break button” on the handle, this dog’s neck was getting injured, which could carry life long consequences (for more info read here).
I stopped, learned that the puppy was nine weeks old, and gently asked if the guardian liked the retractable leash. She said she was already thinking about it not being good for her dog, and I showed her the shock absorbing leash that I use for Skai and love very much.
Then, she asked me how old Skai was, and similar to most people, was surprised that Skai was 14 years. (A proud dad moment :-)
“He gets chiropractic adjustments and massages on a regular basis and eats raw food and natural supplements.” I said, "would you like me to send you some info on puppy care and how to keep you puppy healthy? I know of some articles!” I suggested.
“That would be great!” she replied and offered me her email address.
“What is your puppy’s name?,” I asked. “Skye,” she replied
“Oh, my dog’s name is Skai!”
We laughed and said goodbye, and I thought how much better it felt to stop instead of just walking by. How can anyone call it work?!
PS: If you walk by a dog or a puppy and know that you can make a difference in his or her life, strike up a gentle, friendly conversation, it feels much better than walking by and missing out on a chance to make a dog’s life better.
Bellow is a list of articles for a new dog or for new puppy guardians. Feel free to share the links! Thank you for making a difference, one dog at a time.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM