Uncategorized

Pet Health Insurance… Is it worth it for you and your pet?

I was in veterinary school when I acquired my first pet as an actual adult, a little Chocolate Lab puppy. Then I quickly learned as a I went thru my veterinary school courses of all the things that could go wrong or accidents that could happen in this puppy’s lifetime. Then I became a hypochondriac and with each new disease I learned about, I was convinced my dog had “IT”. Gagged once= probably Physaloptera sp. esophageal worms. My mind was frantically planning for the esophageal endoscopy. When he misstepped across the yard my mind rushed to the diagnosis of debilitating hip dysplasia that would certainly need a total hip replacement. The good news is he coming 11 years old now and really hasn’t had all those rare and not so rare diseases I had learned of.

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I also learned there were more and more options for my pet’s health care and with those options and expertise came expense. Pet health care is expensive.  This puppy was family and if needed care to save his life or give him the best quality of life I wanted to have that option, even though my pocket book as veterinary student was pretty devoid of means of doing so. I remember the dogs I had growing up and the extent of their veterinary care and expense. We hauled them to City Hall once a year for “shots” and treated the random ear infection or rash. Veterinary medicine had changed a bit since.

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“The times they are a changing!” Courtesy The Animal Pet Doctor

 

We were active in DockDogs, a community of dog competitors and athletes and Embrace Pet Insurance was offered at a discount to participants and many raved about the benefits of health insurance so I signed up. When clients ask me about whether insurance would be a good idea also my single biggest question is:

“If money were no object, what would you do for your pet?”

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My former canine athlete Brody

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Brody loved this activity but as a vet student I saw a ruptured cruciate, iliopsoas injury, or fracture, etc just waiting to happen!

In veterinary school I learned about the many advanced care options available including imaging, cancer treatment, critical care/ICU stays, or complex surgical or dental procedures. These wonderful options could quickly deflate a savings account. Not to mention the pets we treated with chronic illnesses such as allergies, where the costs added up more slowly but steadily. If money was no object, would I want these options for my pet? The answer was “Yes!”.

“Could I have set aside funds every month for the emergency or severe illness I dreaded?” Sure.

But I also knew care could be in the thousands. At $20-30/month my pet was covered for the worst…which could cost thousands of dollars. At that same rate of savings it would take my 150 months, or 12.5 years to save $3000 as an emergency fund. I could have played the odds that my pets would be healthy and have no issues in their lifetime but as a veterinarian I knew the reality. Over 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. And how many puppy owners I saw that had just dropped down a sum of money for their new pup, collar, kennel, and food only to struggle to find the $1000 it would need when that same clumsy puppy tripped up the stairs and broke its leg.

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I have sat with clients that had no money but had all the want and willingness to help their pets and there is NO worse feeling. I have worked for free, had the pets relinquished, or found resources or rescue groups to help but there are only so many dollars available. No one expects bad things to happen to them and so that is where insurance may be worth the money.

So I got pet health insurance and paid my monthly premium and thought about the money I was “wasting” and how I should be investing it in retirement. We had actually talked about dropping it. Why would a vet have health insurance…it seemed most things to fix where within our budget and manageable.

Then I felt a firm boney mass near my soul-dog’s ear, arising from his skull. My Newfoundland had bone cancer. As a veterinarian I knew I could do nothing and he would be gone in months or I could seek care and hope for better. There were just a few places that offered the treatment options we needed, including Flint Animal Cancer Center in Fort Collins, CO. So we loaded up as a family including my 2 week old newborn and traveled for stereotactic radiation.

The price tag was about ~$10,000. No way, no how could I have justified that expense with the costs of a newborn, student loans, and life. I would have been limited to the option of pain meds and waiting. But my Embrace Plan, the same one I had contemplated cancelling months before, paid 90%.

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His CT Scan showing the boney tumor…osteosarcoma
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Computer-generated 3-D Model for use in radiation treatment planning

$10,000 may be crazy to spend on a dog…any dog… soul mate or otherwise but I figured a bargin compared to the cost of that same technology applied in human health care. When owners complain about the costs of veterinary care being more than human health care it highlights the misunderstanding. The same supplies, drugs, education, equipment sits in our veterinary hospitals but as pet owners we pay out of pocket and feel every single penny leave our wallet. I have received statements and bills from hospitals and half the time I have no idea what was charged to the insurance company (in my mind it reads: $40 million dollar IV catheter. You own $1.47! So someone, somewhere paid or negotiated the difference).

