Willow is a shy golden mix learns to warm up to the world.
I was delighted to hear from a returning client that she had adopted a rescue and wanted to schedule regular dog walks. I met Willow, an adult Golden Retriever mix, in December. Little is known about her past. She was raised as a farm dog, owners lost the farm, and she ended up in a rescue. She is an adult dog with good house manners. She likes food, brushing, cats, and her new owner. She dislikes car rides, noise, and nail trims. She is anxious around strangers. The only one she will go for a walk with is her owner. She has a lot of boundaries and won’t cross them unless she wants to.
At first, she remained in the closet on my visits. I lured her out with food – mostly string cheese. She would eat kibble in her bowl and retreat to the closet immediately after. A walk was not happening. This was our routine for about one month. Then I started distributing her kibble and a few treats around the house instead of in her bowl. At least she would have to sniff and move to eat. I started getting creative and placing food at different levels, surfaces, and hiding places. She’s a good hunter and sought out every morsel. Still no walk, but she would let me attach her leash. If I tried to get her to walk with me, she sat and put on the brakes.
She was getting used to me and would sit next to me for petting and brushing after her hunting expedition instead of retreating to her quiet spot. I always held back something yummy so she would associate me with things she liked. She didn’t mind dragging the leash around, but still sat when I picked up my end. Not going to walk outside for me yet. By now I am visiting Willow four times a week for four months. Our progress is measured in baby steps and wanes from time to time. I decided it was time for her to meet one of my employees. David is kind and gentle with animals and was able to entice Willow into the backyard first. Little breakthroughs finally led to a big win.
I’m glad that Willow has a wonderful home with a doting owner. Willow has come a long way from our first meeting. We still dream of taking her for a walk, but we will let her decide when that will happen. For now, we take pleasure that has accepted us enough to venture out of the closet to spend time with us and will go outside for a midday potty break. Our patience and kindness paid off.
Let me introduce you to a local veterinary clinic that provide special services to pets in New Bern, including Physical Rehabilitation, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), Regeneration Medicine, Pain Management, and Holistic Care. Below is an interview from me to Dr. Joyce Gerardi.
Why did you decide to study and practice holistic veterinary medicine? I began practicing general veterinary medicine and surgery 27 years ago. I loved both internal medicine and general surgery. I enjoyed really “fixing” the patient and having a happy pet and pleased pet parent. However, for nearly the past 15 years, I was on a quest to treat and return health to the “whole pet” and sought to understand true functional medicine.
I finally learned, if I can take the time to understand the “root” cause of organ dysfunction (I call this dis-ease) then I can have a positive healing in patients. I learned how to do this by finally completing an extensive Master’s degree training in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (MS-TCVM) at the Chi University. This discipline taught the following methods in conjunction with all the years of my conventional medical training. I have learned to practice Integrative Healing with the following treatments:
Whole food nutrition for each patient using the properties and energetic of food as real medicine. I develop a prescription or a custom diet for each patient. I never was taught nutrition in Veterinary School. So, I went on to become a certified Veterinary Food Nutritionist and this therapy makes all the difference in the world for my patients.
Acupuncture to stimulate the nervous system in order to move blood and facilitate electrical conduction within the tissues and organ systems. This can be done a number of ways with dry needle placement, electro-acupuncture for general pain management and nerve dysfunction, Cold Laser acupoint acupuncture and Injection of Stem Cells, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and B12 into specific joints and or acupoints to provide a specific functional response of healing within the body.
Medical acupuncture massage (Tui-na) is a custom “homework” therapy to be applied to the acupuncture meridians for each patient based on the pets diagnosis.
Physical Rehabilitation and home exercise programs. We offer an underwater Treadmill and numerous manual therapies to help restore the musculoskeletal system in both the young and older dog and cat. Just as people reap the benefits of physical rehab so do our pets. This is a tremendous benefit in both pre-op and post-op dogs and cats. If you spend thousands of dollars for an orthopedic surgery you actually need this service to ensure a full and complete return to function and recovery for your pet. Think of this an an insurance policy to ensure that all the money spent on surgery is actually going to be for the overall good.
2. How did you and Dr. Alexis Vidaurri partner to open up your clinic? Synergy Integrative Veterinary Clinic was a collaborative vision of Dr. Joyce Gerardi and Dr. Alexis Vidaurri, with the goal of providing quality holistic, regenerative, pain management and rehabilitative care. As the name Synergy implies, our goal is to work together, with the primary care veterinarian and the pet owner, to provide the greatest opportunity for a successful treatment outcome. So many of the conditions we treat in veterinary medicine benefit from a multi-modal treatment approach, and we aim to provide alternative, minimally invasive therapies not previously available in our area.
