Sunday, October 6, 2013

Alfred. Afraid

We all react to  stressful situations differently.

Some of us cower, close our eyes, and wait for the storm to pass.

Others plant our feet firmly in the ground, raise our fists, furrow our brow, puff out our chest and posture for a fight.

Some of us elect to jump in fists flying with little word of warning.

This is Alfred. He is a timid shy boy with a checkered past. He has learned that his world is upredictable and therefore it is safest for him to try to be very very small, quiet, and not make any waves.

His mom passed away a few years ago so he was shuffled into his relatives home. It was scary for him to have to go to a new place where he didn't know anyone. They also didn't know much about him.

Everyone has had to compromise. Many of us do not easily adapt to new places, and many of us like our world to stay as static and steady as possible. Little dogs with big attitudes, and bad experiences are challenges for veterinarians, groomers, and their family.

Alfred is a terror to be groomed.

He may appear quiet and reserved, but that is just to buy him a bit of time to internally ponder and calculate the distance, rate of strike, and target for optimal damage, and to do so with expert accuracy.

Every exceptional veterinarian and technician learns that compromise is the best way to deal with a fearful patient.

Here is the trick with Alfred. (It also works with my husband).

Let Alfred feel like his in in charge and he will submit to anything you ask of him.

He doesn't want to be groomed! Fine, Just hold his head so he cannot see the clippers. He thinks that if he cannot see the clippers then he is not being clipped. Works for us and it works for him.

Smile at him, tell him he is alright..he will believe you.

If you believe it, he believes it.

Sometimes less is more. Less stress, less restraint, gets you more cooperation, more willingness, and next time..well, next time we might not need to spend 20 minutes trying to convince you that we are not going to hurt you.

Trust. It is earned. It is imperative when you are a care taker.

If your pet is fearful, aggressive, difficult, or has any behavioral issues find an exceptional veterinarian or exceptional behaviorist and get help. 

Help for fear is love and patience. NOT choke collars, yelling, hitting and aggression.

Life, you get out what you put into it. Such a simple lesson. 

Alfred we know that life has thrown you some curve balls, but we are here to help you weather every storm, safely, and with a gentle loving hand.

Many Thanks to Kate and Kaitlyn for helping Alfred be less afraid.

As always, always be kind.

If you have any pet questions you can find me at, on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, and @Pawbly.

And today, as with everyday, God Bless The Animals.


  1. Hi Y'all!

    What a lucky fella to have a great group like y'all to look after his grooming and health care.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. Thanks Hawkeye!

    We know that you are a lucky fella too! Lots of long walks, places to explore, and the ever present watchful eyes of the many of us who get to share your adventures!