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The medical equipment used to deliver steriotactic radiation therapy

Then Piper, our beloved GSP, developed Congestive Heart Failure. Echocardiograms and monitoring were doable without the worry of cost. I had considered stem cell treatment for her shoulder arthritis and had the $2000 cost approved through insurance before her heart condition worsened. Then that same puppy I acquired in vet school now with a gray face and aging body, developed a limp. I had done rads after rads with radiologists reviewing and though I suspected elbow arthritis, never got the answer I needed. A visit to Colorado State University and a CT scan provided the answer I needed to know.

So when we got a new puppy that was learning how to explore the world with its toxins and hazards and how to use its limbs without falling or tripping, it made complete sense he needed health insurance too. I couldn’t stomach the thought of not being able to offer him the care I knew was available just because money was the limiting factor.

Houses, boats, and cars…well they all have a set insurable value. But pets their value is determined by our connection to them. For some they may be totally replaceable but not in my world.

It may come down to priorities…what do you want to spend your hard earned dollars on. I value health care and realize the options and associated expense that comes with it. My pets are family and I want the best for them. I just don’t have unlimited funds to do that so insurance has helped offset the financial strain.

In addition to the question of “What is your pet worth to you?” I would consider “Are the odds in your favor?”.

The reality is certain breeds are more prone to medical issues such as cancer or orthopedic disease. General higher risk breeds may include the giant breeds such as the Newfoundland, Great Dane, or Mastiff and also Bulldogs (I once saw a bumper sticker that read “Support your veterinarian. Buy a Bulldog” and perhaps there is some truth in that).

Is your pet’s lifestyle such that an injury like a broken bone or athletic injury more likely to occur? This could include the canine athlete or working dog (hunting, ranch dog, or competitive dog) or the dog that runs at the family farm (with its associated risks of livestock, 4-wheelers/Quads, toxin, etc) on the weekends. Then insurance may be worth it.

No one gets home insurance planning for the day it burns but the reality is insurance is there if the worst should happen. Pet health insurance is largely designed to cover your pet’s accident and disease, not wellness care. 

There are several insurance options and resources to fit your unique needs and budget. The following companies are consistently well rated and recommended (Insurance Comparisons) : PetsBest, PetPlan, Embrace, and Healthy Paws.

My General Considerations are:

1) Does the policy cover hereditary or congenital diseases? If you have a Lab and they don’t cover cruciate disease surgery your plan won’t be very helpful to you. Research the diseases  must likely to affect your pet’s breed and read the fine print to ensure you are covered.

2) How are pre-existing conditions handled? This is still the world of insurance so if you pet has developed a disease such as allergies or hip dysplasia prior to acquiring your plan prepare for limitations in your coverage of the condition. The best way to get around pre-existing conditions is to get insurance early in your pet’s life.

3) What are the limits and deductible? Like all insurances, a higher deductible will mean a lower monthly premium. I personally have a higher deductible with the idea that my plan covers for the big and major. Some have no annual limits, others might.

4) How much and what do you want covered? Are prescription drugs covered? If you have an athletic dog such as a hunting dog which may be prone to injury you may want to make sure rehab services are covered.  You may need to tailor your plan if you wish to have routine vet care (vaccines, dental cleanings, heartworm testing, etc) covered.

5)How do they pay out? I prefer they pay a portion of my bill and not a set amount for the condition. Costs vary from location to location and this ensures I am not having to price shop. Most plans can be tailored to cover anywhere from 70-90+% of the treatment costs.

Pet health insurance isn’t for everyone. Only a small percent of the millions of pets in this country are insured but I am glad for the option and how it helped my family make decisions based on medicine and not money. Could my pet’s go their lifetime and I never get my money back? “Sure”. But their policy could also prevent heartbreak if the worst does happen.

Some additional resources:

2017 Canine Journal’s Top 3 Comparison

Pet Insurance as the Latest Work Perk

Consumer Reports: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Motherhood

Top Reasons RVing with Kiddos Rocks!

My RV Cowboys

I had long dreamed of an RV adventure and it remained at the top of my Bucket List. We typically do an annual vacation to the Black Hills but Hubby had suggested we head to Yellowstone. Imagine my joy when he agreed to renting an RV.

