The first two weeks of externship with the Timmins Animal Hospital (TAH) was just as exciting, if not more than what I anticipated. All I can say is – the learning curve is real steep, but with the support of the team, I feel that I am slowly getting the hang of it…..especially when there are puppies involved!
Of course, vaccination and fecal testing are crucial parts of the puppy and kitten visits to make sure they are well-protected against different diseases and parasites. Topics like nutrition, behavior, house training, etc. also need to be covered. However, other than educating clients, we can’t forget about another key component to these visits, that is, establishing a partnership with the pet parents. Conversing with the owners, allowing them to share with us their concerns, struggles and success stories of their new family addition is equally important. There’s a lot more work that goes into training a puppy than just cuddles and play times. We want pet owners to feel welcomed at the clinic, comfortable asking the team questions, and confident in taking care of their fur babies – kind of like taking on the role of a family doctor.
One thing about Northeastern Ontario is the very long winter. As such, puppies that are born during those months have a tougher time getting sufficient socialization. Even when pet parents try to take them outside, there’s no one in sight. As such, we really try to encourage pet owners to get them out there whenever possible during the summer time – get lots of positive interactions with various people and dogs and get them used to different environment and situations. It really does make a huge difference in how they perceive the world later in life.
TAH has been serving the community for over 40 years. As such, I get to see a lot of long-standing clients and patients who have been coming to the clinic since their puppy-hood. It’s such a joy watching the fur balls bouncing through the door and greeting everyone at the clinic. As a pet owner myself, I understand how much it means to me when my buddy can be at ease whenever we visit the clinic. There are a lot of things can be done beside vet visits. Staff members are delighted to greet puppies and give them a “sit-paw-treats” session, or a brief mock physical exam to get them comfortable being handled – lifting the lips to check teeth, touching the paws, and feeling the bellies, etc.; and other clients at the reception area could interact with them if they wish.
Introducing a puppy and kitten into a family can be quite overwhelming, but the entire veterinary team is there to support owners along the way to make it a little easier. With this experience, I now have an even greater appreciation of puppy and kitten visits. Plus, who doesn’t like to see a happy puppy marching in for cookies?