Confessions of a Not-so-dutiful Veterinarian

Sleepy dog

My Cuban mother is fond of a little truism she likes to trot out whenever I fail to resupply her dogs’ monthly heartworm and flea meds in a timely fashion: En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo. It’s a saying about a blacksmith’s wooden knife that is the equivalent of “The cobbler’s son has no shoes.”

Now, I’m a dutiful daughter. But I have a way of forgetting things, such as my (and my mother's) pets’ monthly preventives. Though I’ve industriously entered reminders into my smartphone, about half the time I still make it home without those little boxes in my bag.

It’s not that my pets aren’t healthy, hale and salubriously fit. (Yes, even my obesity-prone goats and indolent kitties are trim and in the pink.) It has more to do with my occasional lapses when it comes to offering them the rigorous health care experience I demand for my other patients.

It's Not Just You

Curious to see how a veterinarian’s personal foibles stack up against yours? Here’s where I fail.

1. Dental schedules. My pets are way behind on their dentals — months behind in all but two cases. And months can mean way more periodontal disease than you’d think. That is especially true for my Miniature Pinscher, Gaston. After all, smaller dogs are more prone to such troubles.

2. Enough exercise. Four of my dogs get as much exercise as they can handle. (The Bulldogs’ exercise is limited to short stints outdoors and only slightly longer sessions fetching toys in the air conditioning.) But Violet, my 16-month-old Malinois,could use more runs. The onset of the summer heat, however, means I’ve been lazier in my own outdoor exercise, too.

Luckily, my favorite local trainer is set to open a new indoor facility nearby, meaning exercise-intensive agility work is in Violet’s near future. And now that kayaking season is approaching, swimming will be on the menu, too.


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