Leaving the hotel…final day living out of and hauling luggage

As RV and really any sort of camper virgins, there were some worries but  really this trip has been a dream and here is why:

1. Kitchen and snack drawer on wheels. No one likes a hangry kiddo or adult for that matter. Eating out with kids while pleasant in my imagination usually involves waiting too long to decide to eat, then suffering through the finding of a restaurant and “The Wait”. I really am trying to raise decent human beings but whether it is 30 seconds or 30 minutes until the hangry kids get their food that time is usually among the most stressful of my life with desperate distractions of crackers, color crayons, or people watching. The joy of just pulling over for a snack or meal without worry of destroying someone else’s dinner plans…amazing! One afternoon we had broccoli cheese soup and sandwiches while watching a fox catch mice. Best lunch entertainment around.

2. Immediate bathroom access. The reality hit when I passed a long line of poor full-bladdered people. Do you know how much time is spent finding a rest room, standing impatiently in line, and peeing…. a lot. And one of mine is still in diapers so that is hit or miss if their is a changing area.

3. Keeping a routine.  When staying at single hotel it isn’t so bad but the packing, unpacking, and new sleeping arrangements of hotel room hoping made for some stress in the past. Not in an RV. Unpack once and enjoy a routine of consistency.

4. No need to pack a 72 pound diaper bag anticipating the variety of weather patterns you may encounter and then potential for dirt and spills! Especially in Yellowstone where the weather is variable, it has proved invaluable to have all our clothes within arms reach.

Big Windows. Big Views. Happy Kid. 

 

 

5. Travel entertainment. The kids stayed buckled but bigger windows and a table to sit by meant more opportunity for wildlife viewing and table top activities. RVs mean lots of room to spread out and enjoy some travel games, coloring, and activities.

 

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Completing his Junior Ranger Booklet as we saw wildlife

6. See more. Do more. Especially for a big park like Yellowstone this allowed us to go with less concern of keeping within distance of our hotel. If the kiddos were needing a break we simply pulled over and often enjoyed a great view or short hike for the kiddo still in good spirits.  A cranky kiddo at the museum meant one of us headed out to the RV for a quick nap while the other continued to get some sights in. Historically, with a hotel experience that meant heading back to rest and re-coop, then loosing any motivation to venture out again. With a hotel, we usually  planned a single big daily outing to factor in grumpy or down time.

 

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A suctioned shower container made a great binoculars holder. They were in ready reach and didn’t get lost.

 

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More shower containers held cows, crayons, fruit snacks, and whatever needed to be in easy reach of the kiddos.


CONS

 

1. The biggest con is the RV parks and camping arrangements.  I haven’t had “neighbors” or lived in a “town” in a while.  Due to our shorter notice and Yellowstone’s popularity, the reservable camp sites were full. The RV parks are quite nice but still leave you feeling a little too close to your neighbors and very suburb-y.  I soon realized I can never move back to town with the manicured postage stamp shaped yards and neighbors within view.

My kiddos are semi-feral, free range sorts who spend most days semi-dressed, with no concern of their decibel level, and more awareness of staying out of the corral than a street. So it was a bit of a lesson for my country bumpkins! But riding their bikes on actual paved roads proved novel and fun.

The exception was the Cody WY KOA. While “neighborly” there was some breathing room and it didn’t feel so rectangle lot suburb. Plus there was a ton for the kids to do, including a pool and giant jump thing, so they loved it.
2.  Another con… hot showers. The RV water heater was a waste of propane and only served to heat the water to just above chilled! After our community shower episode where I probably mooned a nice retired couple while struggling to keep the kiddos from reverting to their feral naked states, I thought kiddo camper showers were the answer. Nope!

3. Safety. In my research, many argued traveling with kids in a RV was unsafe due to non-secured items and seat belt arrangements. We had an initial strawberry fiasco where a carton of strawberries shot out of the unsecured refrigerator when the refrigerator wasn’t properly latched on take-off.

Overall, our maiden RV voyage was a wild success and may have sparked the “bug”. The kids loved it and small home living wasn’t all that bad.

Ranch Life, Soapmaking

So Fades the Scent of the Lilacs

LilacSpring on the farm brings new life and one of the first signs of that among others is the bright fragrant lilac blooms. We have a row of lilac bushes (part of a windbreak- where trees and shrubs are planted to block snow and wind, protecting the farm yard) that tower about 10 feet high and line the dirt road that goes to a cow pasture. When in full bloom, they form a tunnel of sweet fragrance and the boys and I always take in some big whiffs as we drive past aboard the 4 wheeler.

