My apologies in advance – this is a long blog post – but if you have a pet that is also a family member, you’ll understand.
There are three of us in this little family unit; myself, Bill, and our third Musketeer, Little Snoopy, the 5 lb. Wonder Chihuahua. Snoopy joined us about 10 years ago, just before his 3rd birthday. He was tiny-(er), scared, and withdrawn when he first came to stay with us. He would hide in his bed, under his blankets for most of the day, coming out when he thought nobody was around to find food and water. – He was afraid to ride in a car or truck. He ate very little. He wanted to join in the “pack” activities but was slow to trust, so he spent a lot of time watching, silently, at a distance.
Slowly he learned that we were not going to hurt him. – We began “immersion therapy”. I would carry him around with me, either in my arms or in a “pooch pouch” all day long, so he was constantly with us. When we went anywhere, he went with us. We established a daily routine. He began to understand that he could expect the days to follow a pattern. We got up, ate, went outside, etc. etc. in a fairly regular schedule. As he learned what he could expect from us, and what we expected from him, he became more secure and his confidence grew.
We have had several major life changes during the 10 yrs. he’s been with us, – moved several times, retired, became full time RV’ers, but through it all, we’ve tried to keep the same sense of order and routine to our day to day lives. It’s been good for him and for us. He is an integral part of us now. If we want to go to a restaurant that won’t allow dogs, we either get take out, or we just don’t go. We take turns when we go shopping in places that don’t allow dogs, so one of us is always with Snoop. He knows he won’t be left alone, or left behind.
With that preface, there have also been inherent health issues with a dog this size. – He has to go in to have his glands “expressed” about every 6 to 8 weeks. He is a VERY picky eater. He has had dental issues – a lot of dental issues. – Soooooo – since we have been on the road full time for the past 2 yrs., we have seen quite a few different Vets. Some have been nice, some have been better than others. Most have treated us part of a production line. Rush rush In, – tech does nails and glands all in 5 minutes – and rush rush Out. If we did request an actual office visit and exam by THE VET. The degreed Dr. would spend even less time with us than the vet tech, write a script, and be out the door to the next. Questions? – ask the tech – who may or may not know. We knew that Snoop needed dental work done. Whenever we stayed at any one location for longer than a week, we would ask the local vet for an estimate – worst case scenario for dental work. We got estimates ranging from $350 to $800 to “Well, it depends on how many teeth, how complicated the procedures are” etc.
Then we stopped “overnight” in a little (pop. 800+ ) town in Northern Texas, called Vega. – It was quiet. It was peaceful. We could see 10 miles in all directions! – It felt good. We decided to stay another week. Then for another month. Since we were going to be in Vega for a while, we thought we would try again for a vet to work on Snoop. Our first try was in Amarillo – 35 miles to the East of Vega. More production line crap. . . . we looked on line for a vet in Vega – no websites, but the owner of the RV park recommended the Vega Veterinarian Hospital down on Rt. 385. – We found a phone number and made an appointment.
We pulled into the parking lot – it was a dirt lot with a very small pole building – about triple garage size, and several large out buildings as well as livestock pens. – Ummm – maybe this was the wrong place?. . . We went in. I did a double take – there was no reception room – this was a rough, hard working country vet’s office. I had to stand around a few minutes, waiting for the vet, who was with another patient. When he came out of the exam room, I had to do a double take. Jeans, cowboy boots, plaid farmer’s shirt with the sleeves rolled up and hands the size of hams.
When we got into the exam room, I was amazed. Nice exam room, marble topped table. – and bedside manner – this guy – Dr. Rollins – REALLY cared. He took an hour to examine, to explain everything in detail, to draw blood for labs, to get to know Snoop. An HOUR!! – When was the last time ANY doctor spent an hour with you???
We made an appointment to get the dental work done, and when it was finished, the Dr. – not the tech or receptionist – called to tell us we could pick up our boy. He has only 5 teeth left, but he came through it like a champ. We are so glad we did it . . . and we are soooo glad we did it in Vega, with an old fashioned vet that really cared about our little guy. – After we picked Snoop up, the Dr. had to make a house call out to one of the local ranchers who was having some problems with one of his cows. – Wow! Can’t say enough about this place, and about the people here. If you are in need of a really good, caring vet, and are in the vicinity of Amarillo, TX. Drive on over to Vega, – stay at the Walnut RV Park, and call Dr. Rollins. You won’t be sorry!