3. Do you specialize in different areas?
Dr. Gerardi is certified and specializes in the areas of Acupuncture, Food Therapy, Herbology and Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Vidaurri is certified and specializes as a CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner) and is the only CCRP in Craven county.
Dr. Alexis Vidaurri received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After 15 years in general, small animal practice, she decided it was time for a change and enrolled in the Canine Rehabilitation Certificate Program offered by the University of Tennessee. As a Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner (CCRP), Dr. Vidaurri concentrates her care on helping patients, both canine and feline, that are recovering from injury or suffering from chronic degenerative diseases and arthritis. Physical Rehab helps the musculoskeletal system which includes the bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues. Your Pet’s skeleton provides a framework for the muscles and soft tissues. Together, they support your pet’s body’s weight, maintains posture and helps their overall mobility.
4. What are the some of the successes that you have seen? Paralyzed dogs returning to full function, Hind-end weakness, General Pain Management, Intervertebral Disc disease (IVDD), Degenerative Myelopathy, Osteoarthritis pain, 90% success of non-surgical healing of Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) partial tears, Seizures, Behavioral disorders, endocrine disorders, immune system disorders, Hepatitis, pancreatitis, Inflammatory bowel disease, skin disorders, Cancer Care Therapy, end of life palliative care plus custom wheelchair fittings, orthotics and custom limb braces.
5. What are some of the commonalities? By that I mean age, breed, reasons for coming to your clinic? Many pets have chronic degenerative disease just like people. The outward symptoms are often treated or noted much later in life. I see both young and old patients. The sooner we can work on a proactive preventative wellness plan the better off each pet will be. We see the active agility dog, working dog to the everyday dog and cat and the limited mobility in senior pets.
6. What are some of the alternative treatment plans that you offer your clients? I use both conventional medications but as a certified Veterinary Herbologist I will prescribe Herbal Medications to treat a given diagnosis without the side effects of conventional medicine. I will work with the pets general DVM and when we all work together to offer the best treatment plan for our community family pets.
7. What do you wish people knew about holistic medicine? The best medicine is a proactive preventative care plan. Holistic care is actually very detailed and treats the underlying cause of disease. For instance, so many dogs that I treat non-surgically for a CCL tear actually have an internal imbalance in their Liver. This imbalance actually causes less efficient blood flow to the tendons and ligaments making this part of the body very vulnerable to an injury which then causes the tear and leads to chronic joint disease and joint pain.
8. What is the best time for a pet owner to bring in their pet? The younger the better! We all wait to be sick before getting help. I believe the best care is to treat before the dis-ease or disease begins. I like to educate to begin to feed a proper nutrient dense diet to help address organ health before outward signs of disease occurs. I like to see my patients for proactive wellness visits at least 4-5 times a year and especially at seasonal changes as this is when there are often internal changes noted in the body such as, seasonal pancreatitis, vomiting and diarrhea.
Does your dog pull excessively on the leash and yank you off balance when he sees a squirrel, cat, or dog? Does he go berserk when he hears or sees the mail truck? Does his hyper vigilance at the window turn nuclear when he sees anything moving past your house? Is he always in motion seemingly unable to relax? Is he too noisy (whining, barking, or howling)?
These are some of the common responses presented by reactive dogs. It’s a challenge to take them for a walk, have visitors, take them to the vet or enroll them in a dog class.
This is not the dog you imagined when you brought him home. You may even be an experienced pet owner and find yourself baffled/embarrassed as to what to do next. If your pup’s fearfulness or anxieties are getting in the way of your quality of life – I want to reassure you that it is not your fault and that there is hope. I know what it’s like to own a reactive dog, the disappointment of being asked to leave dog school, and the frustration of finding a solution. I set out on a quest to learn about them and how to help them. What I discovered was game changing!
I found the solutions from world-class trainers who have made it their niche to focus specifically on reactivity. I applied their wisdom first to Davy, my German Shepherd, and then trialed it with several pet owners who sought my help with their dogs. I am so encouraged by the results that followed that I am offering a Reactive Dog Training program as my signature service. From my own experience, I will tell you that I always loved Davy, but now I like him better. At five-years-old, he is easier to be around. We have a stronger bond and a better partnership. I can show you how to obtain this with your dog too!
We will look at your situation, the needs of you and your dog, and the results that you want. Our progress will include lowering your dog’s arousal and teaching him to relax, identifying and practicing essential skills (recall, walking on a loose lead) that will help you the most, and bringing joy back into your relationship (games, scent work, maybe a trick or two). We will begin in quiet places to build up our foundations before venturing out into more challenging environments. We will set you and your dog up for success through consistency, practice, and using the right tools.
Conventional training did not provide the solution to Davy’s reactivity. In fact, I did not even know where to go or what to do until embarking on a personal quest for the answers. I am ready to share them with you. If you find yourself in a similar situation – contact me, Jeanne, the owner of Crockett’s Critter Care for a discovery call. Learn more about our Reactive Dog Training program here.
