Here’s my story about A Dog’s Anxiety of Veterinarians and How It Changed My Life. My dog Boomer, a Wheaton Terrier, was almost 12 years old when I took him in for his annual physical. In the past, Boomer was sometimes mouthy and didn’t want a vet working on near his face. On April 23, 2004, the vet muzzled Boomer and started the physical. I held him. When she looked in his eyes, he snarled from his gut and it sounded like the Exorcist. Both of us were shocked and she said something like “I guess I won’t examine your mouth and ears today.” His blood test showed his liver enzymes were high and we decided to test in a month or so.
Right before his appointment, I read The Tellington TTouch® by Linda Tellington-Jones. I made Boomer’s appointment for his bio-acid liver test where they would take a blood sample, feed him, and then two hours later take another blood test. Only using the knowledge I had gleamed from the book and cards, I attempted to use TTouch® on Boomer. A card on Mouth TTouch® stated it helped with fear of veterinary offices. I thought it might help the dog’s anxiety. I sat next to him on the sofa, stuck a finger in his mouth (I didn’t ask him if I could) and tried to perform the Mouth TTouch® each night for 6 days. The touches were very quick and clumsy. The first time he pulled away after 2 seconds, if that. The sixth night Boomer let me do the TTouch® mouth work for 15 seconds on his top gum.
On June 29, 2004, I dropped off Boomer for his liver bio-acid test at 8:30 am. At 10:30 am, my phone rang. The following is the discussion with our vet:
Vet: Elaine, I know this is Boomer. He looks like Boomer, but he is not acting like Boomer. What did you do?
EG: I didn’t give him any drugs. I put Rescue® Remedy on his forehead since you were doing blood tests.
Vet: Let me tell you what happened. I had a muzzle and decided not to use it for some reason. He let me examine his eyes, mouth, and ears. He let us take blood and didn’t react. What did you do?
I explained that I used Tellington TTouch® on him for less than 15 seconds for 6 days. I quickly explained Linda’s work with horses and how it is used for companion animals. I said I was thinking in getting certified in Tellington TTouch® for Companion Animals, which took two year program. Little did I know that the Mouth TTouches® would change our lives and my career forever!
This was beginning of the TTouch® journey with Boomer. From then on, I tried to remember the week before any vet appointment to perform the mouth work on Boomer. As time passed, I could spend a minute on his mouth. When I forgot to do the mouth work, Boomer was not happy with the vet. Then I would hold him, and he would let me show the vet his teeth and let her look in his eyes and ears. If I remember to do the mouth work, he was a perfect patient. The vet techs commented that he was so easy to work with now and how he was a “good boy.” Quietly so Boomer couldn’t hear, the techs would say, “He was naughty before.”
Boomer, thank you for being my teacher and guide! Now I am a Tellington TTouch® Guild Certified Practitioner for Companion Animals.