As a veterinarian, you learn something from every patient you meet. Every case is a new problem and, with the help of the owners, I get to be the detective who sorts through the clues I find on physical exams and diagnostics to find solutions. Most people would assume those problems are all medical, but sometimes it is more than that like in the case of my patient, Fuzzbucket.
Prior to my visit with Fuzzbucket, I had spoken with his owners. Fuzzbucket was outgoingly affectionate with people in general. However, he had a history of disliking veterinary visits and would sometimes snap during exams. Fuzzbucket and his owners lived an hour away, but they were willing to make the drive to bring him in to see me at the brick and mortar clinic. I hoped to check him out and try to change his mind about the vet.
Upon meeting Fuzzbucket, he certainly lived up to his name. He was an adorably huge and fluffy beastie who was losing hair! The kind of dog you immediately just want to love and cuddle, but Fuzzbucket was noticeably nervous and he, like so many pets, was scared. It was obvious that Fuzzbucket’s skin issues needed to be addressed, but I knew that if we didn’t take the time to address his anxiety that I would be perpetuating and reinforcing that the vet is scary.
I got down on the floor with Fuzzbucket as I chatted with his owners about his skin issues. Since at the time Fuzzbucket was a bit overweight, I had an inkling that the way to his heart may be treats. I grabbed some yummy treats and peanut butter and offered him some. Slowly but surely Fuzzbucket’s nose got the better of him and he checked out the treats. Cautiously, he took more and more nibbles of the treats and started to relax a bit. With some more time, he allowed us to do a full physical exam and even a blood draw. Everyone, including myself, was thrilled how the visit went.
Over the years, Fuzzbucket’s owners went above and beyond to care for him. Not to mention, they continued to drive an hour each way to bring him in to see me. He was a bright spot in my day and I had the privilege to follow him through his journey. When the heart wrenching time came to say goodbye to Fuzzbucket, his family and I were devastated.
Fuzzbucket wasn’t just a patient to me just as he wasn’t just a dog to his family. Fuzzbucket was a sweet and gentle dog who had been a bit misunderstood in the context of the veterinary office. He made such an impact on so many peoples’ lives in so many ways. For me, it reinforced the beautiful bond of trust and mutual respect that we were able to create by just taking the time.
In memory of my sweet patient, Fuzzbucket, we have nicknamed our truck The Fuzzbucket, which will offer the option of a mobile exam room and allow us to keep supplies at our fingertips. I understand that someone coming into your home is not always ideal. Trust me, having two young kids myself, I understand there are times when a home is chaotic. I also know that for some patients, they can become territorial when someone new comes into their home. We don’t want a vet visit to be a source of stress to owner or patient. The Fuzzbucket is another resource we can use to help find the best approach for you and your pet and will be stocked with some of Fuzzbucket’s favorite treats to share with your pets. So, when you see us travelling around in The Fuzzbucket, give us a tail wag and a smile!