The science of scent has sought to uncover why we connect so powerfully to it or why it brings up memories of long ago. Brain anatomy is likely the answer, where incoming scents are first processed by the olfactory bulb. This region has direct connects and association with the two brain areas that play a key role in emotion and memory, the amygdala and hippocampus. None of our other senses pass this way so it seems that our anatomy has primed us for our sense of scent to trigger emotion and memory more than any other.

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My hubby arranging a farm fresh Mother’s Day lilac and dandelion bouquet

Spring is making way for summer and this past weekend of hot weather faded the vivid purple blooms and so faded that characteristic floral fragrance.  Where once had been the towering shrubs of cheery blooms and a wall of comforting, memory-triggering odor now stands untidy shrubs whose job is purely utilitarian…block the wind. I had prepared myself for the reality of their departure. I had preserved some of the blooms in a infused oil and had gathered inspiration to make some soaps that would keep that scent alive just a little longer.

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My first attempt at liquid hot-processed soap swirls. 
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Lilac hot process soap with mica veining 

Everything has its season and the farm brings that more to reality than any other location. While the scent of lilacs is fading, the blooms of the peonies are readying, waiting to open and release their own fragrance. Peonies are one of my favorites and I had chosen our wedding date to coincide with the peony bloom. There just might be a peony inspired soap in the works.

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

Motherhood, Ranch Life

“Do We Farm in Heaven?”

IMG_6819panoramicThe Kiddo was riding in front of me on the 4-wheeler as we journeyed to the sheep pasture to check the newly turned out flock and to ensure their water tank was sufficiently filled. We had awoke before 6am to the sound of noisy cows escaping to green grass and the promise of bull romance. The hubby had left early that morning to help at a friend’s branding and my brain was smarming with what needed to be done for the day without him and hoping the boys would be agreeable after such an early and out-of-routine start.

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As we pulled up to the gait, the Kiddo who has fully embraced the persona of an old western cowboy with his plaid snapped shirt, denim, and boots turned his little head back, tips his dusty black cowboy hat and asks, “Do we farm in heaven?”. He goes on to say, “The grass is tall and shiny. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. The sheep are sooo happy!”

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It was one of the those mom moments when your little person says something so profound that you stop in your tracks. I am a bit of an emotional gal anyway so it doesn’t take much to bring a mist to my eyes and his observation did just that. Here was this little guy so in tune with the wonder and beauty around him and recognizing the wonderful blessing this moment and day was. I sometimes think God gave me these little beings to remind me of the extraordinary within the ordinary and to teach me to embrace the blessings amongst the chaos.

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The Kiddo asks things like “Was today a good day?” and the only requirement for a good day is that we spent the day as a family or he got to ride his bike an extra hour before bedtime…those simple joys I have so lost in the to-do list of life. The other day he declared it “The Best Day Ever” with as much enthusiasm as I reserved for my wedding day or the day my kid was born. I don’t know when we loose that childhood enthusiasm, where the simple joys really make the day “The Best Day Ever”. In adulthood, we strive for mammoth moments that make us take note of a day well lived.

“The Farm” as it has long been called (though now we don’t farm a single acre, just livestock and hay) can be this monstrosity of to-dos, where there is never enough time in the day and where time and nature always seem to get the upper hand. There have been times I resented where we live, with the commute, and the aging farmstead that called for more time and money to restore it then we had to give.

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The truth is “The Farm” has become our heaven, the place my kids run free to explore and discover, to learn to appreciate the extraordinary amongst the ordinary, to seek reverence for the land and animals we care for. I am glad for this little escape, where I can appreciate the simple joys of quiet evenings spent with my kiddos and menagerie, and see the beauty of the light hitting the farm yard buildings, or feel alive in a sea of green grass blowing in the breeze.

Where is your “Heaven on Earth”? Maybe it isn’t a grand location but a favorite chair to rest and relax or the porch where evenings are spent watching the kids in the backyard.

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Uncategorized

Five Things to Do for your Dog Today

Cassy photoFor myself, having pets often is for very self-centered reasons. They bring me joy and amusement and they have their “jobs” on our farm/ranch whether it be to work the cows and sheep or to keep watch of the yard (a self-appointed job really). So as a veterinarian and lover of dogs, I thought what are 5 things I really wish my clients would do for their dogs TODAY and what does my own pack need right now.

