Rupert is a rescued dog, a Dalmatian that lives with his owner, Sonya Schiff, in England. His previous life before finding his true home had been traumatic, and the poor dog was suffering from emotional issues.
His behavior at first was a challenge for Schiff, but gradually over the years he had come to trust her, and his temperament had greatly improved. But Rupert has now become attached to Schiff, and this has created a problem for him—separation anxiety.
“When I adopted Rupert from Dogs Trust a couple of years back he had some quite serious guarding issues and aggression, which we believe were pain associated,” Sonya explained, reports the Metro. “It took a year for him to bond with me after his rehoming, at which point he developed separation anxiety if I left him.”
One of his legs sustained an injury, so Schiff took him to Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, to have it seen to.
When vet Mike Ferrell tried to get close and examine him, however, Rupert let him know in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t allow that. With ears flattened and teeth bared, it was obvious poor Rupert was having some issues.
Things were about to change, though.
Rupert had to stay overnight to have surgery on his damaged leg, so Sonya came up with a plan to help him overcome his fear.
She returned home to find a piece of her clothing, such as a sweater, to give to Rupert, as it would have her scent on it and might placate him. But when she spotted her pink-and-gray mouse onesie, she took that instead.
When Ferrell saw the mouse suit, he burst into laughter, but after considering it, he decided to put the suit on … anything to help poor Rupert overcome his fear.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE FOR RUPERT…..as a mouse 🐭🐾So last week was a little unusual for Davies Orthopaedic Specialist Mike…
They say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and that certainly proved to be the case.
What’s more, the idea worked, and a vet in a mouse suit won Rupert’s trust. He was able to carry out his examination and later performed the surgery on Rupert’s leg successfully.
Across the globe, in Indiana, one vet clinic is focused on getting their animal clients to eat to distract them from less pleasurable activities such as vaccinations, examinations, and the like.
Foods like frozen bone broth, cheese whiz, and peanut butter are a favorite with the pooches, and other snacks such as whipped cream are given to eager feline clients.
The Paw Patch Place has become the only Fear Free-certified practice in the state, and vet Penny Dowden, with three decades of experience, knows full well that one bad experience at the vet can cause psychological problems for a pet.
“I do this because I love them and I was moved and upset with what was happening,” Dowden told the IndyStar. “This has been absolutely life changing for the whole clinic.”
Fear Free vet practice has become popular in many places; even the mature-age vets are learning new techniques to deal with difficult dogs and other animals.
One vet from Idaho, Marty Becker, changed his approach after listening to an animal behavioral expert lecture on the damage vets could do psychologically to their animal clients. Injuries to staff from aggressive or frightened animals has dropped, which is an added bonus.
“We started this just because it was [the] right thing to do. Now the worker’s compensation carriers are offering a significant discount if you’re fear certified,” he said.
Heated blankets, piped music, special treats—even filtered air to inhale—ah it’s a dog’s life!