The boys' vet visit couldn't have gone any better. I was impressed at the cleanliness of the building and all of the staff including the vet, were incredibly friendly and helpful. When the vet came out and introduced himself, he offered me his elbow and guided me back to the examination room. Normally, I would have just had Glacier "follow," but it gave me a chance to talk to the vet without being interrupted by giving Glacier cues as we walked. E ever so kindly had given up her afternoon to walk Roscoe to the vet as Mr. K is still fighting off the creeping crud I may have dragged home from the gym. Both boys were very well behaved and that put me at ease.
The Guide Dog Association has agreed to take us on, and although I believe our dogs are stellar, I kind of feel as if we are under a bit of scrutiny to ensure we measure up. I don't think the Association views it this way, but it was a relief when the vet proclaimed that both boys were a "ten out of ten" with regards to their health. After listening to Roscoe's heart beat he said that it was "a heart of an athlete" and was absolutely amazed at Glacier's shiny, white teeth. He asked about any health history that he may need to know about and I told him about Glacier's velcro/string/pen cap/everything else eating that resulted in surgery a few years back. He looked at Glacier's small, neat scar and was impressed by how well it had healed and how clean the incision had been.
I went on to tell him about Roscoe cracking a tooth when he was a puppy and having to have it removed at Leader Dogs for the Blind and also about his wheat allergy. He asked how the symptoms manifested and I explained that paw chewing and ear infections ensued if Roscoe ate anything with wheat in it.
I asked the vet to check the boys' claws and if he could trim any that may be too long. It turns out he was satisfied with my human toenail clipper trims and only took the tips off of both dogs' do claws. Glacier and Roscoe received their annual vaccinations, minus the rabies shot since theirs is good until 2014 and I was sent home with packages of dewormers and flea/tick treatments. What was interesting to find out was that Heart Worm does not exist here in Scotland. That means, Glacier and Roscoe do not need tablets to ward this mosquito born disease off. That said, fleas are quite prevalent and they will need flea/tick treatments every month, whereas in Northern Ontario the treatments were needed only every two to three months.
When we were finished, the vet told me that his only suggestion would be to continue doing what I'm doing. He was very happy with their weights-Roscoe weighing in at 29.9 kilograms and Glacier at 32.9 kilograms-and said that he had no complaints. After weighing Glacier he laughed and mumbled something about me having a lot of dog to handle. He complimented the dogs on their outgoing personalities and fitness. He asked about the dogs' food and I explained that they were on Orijen Adult in the morning-a hard food to help clean teeth, which also happens to be grain free-and Nature Diet, a wet food also with good quality ingredients. The best part is, we walked out without having to pay a bill.
Some schools in North America cover vet costs, but Leader Dogs for the Blind does not. That is a factor that should be thought about before selecting a school in North America. The Guide Dog Association also pays, or assists with the cost of, dog food for their dogs, but Mr. K and I chose not to put Glacier and Roscoe on the brands that are provided. I read the ingredients for both brands and was not happy with the ingredients. One food's ingredient list starts off with "maze and maze flour," which means the first two ingredients in the food is corn; completely unacceptable by my standards. It is a personal choice what a person feeds his/her dog. That choice may be taken away by necessity, but Mr. K and I have the choice and so Glacier and Roscoe will continue to eat premium dog food, minus the maze.
All in all, I am so happy with our visit. The vet and his staff were great and I am very grateful that the Guide Dog Association is willing to take us on. It is really nice to have your efforts validated by a professional. I work really hard to ensure the boys' teeth stay shiny, their coats brushed and clean and their claws filed down. It's not a whole lot of work and it is a labour of love for sure, but again, it is so nice to be recognised as a good handler who takes very good care of her charges.