Saturday, September 24, 2011

Daisy the Bassett

One of my favorite aspects of my job is to meet a client with their new pet. Especially if that new pet is a puppy or kitten. In many ways veterinary medicine mirrors human medicine with the exception of the degree of specialization that is very common place on the human side. In the last few decades we have seen an eruption of specialty veterinary practices but for many clients they are too expensive or too far away to be utilized. This dictates that the private general veterinary practitioner needs to stay adept at all facets of pet care. Much too many a Vets chagrin we can’t specialize in pediatrics. What could be better than having every appointment be a puppy or kitten? Really, nothing could be better. Every time you open the door and enter a room a bounding mound of fluff and furr waddles over to you with the smiley, waggy optimism of youth. That smell of puppy breathe and that rhythmic comforting purr at every visit. Well, the daydream fades and the reality that everything grows up remains (long sad reflective sigh of disappointment).
So when a new baby bounds into the clinic we smother them with kisses and enthusiasm. We know the joy of entering our building is short lived and the bliss of youth is fleeting. Hard as we try to make coming to the Vet a good experience we all know that in time most of our patients will fear and resent us. Most clients apologize for the fear and hiding and nasty faces that our patients give us, but I always reply, “I understand, and I don’t take it personally. Nobody wants to go to the doctor.”
We each have our own personal favorites, the favorite breed, color, size, sex, even personality. Pets come in every size, shape, color, energy level, and personality. And like everything else in life those personal preferences evolve over time. I used to be a full blown Border Collie junkie. I also love NYC. Both for the same reasons. I like a fast pace and sense of being consumed by a job and a lifestyle, the constant go-go-go action. And I can be a little obsessive-compulsive. It just seemed like the perfect combination for me, work, work work, or herd, herd, herd…run run run, bark bark bark…need a job, need a sheep, gotta go..can’t be late, can’t miss a moment. Then after the sun goes down and all of the rest of the action goes to sleep you sleep. If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you New York, Neeeew York!” Well that was my fun filled take no prisoners twenties.
I’m not in my twenties anymore and my favorite dog breed has changed. I get older and my dogs get smaller. I used to be a 60 pound dog girl. Now I am a 25 pound dog girl. I want to be able to pick them up, carry them down the stairs, and load them into the car with ease. When they get sick and need constant care I want to be able to take them up to my bedroom so i can watch them all night long, put them in a cage if they need to be kept quiet, be able to provide the care that I am trained for. I want portability. Instead of small erect ears I have been wooed by the big and floppy. I like short legs and long ears.
In walked Daisy. In case you haven’t had the priviledge of having seen just about every breed of puppy  then let me assure you that the cutest thing in the world is a Bassett Hound puppy. (a close second is a pug, but I like the ears). Daisy was 8 weeks old when I met her. Her parents were in their early twenties. They were almost as cute as she was. They coddled her, and spoiled her, and she worked them hard. They were college students, I am guessing in some sort of Ag school? The jeans, cowboy boots, baseball (not the professional team kind of hat, but the John Deere green kind of hat), big belt, bigger belt buckle, and the worn cotton plaid-ish tight fitting buttoned down collared shirt. They loved her more than just the "another farm dog" kind of love. She was their idea of "getting an apartment together" kind of relationship next step thing to do.

At 8 weeks she would trip over her ears everytime she came barreling over on her way to come greet you. It was hilarious to see her trip and stumble everytime. I do not think that there are nerve endings on those floor length velvety drapes. I know they bleed when they are injured, but there doesn't seem to be any feeling when you trip over them, drag them through the gravel and mud, freeze them to the ground, lay on them and cut off the circulation, or tie them ontop of the head for a little respite on the abuse.
I got to see her every 3 weeks from the time she was 8 weeks old to 4 months old. The ears stayed long and she still trips over them, but her enthusiasm for us has diminished. It is hard to convince her that I am still worthy of a kiss.
Maybe by next year she will have forgiven me for the plethora of vaccines I administered? And maybe by then I can get another kiss?

Daisy at Halloween, 2010, at 3.5 months old
"The Constable"

If you would like to learn more about Bassett Hounds please follow the link below;

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