It’s been a year since COVID hit and a year since CAH has allowed clients into the building for their pets’ appointments. As with other COVID-imposed limitations on our lifestyle, we’re all sort of over it. We know many of you are all wondering when you’ll be allowed into this lovely new building of ours. Here's the scoop!
WHY HAVEN’T VETERINARY PRACTICES ALLOWED CLIENTS IN WITH THEIR PETS?
Over this past year you’ve been allowed into grocery stores, restaurants, and doctors offices. Why is the veterinarian different?
Veterinary medicine doesn’t allow for social distancing. For every pet's exam, two technicians assist a doctor in performing a physical exam, administering medications and vaccines, and performing blood draws. Allowing clients into every exam adds dozens of new exposure opportunities for our clients and our team every day, hundreds per week.
While you are permitted into your doctor appointments, these appointments are not possible without you present. While not preferable, it has been possible to deliver healthcare to pets while their owners wait outside throughout this pandemic. Few veterinarians have chosen to allow clients into their buildings during this time. As a profession, most of us determined that the risk to our clients' and team's health and safety outweighed the benefits. Additionally, if CAH needed to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak, we would not be here to care for your pets.
WHEN WILL I BE ALLOWED IN?
Veterinarians and veterinary workers in Massachusetts are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting in mid-April. We plan to give our team a chance to be fully vaccinated and then begin welcoming one client in (likely still masked) with their pet in by July, hopefully sooner. Some transactions will still be done curbside, such as picking up food or prescriptions and grooming and technician appointments.
Many of us have know you for years (decades even!) and we really miss you - it will be good to have you back. Also, we are beyond excited to FINALLY show you all our new building!
FINALLY, OUR THANKS TO YOU
It's hard to find the words to express our gratitude to you all for trusting us to bring your pets into the building without you. This year has been very hard for parents of nervous pets and very sick pets. We also know that it’s tough for our new pet parents who’ve never met us in person – we’re asking for trust we’ve had no chance to earn. Thank you all for your trust and patience over the past year and for continuing to allow us to do the job we love, caring for your pets.
Proper Paws' Judy Bernard on Training Tips for Pandemic Puppy Owners (part 3 of 3)
While the idea of returning to our pre-pandemic lives might be exciting for us humans, we must warn you that the road will be rocky for many pets. This will be particularly true for puppies who have only known a world where they are surrounded by their beloved humans. We humans have been home all the time: not going into work, not vacationing, not visiting friends & family, and not going out to dinner. As we receive our vaccines and begin to venture out, our puppies might have a problem. Fortunately, Judy has thoughts on how we can prep our puppies and dogs for the changes coming their way.
Katherine: How do you expect puppies to react as their owners begin to venture out of the house without them? In some cases, for the first time in these puppies’ lives?
Judy: Separation issues are bound to happen in a time where we are all working from home and our dogs have gotten used to us being here. Let’s face it: we are all pack animals and having our pack around us all the time is very comforting. That said, reality will return and our puppies and dogs will need to get used to us NOT being home 24/7. The key to making sure they are as unaffected by this changes as possible is to start practicing now.
Katherine: How should we practice leaving our puppies and dogs alone?
Judy: Here are some quick thoughts on how to make your dog’s transition back to ‘normalcy’ as uneventful as possible. Set up a regular routine where you leave the house without your dog. Try to do this as close to your expected normal time as possible and do it every day. Start with short trips away, like to check your mailbox, and extend the trips as your dog gains comfort and confidence.
Set your dog up for success as you train them to be alone. Make sure the dog’s physical and mental needs are taken care of before you leave. Feed and exercise the dog and make sure they have eliminated. When you leave, make sure your pet is in a puppy/dog proof environment. A crate is preferred for young puppies who may eliminate, chew things, or otherwise get into trouble. You may need to revisit crate training prior to starting this routine if your puppy/dog isn’t comfortable being in the crate. Give them a stuffed Kong or other safe high value treat to work on while you are gone.
Make leaving and coming as much of a non-event as possible and do it multiple times a day. The more practice the dog gets with short, happy absences the better.
Katherine: What can owners do if their dog doesn’t react well to being left along?
Judy: If the dog reacts poorly, stop and re-evaluate your plan. You may have to start with smaller steps, like leaving the room but not the house to begin with. It may help to use an automated food delivery device to associate your leaving with a steady flow of food. If your dog will not eat or engage with a high value treat (like a stuffed Kong) in your absence this is a sign of heightened stress and anxiety.
In the case of extreme anxiety, fear, or stress you may need to consult with your veterinarian and/or a behavior professional for a behavior modification plan. Signs of extreme anxiety/stress include:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.