“O”(h) yeah! Tristan totally rocked his first visit to the vet!
When I take Tully and Maggie to the vet for regular check ups my experience usually goes like this…. I schedule a groom and an appointment to get their check-up and shots together. I drop them off before work, and go get them on my lunch break or after work. I meet with the vet and check in then we head home. They both love going and it’s almost an afterthought it’s so easy.
Parents will say they know their kids the best and what is right for them. I feel this way about my dogs, especially Tristan. For almost three years I have watched him go from a broken, detached, dare I say lifeless existence when he came to me as a foster dog who has blossomed into a loving, funny, sweet, and happy boy! In the beginning I carried him outside to potty for almost a year when he was too scared to go out by himself, I refused to believe that he was incapable of going out that back door by himself. We dealt with anxiety issues, he ate molding, destroyed blinds, walls, cables, phones, beds, couches, chairs and his favorite…shoes. We put him on anxiety meds for a period and I worked relentlessly to figure out how to make it safe for him to not act out with those behaviors, and for the most part they stopped. (well, he does like a good shoe chew now and then!) He went from shutting down in his crate anytime people came over, to being a wagging tailed welcome wagon for my closest friends. All of this to say even now, even after several years a simple visit to the vets office would take a small army of people who love this boy unconditionally. I want to make sure you know that he has not gone without medical care, they just have come to the house, this was his first adventure in the car and out of the house/yard since shortly after he came to live with me. Here is how yesterday went….
Nikki and Lora have been around Tristan a lot and he adores them both. They are very calm and patient people and their energy is perfect for soothing Tristan so I thought I would ask if they would be willing to go along on this adventure to load Tristan up in the car for his first trip to the vet. You have those people in your life that just are there for you, no questions asked, no hesitation, it’s just is easy and like family. That is how my friendship with these two goes and I can’t thank them enough. We would be traveling about an hour north to see the incredible Dr. Stephanie Ogburn at the Trenton Animal Hospital. If you are looking for a vet in the Cincinnati area, it is so worth the drive to get this kind of compassionate care with a vet who is the very best at what she does. I adore her and knew long ago that when it comes to Tristan, she is the one that is meant to walk this road with him.
I prepared the car, backed into my garage so that we could load him from the backyard straight into my vehicle. He was given something to help take the edge off before the trip and I fitted him with a harness, which I had researched and found a comfortable padded one that the military use with their service dogs. I fussed with that thing all morning, adjusting it several times till I thought it was perfect, and after hooking the leash on and walking Tristan to the backdoor he shot around like a wild stallion and houdini Tristan was out of that harness in 10 seconds flat. On to plan B, which was a slip collar as well and a standard leash clipped onto his collar. We tried again and he belly crawled and tried to go toward the trash bins to hide but I had to focus on the task and I couldn’t baby talk him or be weak and make excuses. I needed to step and make this happen and show him the way, loving him with each unsure step he took. Nikki was able to take some candid shots that will give you an idea of what happened….
Once Lora and I lifted him in I couldn’t hold back the tears. Lora whispered to me…”You can’t cry Lor, he is going to think something bad is happening”, she was right, he can read me like a book, he knows when I am sick, or sad and if I am crying what message does that send to him. He is my heart dog and I had to suck it up and not cry! We forged ahead and in the car ride we would laugh and tell stories and Tristan eventually made his way to Auntie Lora’s lap for a scratch, of course Tully was close by!
We arrived at the Trenton Animal Hospital and after checking in with Dr. O, we decided on a game plan to get him in the building using a backdoor that would be the quickest route. Dr. O was willing to crawl into the back of my car if need be to see Tristan, anything it took she was willing to go the extra mile. She has been so supportive of him from the beginning and you can’t ask more from a vet than to put the care of the animal first and that is what she does over and over. I really wanted Tristan to get himself into that office, to have the experience and come out the other side knowing he could do it! It was quite the scene, Dr. O , her wonderful staff, Nikki, Lora, me and Tully who lead the way managed to successfully lift Tristan out of the car and onto solid ground where he followed Tully into the office. Let me just say that Tully might be the unsung hero in this whole thing, he did all he could to comfort his brother, make it “no big deal” to be in the car, to walk on a leash and to be in the office. He has such a sweet little spirit and love for others. Tristan was even brave enough to walk to the scale…70lbs!
We took a couple of Tristan’s favorite Auntie Shannon toys with us to help him feel safe.
Tully wasted no time starting a game of tug and Tristan relaxed a bit immediately.
Here is why I will gladly drive and hour or more easily to see Dr. O, because she gets it, she knows where he has been and just how much of a struggle this visit was for him. Dr. O came in took off her shoes and sat quietly with Tristan on the floor, we chatted a bit then she slowly began to work with Tristan. She showed him with kindness and patience that she would not hurt him, she went slow and let him smell and see the things she used to examine him. In many ways it was a beautiful thing and he did an amazing job.
While he did not take the treats offered, it was the act of offering them that would help him see he was safe. (Don’t kid yourself Tully threw himself on the treats and gobbled them up!)
Checking out the chompers!
He may not know it but Dr. O has just given him his first successful in office vet check! We love her and are so blessed she is in our world! Thank you Dr. O!!!
Getting Tristan back into the car went smoothly and he knew we were headed home! WHEW!
In the end, even though Tristan was scared especially in the beginning even a little terrified of what was going to happen to him, he now knows that nothing bad ever did happen yesterday. There will be people who think he is just a dog and does not know…. but he knows….
and I think he is so, so grateful for the life he has today.
I love him so much, as many do! A giant thank you to the folks who messaged me, texted me, posted thoughts and prayers for Tristan yesterday. Nikki and Lora who never cease to amaze me with their selfless and unconditional love, support and friendship…. you kids are troopers for the stuff I drag you into!
Of course a giant thank you to Dr. Stephanie Ogburn, who is one heck of an amazing vet, animal advocate as well as a very kind and patient soul! I am so thankful for my village that takes care of us all!
Thanks to Maggie for holding down the fort while we all tended to Tristan, she was very happy to see us when we returned home!
Tristan says there is just no place like home…….xx