Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Drama of the Dewclaws

One thing I like about having dogs is the opportunities they present to learn more about myself. Yesterday I was invited to give a talk at a local hospice and so I did that, stopped for groceries and raced home to get the house cleaned up a bit before the vet arrived to do the dewclaws. I waited and waited, but this is normal for my vet when she makes house calls. They finally called -- they thought I was coming in to the clinic! I am not sure how that mix-up happened but I have never taken puppies to a clinic at this age and have no plans to start!

I had already decided to switch vets and so had an appointment to interview a new one next Tuesday -- I called that clinic to see if their vet would be willing to make a house call. The person from that clinic who called me back did not just say no but essentially "heck no". (I try hard not to swear but if I did, the response I got would not include the word, "heck").

So, there I was -- day before Thanksgiving -- with no vet in sight, and dewclaws. It does not help that I know almost nobody here -- I was seriously missing my vets back in Salt Lake City. I got the idea to call one of the two dog people I know and she gave me some great ideas. I called a mobile vet and got an appointment for Monday. I worried that the puppies would be too old by then and so called one of my vets in Utah, left a message and had a return call in about 90 seconds. Dr. Bagley said Monday would be fine -- I told him that he needed to move to Missoula.

The whole drama (and it felt like drama) was unsettling. I was disappointed that I had such a hard time finding a vet who was willing to meet my request. And then I started to wonder if I was being unreasonable and demanding, which made me wonder if I am unreasonable and demanding in general, and that caused me to do some self-reflection (and some mental ranting at vets and their staff). In the end I decided that likely I was demanding and do have pretty high standards but that I was okay with all that and therefore not likely to change. In the midst of all this mental self-examination and ranting, I managed to beat Galen at Scrabble and not by spelling the words, "dewclaw" or "bitch".

And so the puppies retain their rear dewclaws and I need a new vet. Do I go to the vet I already had the appointment with on Tuesday, even though she has at least one staff member who needs to attend Customer Service 101 and she would not do a house call for me? Or do I keep looking? I think you will agree with me that the best solution to this is that one of my children needs to attend vet school -- and soon!

The puppies are perfectly content to wait until Monday as they are extremely busy. Five day old puppies have a lot to do -- eat, sleep, scoot around, and make a variety of interesting noises. Sometimes they even try to suffocate themselves but they seem to be getting a grip and are less likely to engage in potentially self-destructive behavior -- we are definitely grateful for this! Their growth is really unreal -- if Cadi were a Holstein she would definitely be the star at the Dairy and win a blue ribbon at the State Fair! Her puppies are gaining at an incredible rate. They are round and satisfied little babies -- and of course, they are extremely clean!

Happy Thanksgiving! It does not feel like Thanksgiving to me because we are not going to be with our family this year :( I can't go to Utah because of the puppies, and we decided it did not make sense for Kim and others to come here so it will be a different kind of holiday for us. I will be in Utah soon for the winter break and so it will be okay but yes, it is a a little sad not to be joining everyone for the Big Dinner. Galen and I are planning a Scrabble tournament and we will have our own little dinner, and we will be very thankful that all of the puppies are doing so well.

I love today's pictures as they really give you a sense of things here. There are five puppy faces taken at the Dairy Bar -- isn't that a sweet picture?! There are also two pictured close-up as they rested on Cadi after nursing. Jamaica is getting a scrub down from Cadi in one picture, another is being held and washed, and Toronto is getting a kiss from Cadi in another. There is a close-up of Toronto as well -- he is on his side with a paw up. Ireland is the puppy who is on her side and lifting her head up. The two that are nose to nose are Hudson and Ireland.

I hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends, and that you find many reasons to be thankful! The puppies are thankful for such loyal friends :)


  1. Mary-Ann

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures this morning. You can almost see the pups growing before your eyes. I hope you have a great day today with your son. I am thankful that my family is on the mend after a rough week and thankful to have had almost 11 years with my oldest Berner and any additional time is just icing on the cake.

    I am also guilty of having high standards; it only gets frustrating because it is difficult for people to live up to those standards.

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Cindy M & family

  2. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Your dedication to these puppies is nothing to feel guilty about! It is really wonderful. Frankly, a vet who does house calls is not that much to ask for. I'm sorry that you won't be with all of your family today, but I know you and Galen and the puppies will find ways to have a wonderful day.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Galen, and the Kaibab crew. Just remember that those little pups will be very high on the lists of things eight families are thankful for next Thanksgiving. Of course your standards should be high - just look at Cadi's standard for cleanliness!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Puppy Central!

    If you didn't live your high standards,... you would't be Mary-Ann Bowman. I think they would call that being a hypocrite. After learning about you from posts on the "L" list and this wonderful are thoughtful and balanced in living your standards.
    Unfortunately, you are in a minority. On the other hand, people like you, are most precious in the world we live in today.

    Maybe, after this weekend, you could leave a message for the vet to call you. If she calls you back you could tell her what your experience was with the inconsiderate person on the phone. You could get a sense of the vet's standards over the phone without having to take the time to meet her in person. She might appreciate speaking with you & and hearing your concerns. It seems logical to me...these are babies we're talking about!

    I'm in sort-of the same situation after moving in July. I did talk/interview one vet on the phone. I asked her if it was possible to space the required vaccinations in three-four week intervals in stead of giving all the shots at one time. She hesitated...said she would show me reading material that states there is no benefit to spacing the shots...but that would be okay .... humm Fortunately, I can still drive to our first vet...just further to drive. I'm still looking.

    Has your daughter shown any interest in doctoring the dogs? Galen, its not to late to look into Vet School... :D

    Can you tell that your vet situation struck a nerve in me? Hang in there.

    The puppies look wonderful. Cadi takes motherhood seriously. I love the shiney pot-bellied pups!

    Take care,

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Mary-Ann, Galen and the rest of the family!

    Happy Dairy Day to the pups and Cadi

    Happy Marrow Bone Day to the rest of the berners

    And a most heartfelt thank you to Halo and Mary-Ann and Zack for the treasure of Peaches my puppy!

    I hope you all have a really special day.

    Peaches and Ochoco

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to puppy central. I was alone last Thanksgiving so know what you're going through. Thankfully, Michael arrived a couple of hours ago and will be here until Sunday. Yea!!! Won't be here again until Christmas.

    Boy, do I know the vet situation. I had to find one here in a hurry and thankfully, my vet in Flagstaff made all the arrangements. I do believe I've found one who meets my standards, now. He has owned a berner so he's one up on the rest of them. Seems really great. I'm going to take the old lady in for a checkup and really check him out. I'm more particular about my vet than my own doctor.

    Something to think about. When I've done c-sections, the dewclaws are removed then and there. Doesn't seem to have any affect on the puppies.

    Anyway, have a great day - win at scrabble - and, it's probably snowing. It is here!

    Mary Ann B.