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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Make It Stop!

Part of being a vet is dealing with noisy dogs.  Most of the time we get used to it and learn to tune it out.  Frankly, you have to because it's just about a daily occurrence.  Dogs bark to communicate with each other, let other know they are there, and express their "displeasure" at being confined.  Any and all of these reasons can cause a dog to bark when in the clinic.  And once one starts barking it entices others to join in.  At times it can be quite a cacophony!  I've been having to put up with barking for about 27 years now, and you'd think I'd be used to it.  Most of the time I am, but sometimes it gets to me.

Today we had a little Yorkshire terrier in for a dental cleaning.  He came with a housemate, a shih-tzu, and it quickly became evident that they were closely bonded.  We kept them together initially, but had to separate them once we started the cleanings.  The shih-tzu went first, leaving the Yorkie alone.  Once by himself the Yorkie started barking non-stop with a particularly reverberating, high-pitched yapping.  This went on and on and on and on!  Once his friend was in recovery there was a delay until his own dental, during which he continued to bark.  We couldn't keep them together since one was still waking up and it wouldn't be safe.  Finally the Yorkie's dental happened and we had some blissful quiet for a while.  However, he was quickly done and work up surprisingly fast.  As soon as he was awake he began barking again! 

This was so bad that all of the clients could hear him in the rooms.  I was talking to an elderly lady about the coccidia her dog had.  The lady had a hearing aid, which really amplified the particular frequency of the dog's barking, making it very difficult for her to hear and understand me.  I had to have her to into the lobby in order for her to be able to hear my tech's at-home instructions.

Finally both dogs were awake enough that we could put them back together, and silence again reigned.  It was such a nice switch.  Normally barking doesn't get to me that much, but to paraphrase Jayne Cobb "he was starting to damage my calm." (Bonus points to everyone who correctly understands that reference)  I seriously wanted to throttle the little thing to get it to be quiet and was glad when he finally quieted down. 

Just one of the many aspects of being a veterinarian that most people don't think about!


  1. OMG, I drug them at that stage. And I would like to add another Jayne quote that would be relative...

    "Sure would be nice if we had some GRENADES."

  2. That yorkie yap is super grating. My dog is a whiner, sure he barks, but more often he is doing a whole range of whimpers and high pitched vocalizations. It also grates on the nerves. I was super worried when I left him for his own dental because he is so bad when left in a crate. If he thinks someone can see or hear him he whines and whimpers. I warned the vet when I left him, but I wasn't sure what else I could do. He stops if he can't see or hear people nearby, but at the vet in recovery there is always commotion. One tech said he was good, but the other admitted he was grumpy all afternoon.
    So on behalf of annoying dog owners, I apologize.

  3. We didn't have so many barkers tonight but what we did have was the shrill beeping of the IV pumps...dying batteries, occlusions for no visible reason, volumes "done" infusing even though the bags are still full...I hate all things Heska tonight.

  4. Sounds like the little Yorkie might have been a "little whimsical in the brain pan". :)

    I'm not sure, but I'm afraid that barking dogs would be my downfall of working in a veterinary clinic. I can tune out most noises, but barking like that... no such luck! When I worked in the CSU hospital, I was quite a ways from the lobby and treatment rooms, so never heard more than a random bark here and there.

  5. .... Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence? Or is this the wrong crowd for that?


  6. Another good Firefly quote!!!!
    Albeit, Wash not Jayne.


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