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  • Shelly Gonzalez

Reactivity and going to the vet

We had an experience. After chatting with another pet parent, I realize that I'm not the only one who deals with this issue...

I want to talk to the pet parents who have their dogs on long leashes. I want to talk to the pet parents who have a friendly, goofy dog who loves every person and pupper they meet. I want to talk to the pet parents who look around and enjoy the scenery when they're walking their pup. I want to talk to the pet parents who browse the aisles in a local pet store completely unaware of the pets who may be there to see their veterinarian.

I envy you. It sounds like a relaxing life.

Initially, I was going to write this blog about a specific Vet Clinic that's located within a pet store, but I realize that this actually applies to EVERY vet office/ area around a vet office.

I realize that you are enjoying your day, browsing for a new squeaky toy for your big, goofy, friendly lab. I know you're just letting your pup sniff around while you settle the bill and sign whatever you have to sign. I know you think letting your little 5 pound pup wander at the end of a 10 foot retractable leash is fine because she's adorable and everyone loves her and what could she *really* get into anyway??

She could get into my dogs mouth. That's what she can get in to. Because my dog is dog- reactive. This means that my dog reacts excessively to other dogs. My dog does not want to be your dogs friend. My dog views your dog as a threat and is ready to fight to defend herself. Now. It doesn't matter if your dog is friendly. If your dog approaches my dog, there will be a problem. From her. From me. We both have too much attitude.

My other dog is people reactive. This means she doesn't want to be *your* friend. This is not usually as big of a deal because she doesn't necessarily *look* cute and fluffy, so people don't usually find themselves drawn to her, and if they did, I'm sure my body language would stop them.

But your dog- your dog doesn't get it, and you're not paying attention. That's what creates the issue with Ms. Dog-Reactive.

I get it.... "then why don't you keep your dog at home?" I do. We don't get to lounge on patios, go to a pet parade, go trunk or treating, ect. However, we need basic veterinary care and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.

And we have a right to get basic veterinary care. My dog has a *right* to see her doggie doctor and to receive the care that she needs to stay happy and healthy.

Please be aware of us. All of us. Not just me and Coco, but all of the pet parents of reactive dogs. Most of us are responsible. Most of us know our dog is a reactive little jackass. Some don't... but most of us get it. You will see us, if you look.

We have our dog on a VERY short leash. We are hyper-vigilant about our surroundings. Our head is on a swivel, continuously. We are looking down aisles, behind us, in front of us, where we're going, and we're looking for escape routes. We are keeping our distance from you and your pup. Our dog may be wearing a muzzle. Or maybe not. Maybe we have the muzzle with us, but not on the pup yet because... as long as you're a responsible pet parent, we don't need it right now.

Please help us out. If you see us making our way to the back of the store, give us space. If you see us trying to check in, Give us space. If you see us trying to pay our bill and check out, give us space. If you see us backing away, STOP and give us space. If you encounter us while walking your pup around the block, give us space. If you need to get your dog out of a carrier and don't have them on a leash, and I've already backed 10 feet down an aisle because you haven't given us space, maybe DON'T get your dog out of the carrier yet. Because, and this I promise you, if your little dog gets away from you and runs towards my reactive dog, we're going to have a problem.

I know you guys are not thinking of the crazy dogs because they're usually at home, but we do need to go for walks, go to the vet, ect. so you will encounter us at some point, and when you do, please be aware of your surroundings and give us space. <3


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