Sunday, October 28, 2012

10 weeks - Exposure to the world

I'm so cute and innocent, why do you call me demon?
We started Kili's 10th week off with lots of fun activities. The weather has been terrible the last week or so, and the next week promises to be just as bad (thanks a lot Hurricane Sandy!). My original plan had been to take Kili to Peterborough so she could experience a bigger city with more traffic and people. Thanks to the weather we had to find indoor activities, which are sadly limited since not many places are pet friendly. Next week I may take her to the Home Depot, but shockingly the boyfriend declined to make a stop there! We opted instead for multiple pet stores so she could at least meet multiple people and maybe a few dogs. She actually got to play with a 12 week old Golden Retriever pup. Perfect!

I will take this time for a quick aside since some of you might be wondering why I am taking a 10 week old puppy who is not through all her vaccinations into pet stores. You're probably thinking "shouldn't a vet know better?". The way I see it everything is about taking educated risks. You evaluate the situation and you decide what risks you are going to accept. My evaluation of the situation is this:

Kili has had her first set of vaccinations. She comes from a good breeder so I am pretty confident that the immunity she received from her mother was adequate. Between those two things she is protected. Moving on from there is the fact that the vast majority of our dogs are vaccinated. There is a thing called "herd immunity". Basically if 90% of the population has immunity those that don't are protected by the collective immune status of the group. Furthermore, in my experience as a veterinarian (however short) I have seen only a few cases of parvo but I have dealt with a terrifyingly high number of puppies that have turned out to be shy, fearful, and/or aggressive. I have seen enough dogs from the humane society deemed unadoptable due to behaviour. I know well enough that more dogs die because of behavioural euthanasia than ever do from parvovirus or distemper. I am willing to take the risk of Kili contracting one of these diseases rather than the risk that she be undersocialized. But that is a choice we each must make when we have a puppy in our care.

Today we actually let Kili with a friend to puppy sit while we went to Toronto to have a visit with my mom. It was very nice to get away from pup for the first time in almost 2 weeks. And don't worry about Kili, she got to play with 2 little girls and 2 big dogs. She got home and has barely made a peep since!

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