Five Things to Do for your Dog TODAY

  1. Go for a walk. Get out of the house and yard and I promise it will be not only good for your dog but for yourself as well. (5 Benefits of Walks with your Dog).  Your pet will benefit from the exercise (a tired dog is a good dog right?) and also the environmental stimulation of new sights, sounds, and aromas. We too often assume a yard is enough but in some cases it just becomes a prison yard! Let your dog see and socialize with the bigger world. Just like we need fresh air and exercise for our emotional and physical health so do our pets.4642_656417262550_6284995_n
  2. Lift the Lip. Dental health is so overlooked but I hear time and time again how an older dog feels like a puppy again after we treat years of pain and disease or of the dog with the fractured tooth that now treated is playing again, picking up toys, and eating better. If we wait for a complaint from our pets we have waited too long. The stats are shocking…. by the age of two years old, 80% of dogs will have some form of periodontal disease. Does your pet have dental disease? Click here .  If you see calculus or tarter, red and inflamed gums, smell odor, or see fractured or mobile teeth see your vet.Buster 5
  3. Throw Away the Food Bowl. I have long done away with food bowls and have replaced them with treat dispensing toys and creative “hunts” for food. My own dogs can consume their breakfast in a time that would make a professional eating contestant jealous.  (Throw Away that Bowl)  By having them “work” for their food it is engaging their minds, slowing their intake, and leading to portion control.cat food
  4. Feel those Ribs. When you rub your hands along your pets rib cage it should feel much like the back of your hand with each rib clearly felt. If your pet has a little extra cushion or a poorly defined waist line now is the time to get the weight off. Purina did a landmark study and showed those dogs fed to a lean body condition score lived 1.8 years longer than those that were moderately overweight.  Click here for more info
  5. Give your Dog a Massage and check for lumps, bumps, sores, or other abnormalities. Early detection can save lives. Chase Away K9 Cancer has this great handout outlining monthly cancer checks.  Cancer Check How-To

 

 

Ranch Life, Soapmaking

Dandelions…Fields of Weeds or Dreams?

DSC_1771 copyDandelions are these persistent sunburts of exuberance against the backdrop of a perfect yard of green.  Do you see fields of flowers and future dreams or fields of weeds to be destroyed? For myself, dandelions bring back memories of childhood with afternoons spent plucking the stems, braiding them into crowns, and fashioning impromptu bouquets to be delivered to all the female loves in my life. When their sunny cheer was over they provided these perfect orbs of weightless seeds, ready to catch sail, and bring reality to my dreams.

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The farmyard is “alive” with dandelions. Much unlike the HOA sanctioned yards, our farm yard is large and functional and not a sea of perfectly manicured Kentucky Blue. We water enough to keep it green, mow enough to keep it tidy, fertilize enough to make it grown, and embrace the fact that is one season away from reverting to its natural self. The grass in the pastures and hay fields gets far more attention and thought.

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Normally, the dandelions bring this sense of annoyance and reluctant acceptance of their existence. Do you dig them, spray them, mow them? I would prefer to avoid chemicals and really my efforts all seem so futile since the seeds float on winds from miles away to repopulate.

I have discovered soapmaking and so when I saw a recipe from  The Nerdy Farm Wife for  “Dandelion and Honey Soap” I actually eagerly awaited the arrival of the dandelions. My new motto became “If life gives you dandelions…make dandelion soap!”. The Nerdy Farmwife has a fantastic blog, published books, and ebook which have great photos and step-by-step instructions for many natural home and beauty recipes.

DANDELION SOAP

The good news is we have a lot of dandelions so the kiddos and I have been busy picking buckets of these sunny blooms to make teas and infused oils (the dandelion tea lye mixture is added to a variety of oils including the dandelion infused olive oil and thru the magic of saponification you make soap). If you are interested in soap making I recommend checking out a hot process soap like this “Dandelion and Honey” using a crock pot. Other than some patience needed while it cooks, it is pretty easy to get good results.

PICKING DANDELIONS

DANDELION BUCKET

 

The soap is a rustic sunny yellow and perfect as a “gardener’s soap” to wash those grimy and muddy spring-time hands of my hubby and kiddos. I added Ylang Ylang essential oil so the soap has this bright and cheery scent with earthy undertones.