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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A charming pup is convinced the world is against him! It takes patience and positive training to teach him how to relax.
This February, my friend, Thressa, asked if I could help her dog, Loki, a ten-year-old Portuguese Water Dog who is extremely well trained at all the basic commands but has been plagued by lifelong anxieties. He is fiercely afraid of other dogs and hypervigilant about anything coming near him, his humans, home, or car, reacting with loud barking, growling, and lunging at the perceived danger. None of their three previous trainers had been able to help Loki be more comfortable in the world. Thressa wanted Loki to enjoy walks around their neighborhood and hikes through parks with her, not pulling at his leash, scrambling to return to the safety of his home or car. She also had plans to meet up with friends, family, and their dogs later this summer but was anxious herself about how that could even be possible. After reading my newsletters and other socials, she became hopeful that I might be the missing link in their training. I immediately recognized that Loki is a “reactive dog,” and I agreed to offer my advice to help lower his anxiety.
We got together once or twice a week for two months. We made some seemingly minor adjustments to Loki’s world, such as not feeding him in a bowl and preventing his access to a window view, that had major positive effects. We identified his triggers and then modified his reactive behavior by using fun focus games, lots of Loki’s favorite treats, and calming activities, building positive associations with all of Loki’s triggers and teaching him how to relax. This process not only helped Loki but gave Thressa the tools to feel more in control of situations at home and out on walks. She reframed her mindset from “Oh no, here comes a dog!” to “Oh good! Here’s an opportunity for Loki to reframe his mindset.” We kept track of Loki and Thressa’s “wins” and “areas that weren’t quite there yet” and narrowed the gap between them every week. By the end of two months, we had changed threats into challenges and then successes, counting daily wins instead of disappointments.
Working with Thressa and Loki turned into a power-up experience for all of us. I was delighted when Thressa said, “Working with you has been the best thing that ever happened to me and Loki!”
You want to get out for a full day or even a few nights away from home, but your kitty is happier at home. Learn what a professional pet sitter does for your feline friend.
Hire a Crockett’s Critter Care professional pet sitter. We know the right questions to ask and information to gather before we confirm and approve your request. We will ask where your cat’s hiding places are, how they react to strangers, how they cope with your absence, what they like to eat, and what games and toys they enjoy. We will gather a health history and contact you if we suspect a medical emergency. We are trained in Pet First Aid/CPR and can provide immediate care and assessment to determine if a vet visit is warranted.
Insist on daily visits. Too many things can happen that, if gone unnoticed, can result in a serious medical outcome. A urinary tract infection, getting caught in the window blinds, getting stuck in a tight place, or chewing an electrical cord are just a few of things that pet sitters have discovered just in time to save a cat’s life. A daily observance of your cat will ensure that it receives the care and attention it needs.
Your cat’s daily routine can be noticed which includes maintaining the litter box, monitoring input and output of food and water, washing food bowls and providing fresh food at each meal on a clean plate. We can cat proof your house to make sure dangerous plants are out of the way and that the temperature is comfortable.
Your mail, packages, and newspapers will be brought in giving your house an occupied vibe. We will notice if something looks wrong and help solve little problems before they turn into big ones.
Cats love attention, and we love cats. You want to be able to breathe easier on your trip and come home to a happy cat’s contented meows. We will play with them, talk to them, and hang out with them while you are gone so they will miss you just a little bit less.
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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Even before you picked out your pooch, you were daydreaming about serene strolls around the neighborhood or out in a park. Is that your reality?
It’s enjoyable for you.
It’s enjoyable for your dog.
Both you and your dog feel better at the end of your walk than when you started.
Those three things sound so simple, don’t they? Yet there are so many things that can get in the way of a happy dog walk: a squirrel, a cat, another dog, the mail truck, skateboarders, bicycle riders, birds, airplanes, loud noises, neighbors coming and going, voices, laughter, windy days, thunderstorms, lightning, and a dog that pull’s us down the street with or without the presence of these triggers. Some days the activity we most looked forward to doing when we first got our dog has become one of our most challenging experiences.
The struggle is real for both ends of the leash. Having a stressful walk is horrible. We tend to tighten our grip, pull back on the leash, and let our frustrations get the best of us. Our dogs get all worked up and may pull, lunge, bark, and embarrass us. Subsequently, these responses are just the opposite of what we dreamed walking our dog would be like, look like, and feel like. So how do we fix this?
Our Walk and Train programs are designed to help you understand your dog and take the steps needed to reach the results you want. We offer training programs that will help you and your pet live a happier life. We look forward to helping you both. Our website has more details. Message us or call us to schedule a consultation. In a short time, you and your pooch will be enjoying your new partnership.