Three Popular Sayings about Dogs
...and what Miles has to say about them. (#2)

Brave Little Dog

{ Miles' reaction to going back to the vet a week after surgery }

Today we went back to our veterinary clinic for Miles' post-surgery appointment. The above image is of Miles in the waiting room, and I think it perfectly captures how he was feeling about being back at the vet clinic: trusting as possible, yet, very worried!!!

Even though Miles' suture removal date was supposed to be 2-3 days from now, my gut reaction was that he should be looked at earlier than that. Miles' doctor is away, so we saw another veterinarian at the clinic that we have seen before and like.

The vet looked through Miles' file, and asked me how he was after coming home from surgery. I gave her a brief and factual description of what Miles was like. Being brief and factual in my "official" description wasn't easy, given how difficult the experience felt: but I knew that summarizing the symptoms as factually as I could was important for establishing an accurate medical overview. The vet nodded after my description, and said, "Yes, the file also notes that he was quite slow to wake up..." She took a moment, and then said that it is clear given the list of symptoms and the time frame that Miles had a very strong reaction to coming off of the anesthetic. She made more notes in his file, so that if he ever needs surgery again, they can try a different mixture and quantity of drugs.

The veterinarian then told me that amount of scabbing and swelling around Miles' sutures was uncommon, and it was clear his skin was having a strong reaction to the sutures (this is uncommon, given these are medical-grade synthetics!). Poor Miles! First the bad reaction to the anaesthetic, and then to the sutures? She said that if the swelling doesn't go down soon, Miles will need to be looked at again, and to possibly go on antibiotics.

We both agreed that now that the primary sutures are out, that his recovery should speed up. The vet also said that there is another layer of dissolving stitches below the skin, and that Miles' skin could be having a reaction to those too -- so he really shouldn't be overly active until they are likely to fully dissolve - which is in about two more weeks.

Below are some pictures from the last week of Miles' recovery. For those of you that are interested, I am keeping an ongoing photo album of Miles' recovery from surgery here.

{ Day-of surgery: Miles had an extremely difficult time
coming off of the anaesthesia. This is him trying to stand
up while eating peanut-butter-coated pain medication }

{ Day 6 post-surgery: It was so nice to see Miles' beady eyes light back up! } 

{ Miles' outings have been limited to "around the block" walks. } 

{ Today, 8 days post-surgery: stitches just removed, and Miles is very happy to be home!  }

The Legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin

Tonight I heard of the sudden passing of Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin was a veterinarian, animal behavioralist, educator, author, and expert on Low Stress Handling. I am shocked and saddened to hear of her suicide. She was only 48 years old.

Dr. Sophia Yin's educational work for teaching professionals and pet owners about animal handling and behavior modification techniques have made the world a significantly better place for people and other animals. The loss of Dr. Yin before her time is devastating one. Dr. Yin's legacy, to me, is held not just in her skills as a veterinarian and animal behavioralist, but, in the effectiveness of her ability to educate people. Dogs are dependant on people to have good lives. People are dependant on qualified professionals, such as veterinary professionals and dog trainers to learn about how to care for their dogs. Dr. Yin's impact has brought attention to positive dog training, and the importance of positive education for people about dog training. Her writing never "looked down" on people or on "old" or "uninformed" ways of dog training and handling, but rather, her writing was always informative, straightforward, and encouraging. I believe a great part of Dr. Yin's legacy is the reminder that the more positive educational methods and delivery are, the more likely that the information will be absorbed into our culture. People's beliefs and habits only change if they feel inspired to change.

Providing good information is one part of the challenge towards change (which Dr. Yin clearly excelled at), but making new information accessible and motivating was Dr. Sophia Yin's greatest gift to dog training.

The work she has left us with will most certainly continue to have a profound effect on shifting views of how people understand and treat dogs, and especially on how professionals train other people about animals.

I have always referred people to the three core articles on her website. These three short articles summarize some of the most powerful and important information anyone who loves dogs should know about modern dog training and behavioural science. If you have not read these articles, I urge you to do so. If you have already read these articles, please join me in re-reading them in Dr. Yin's honor.

 { image from Dr. Yin's website }