So instead of seeing fields of nuisances this spring I see abundant fields of cheery ingredients for all sorts of  dandelion recipes ( 12 Things to Make with Dandelions).  My next scheduled dandelion project is a liquid soap made with potassium hydroxide.

What are your dandelion memories? Do you use or eat dandelions?

 

Life as a Veterinarian, Pet Care

Assigning a Voice.

DSC_2837pIt came up in a conversation at work this week. When you work with a crowd of similar animal lovers and you meet hundreds of animals a week it seems natural to want to assign them a voice. The question was “Do you talk for your pets?” “Do you share their inner dialogue?” “How accurate are we really in knowing that voice?” Besides our own pets we know and love well, we may even assign the voice and thoughts to our patients during their exam or hospital stay with us.

We often give clients an assumed dialogue from their dog’s perspective after their adventure with us. This can be after a brief stay for testing or when we return them to the owner after a quick trip to the treatment area for a blood draw. In a given day, I’d say I meet quite a few animals that would be up for making casual small talk if it were possible but I’d say there are a fair amount that we would talk thru a panic attack or grimace at the shouted explicits. I often wonder if our dialogue and “voice” given matches that which the owner may have.

In some ways, we create this inner dialogue for them to ease our own concerns for them. When your child is hurt you say comforting words and you hope they understand those words and respond with trust and feel safe and comforted. Our patients may understand the soothing tone but they don’t know the words “We are here to help.” or “It is really important we get this sample and it will only hurt a second.” We make verbal promises of care and relief from pain and fear they really can’t understand.

I think it is natural to want to know them better or question the inner workings of their minds since they are such a large part of our families and world. Voice and language are such a huge part of how we communicate. I sit in anticipation and sometimes frustration as I communicate with a toddler on the verge of language explosion. Sure they are words but we still communicate with grunts, gestures, pointing, and body language. In a year, I will probably be requesting a break from the chatter of the inner workings of a busy toddler brain but today I just want the words to come so as to open that connection.

Many of my pets have a “voice”, but especially my dogs. The dialect, pitch, cadence all contribute to the personality I have created and that which has come forth. Roscoe, our former Newfoundland, was assigned a simpleton, sort of dumb voice really. His name also alluded to that personality. He was goofy, comical, immature, and sometimes a royal pain in the you know what.

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Roscoe’s first picture- forever thereon known as “Big Dumb”

This is the first picture I ever took of Roscoe so it is no wonder I didn’t assign him a voice of a British intellect. It was 2009 and he quickly got the knick name “Big Dumb”. But maybe I was wrong? Maybe he was an intellect with a large and impressive vocabulary. I just heard the demanding bark of a hungry dog that had us well trained to deliver dinner.

Cassy, our Lab Collie mix, is a bit of a frantic, anxious, overzealous pleaser. So we don’t have deep “conversations”. Most include a discussion of retrieving and balls, and throwing the ball again and again. I hear her voice as “Oh, a ball. I love balls. I really love balls. Please throw the ball. Please. Please. Please. Oh, you threw the ball. I love running to get the ball. Oh again, again!”. She isn’t a calm minded creature so when I hear her voice it is a high pitched, fast paced question, always a question….”What do you want me to do now? I can sit? Or bring you a ball? Did you want me to sit? Just tell me what you want and I will do it!”

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I meet a lot of dogs in a day and some very clearly have a voice and often it is associated with a breed. Call it stereotyping if you will. Well groomed Poodle. You probably get a classy snooty diva voice. Big Mastiff or overweight Lab. Sorry you probably get a slower paced simpleton voice with a focus on food. So do we create our pets voice or do they have a voice of their own we bring to life? Shelby, our miniature poodle’s voice has likely changed from her previous life with a Senior Citizen woman to her current life as the
“Rhinestone Cowdog”.

Ripp, the Australian Shepherd puppy… well he is finding his voice. He is this obnoxious testing teenager now so in a way his voice is being found and than changing just as I can see the voice of my own Kiddo changing. How it was always “Mommy” and now I hear “Mom” sneaking in that vocabulary more and more.

Does your pet have a voice? Are we accurate in our idea of that voice? What do you think…do you wish pets could talk? As a vet, there are plenty of times I wish they could just tell me already but I also know I would get cussed out and that may change my level of career satisfaction.  I think I like the world as it where we create the voice and build a relationship with our pets beyond words.

“Dogs do speak, but only to those that listen.”

-Orhan Pamuk