Why I’m never taking my dogs to the vet again

He's wearing this muzzle because I can't control MY behavior.

He’s wearing this muzzle because I can’t control MY behavior.

There’s no better testament to how much owners influence the behavior of their dogs than the vastly different experiences Aaron and I have taking Jackson to the vet.

Aaron is the default parent (yes, I’m using the term “parent” because “owner” sounds so sterile) to take the dogs to the vet during emergency situations because I am NOT good with blood and panic-y situations.

But I started taking the dogs to the vet for non-emergency purposes because I’m the parent who works at home. In theory, it’s easier for me to be the vet person.

Now, Aaron always reported perfect behavior from Jackson during his vet visits. But the last few times I took Jackson, he’d get panic-y in the waiting room, cowered from vet employees, and bared his teeth at our usual vet!

WTF, Aaron, you liar!? Our baby is a god damn monster. And he really hates our vet. I have no idea why — she’s a totally sweet lady who always speaks gently to him and treats him well. And he’s NEVER been one to hate people. Other dogs while on a walk, yes. But people? No. (Well, except for that one crazy guy once… thank gawd.)

So this time, when Jackson’s weird neck wounds from two months ago refused to heal up completely and seemed to get worse, I begged Aaron to resume his role as “the vet person.” Jackson behavior and my anxiety was making the visits way to stressful for me. And I suspected that my anxiety may even be triggering Jackson’s mood.

Aaron obliged, and took off work to be a good parent. I wished him luck today as he left the house, even suggested he take the muzzle that had come in handy last time.

Guess what…

Aaron reported perfect behavior from Jackson! Jackson walked into the waiting room and sat like a good boy. He walked into the exam room and didn’t cower at all. And when the vet came in there was nary a lip raise, and in fact, gave her a freaking kiss at the end!

So yeah, it’s me. I’m the bad one. My anxiety disorder and my fear of all things medical turn my sweet boy into a scary monster. Take me out of the picture and in the same setting, with the same people, and with the same medical issues, Jackson is a the perfect patient.

It’s not just bad owners that make bad dogs, sometimes it’s good owners with bad anxiety. I’m sorry, Mr Jackson.

9 comments

  1. rodittis · November 13

    Or maybe Jackson is more secure because Aaron is the “alpha” of your little pack?

    • meganfinley · November 13

      HA! No way, Jose. Aaron totally gets dominated by BOTH the dogs like crazy — they steal his food, they don’t respect his boundaries, etc — because he’s a total puppy-face push-over. While *I’m* the hard-ass at home — all about boundaries. (I’m also totally fascinated at the difference in their behavior between the two of us in that regard.) That’s why i’m pretty convinced it’s a calm energy thing v. nervous energy thing when we’re at the vet.

  2. Becca C. · November 13

    I have had such a bad experience with vets, I’m afraid to take my Maybe baby (cat) back to one.

  3. cwupcake · November 13

    My dogs have that kind of bipolar personality between me and my husband. Perfect little angels when he’s around, but the second he so much as leaves the room to go the bathroom do they start wandering around into the garbage can, eating the baby’s crayons, or re-creating the battle scenes from 300 in dog-form.

    • meganfinley · November 13

      Ha! That sounds like my dogs with Aaron. They’re like military school well-behaved with me. Take me out of the picture and they’re walking all over that guy I married — licking his dinner plate, stealing things off the counter, chewing on Playstation controllers… They’d NEVER pull that shit with me.

  4. lichtstrom · November 13

    Yeah, sounds to me like there’s an empathic thing going on. Dogs love their leaders and want to make them happy…sounds like Jackson is, like kids will, trying to distract you. I’m glad you still think of yourself as a good owner, because oh yes you are. :)

  5. Amber · November 13

    It’s not your anxiety, its his anxiety FOR you! Sounds like hes protective of you!

    • meganfinley · November 13

      That’s actually a REALLY good point/perspective. He is quite protective of me. Hmmmmm….

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