The Tale of the Trials and Tribulations of Sir Labsalot on Howl’oween

Indiana Bones, a young beagle puppy, was peeking through the fence at his neighbour Sir Labsalot.  Labsalot was a 3 year old yellow Labrador retriever that was usually a bundle of energy but that day he was just laying down in the leaves – not rolling in the leaves like his usual goofball self but quietly resting.  Once in a while he would let out a big sigh and then go back to sleep.  Just then, Sigmeow Freud, the wisest cat in the whole neighbourhood, came sauntering along the top of the fence and gave a big long stretch and then settled into a comfortable perch just above Indiana.  When Indiana asked what was wrong with Labsalot, he began to explain what happened.  You see, Halloween had just passed, and with it, many dangers to cats and dogs like Sigmeow, Indiana and Labsalot.  This year was another close call.  The story of last night begins 3 years ago…

Stress from the frequent doorbell and costumes and lost pets – Oh My!

Sir Labsalot’s first Halloween was coming and he was so excited!  He couldn’t wait to see what all the commotion was about.  Then it started to get dark and then the doorbell kept ringing.  At first he thought it was the mailman and he ran to the door barking with his best tough boy voice!  But then when the door opened, it was all he could do to not pee on the floor, he was so scared!  That night, there was what appeared to be an endless stream of scary lurking figures stalking his front door.  The doorbell kept ringing and as it got darker and darker, the figures got even more frightening.  He didn’t know who these people were and why they were there.  He then was so upset and things were so busy he ended up running out the door during one the many times it was opening and closing.  He ran around the neighbourhood dodging between cars and then finally Labsalot hid behind an old shed until morning.  Boy, was his family scared that night and so was he!  Luckily he was found by Mr. Herman when we was out for his morning walk.  It is a good thing Labsalot had his collar with ID tag on and he was micro-chipped as well.  That made it a lot easier to find his home for sure!   Remember, Halloween can be a scary and confusing time for pets.  Did you know some pets become very fearful or aggressive at the sight of certain Halloween costumes?  These pets would much prefer to be kept in a safe, quiet place in the home away from the trick-or-treaters. Labsalot wasn’t the nervous type but he knew a dog named Bony Soprano that would not have responded to trick-or-treaters as well as he did. 

You are making me wear what?

The next year, Labsalot’s family decided to take him out with the kids as they went door to door – and they dressed Labsalot up! He did look very cute in his costume.  “Did I mention he was dressed up as a cat?”  Sigmeow lifted his head in obvious pride as he told Indiana about the costume.  People need to be careful dressing pets up on holidays. Sometimes costumes can make it hard to see and hear.  Moving becomes awkward too and boy, can it ever get hot in those suits.  Have you ever seen a dog trying to pant in a cat costume?  It isn’t pretty!  That night, Labsalot did think about chewing his way out of the cat suit but luckily his family stayed with him the entire time he had it on so he didn’t hurt himself or eat any parts of the costume.

Watch that candle!

The following year, Labsalot was wagging his tail and it knocked over the candle in the pumpkin and the fire department had to be called!  No one was hurt but that pumpkin didn’t look very good after that… his tail was a bit singed too!

Don’t tell me you left out the chocolate and candy…

Just then, Indiana Bones looked over at Labsalot through the fence posts and saw him lift his head a little and reposition himself a little to get comfortable.  “Why does Labsalot seem so uncomfortable today?”  Sigmeow looked off into the distance for what seemed like a long time and then turned to the bright eyed Beagle pup and said, “Well that is because of what happened this past Halloween, Indiana…”  After a busy night of trick-or-treating, when the kids came home with all their chips, chocolates and candy, they all went to bed and didn’t put the treats away, out of Sir Labsalot’s reach.  Well if I know one thing, it is that you are hard pressed to keep a Labrador retriever from eating something as tempting as Halloween candy.  That night, Labsalot ate more chocolate, candy, wrappers and chips than one would think possible.  His family had to take him to the veterinary hospital to help him recover.  He had to stay in the hospital to help him get better from being so sick!  Luckily his family woke up in the middle of the night and caught him in the act and got help right away!  He was going to be okay but boy, did he have a belly ache!  And do you know what?  If you put a bag of candy in front of Labsalot again, he would probably do the same thing!  You see chocolate is really harmful to dogs – even just a little bit!  And when it comes to chips and candy – they can cause really bad belly aches! 

And with that Indiana realized he would have to wait and play with his friend Labsalot another day when he was feeling better. Hopefully next year his family will remember the previous years and do their best to keep him safe so he can have a wonderful time with his family and his friends Indiana and Sigmeow!! 

 

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National Veterinary Technician Week

(Kapoodle) Hey Kit!  How’s it going? I’ve been a bit lonely lately, what with the kids back in school and all.  All this talk about homework and studying hard so that they can get a good job has got me to thinking…what is a “good” job?  I’m pretty happy with the work I do here so I guess I have a good job, it never hurts to consider your options though.

(Kit) A good job?  Please Kapoodle, tell me exactly what kind of “work” it is you do?  All I see is a bunch of laying around and knocking things over.  Why are dogs so clumsy anyway?  You could learn a lot from a cat you know!  The only time I knock things down is when I want to, usually when my humans are late with dinner.

(Kapoodle) What do ya mean, I don’t do any work?  I fertilize the yard, I help clear the table and wash the dishes when my family is finished eating, and…all that knocking stuff down gives them something to do so they don’t get bored.  I’ve often heard my people say “Thank goodness Kapoodle spread these tissues all around, I didn’t know what I was going to do with that extra 5 minutes!” Next week I’m going to do some gardening.  You wait and see how excited they’ll be?!

Anyway, I got to thinking about what other jobs are out there that might be fun and then I ran into my friend Hairy Pawter.  You know Hairy, he’s the Puli with the crazy dreadlocks.  Well, turns out Hairy was over at Harbour Cities Veterinary Hospital the other day for his yearly check up.  He said there was quite a commotion going on because one of his favourite people, Toni Martin, was receiving an award from the Eastern Veterinary Technician’s Association.  Toni is what they call an RVT, or Registered Veterinary Technician.  Now, you’re probably wondering what that means, I know I was.  The closest comparison I can give you is that an RVT is a lot like a human nurse.  The main difference is that RVTs need to be skilled in all aspects of patient care such as medicine, surgery, radiology, dentistry, diagnostic testing (like looking at poop, which doesn’t sound so bad to me), etc.  Hairy said that over the past few years Toni has taken blood from him, trimmed his nails, given him medication (that he really didn’t like), took pictures of his stomach that time he ate the corn cob and couldn’t stop throwing up, and lots of other things.  He said that Toni was responsible for carrying out a lot of the veterinarian’s treatment plan. 

It was starting to sound like an interesting and difficult job so I looked into what kind of education is needed.  It turns out there is a Veterinary Technician program right here in Nova Scotia through the Dalhousie Agricultural College.  The program takes two years to complete and involves spending some time at the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI as well as in a regular veterinary clinic.  Students who graduate from this, or any other accredited Veterinary Technician program, can write an exam to become “registered” and carry the title of RVT.  Then, every year they have to take some continuing education courses to stay current and maintain their registered status.  It’s great to know there are some standards in place to ensure those caring for us are well trained!

It sounds to me like technicians are the veterinarian’s right hand.  I bet it is a really challenging and rewarding career.  I guess that would make it a “good” job.  It also sounds like a lot more work than pulling up tulips and sorting through the garbage.  I think I’ll keep my job.  Afterall, what would my owners do with their extra time if I wasn’t here?