My GVH Story and the Love of Bulldogs
After many years of working and living in beautiful, sunny Southern California, my wife and I made the decision to sell our condo and move back to Pennsylvania to be close to family. I had planned on taking a year off to adjust to the east coast lifestyle and get settled. Much to my surprise, my loving wife had other plans.
She thought she would help me by uploading my resume onto several veterinary hiring websites. I did not know she had done this and the phone starting ringing from prospective employers. As any job seeker would do, I went on several interviews but none of them really fit. Since nothing really grabbed my attention and I had hotel points that were about to expire, we decided to spend a few days at the beach in Delaware. This is where my journey with GVH begins….
On the drive down to the beach I got a call from Diane Hanlon, the Business Manager at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital and we agreed to meet for an interview on the following Monday. On my way to the interview I thought to myself this will only take a few minutes and then I could get back to enjoying my time off. I was wrong.
When I met with Diane the meeting started off like every other interview, with introductions and your standard interview questions. Then Diane asked me if I had any pets of my own. I replied “yes, a Bullmastiff and 2 cats, they made the cross country trip with me”. Diane replied, “that’s great, I have a bulldog”. Being a Marine and a bulldog connoisseur, I said “oh yeah what kind of bulldog?” Diane responded, our “ “Mary Grace” is an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog.” I knew and worked with this breed of bulldog in California and knew how rare they were. Before I could catch myself, I said “No you don’t, are you sure?” Great, I just questioned the person who would decide if I would get hired or not. Diane said “no seriously she is a blue blood bulldog” and pulled her phone out. We swiped through many pictures of her dog then spent a while talking not about me or GVH but about our dogs, bulldogs, cats and California. The interview ended and I went on my way.
When I got home my wife asked me how did it go? All I said was Diane, who interviewed me has a Blue Blood Bulldog, isn’t that great! Again, my wife asked how did the interview go?. Again I replied, Diane has a black and white Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog and her dog is gorgeous. I was so focused on Diane’s and my excitement for our pets that the rest of the interview took a back seat. Sure, the other stuff like skill level, salary, hours, and benefits are important but I didn’t get into the veterinary field to focus on those things. I wanted to work with clients and their pets and to have the experience like I had with Diane (the excitement and love for animals) during the interview on a daily basis.
I knew then that this veterinary hospital was different, and I wanted to be a part of that. The culture was a focused on the bond humans have with their pets. It was that simple. Everything we (the staff) do at GVH, is to celebrate that bond with our clients and their pets, and to offer the best medicine we possibly can. It was that way when I started over seven years ago, and it’s that way today. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful clients and their pets over the years and look forward to meeting many more as my journey with Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital continues.
By the way I never did get to enjoy a year long vacation from working. Hey wait a minute! Looking back my wife’s master plan worked, she found me a job and then she took a year off instead!!! True story.
Splooting: A Definition and Analysis
Our pets, just like our friends and family, can have some quirks. Although these quirks can give us owners a good laugh or perhaps an endearing photo, sometimes, there is a reason for these odd behaviors. More recently, one peculiar behavior is taking social media by storm: splooting.
So what is splooting? In short, splooting is a type of stretch that involves kicking one or both legs behind the body. The one leg sploot involves one leg behind while the other leg remains tucked underneath. This may look familiar to dog owners, however splooting is not an exclusively canine behavior. Occasionally, cats can do it too!
Although the Corgi is credited with making the sploot famous, all breeds of dogs and cats can sploot. Depending on their flexibility, animals can display an array of different sploots. For example:
- The Classic Sploot: One leg remains beneath the body while the other leg is kicked back:
- The Side Sploot (Left or Right): One leg is tucked under the body while the other is kicked out to the side. Often the animal is laying with on hip on the ground:
- The Full Sploot: The animal has kicked both legs behind the body, exhibiting a full body stretch:
So is there a reason why animals sploot other than giving their owners a photo opportunity for a later social media post? Splooting is a great stretch for the animals’ hips. Splooting also allows the animal to cool themselves by pressing their belly into the ground or against tile floors. Owners may notice that their pets sploot more often when they are younger. This is simply because younger pets have more flexibility in their hips compared to senior pets.
Has your pet ever splooted? Show us by entering a photo of your pet showing off their finest sploot in our Superb Sploots contest! If your photo is chosen as our winner, we will display their photo on our GVH Facebook page. Your pet may also receive a prize!
By: Abigail R. Hanlon, Senior, Music Therapy Major
Bosco working at CHOP
How Bosco Became a Therapy Dog
Ever since my dog, Bosco, was a puppy I wanted to socialize him as much as I could in a lot of different environments so I could take him just about anywhere. We would go to different local events where I knew there would be people, kids and other dogs. About five years ago I took him to a walk benefitting cystic fibrosis in honor of a good friend of mine whose sister had passed away from the disease. After the walk was over, we were gathered around an area where there were a lot of children playing. All of a sudden, the kids came running up to Bosco, petting him and asking questions, giving him hugs and tugging on his fluffy fur. Bosco didn’t seem to be bothered by it one bit. It actually looked like he liked all the attention!
It didn’t even occur to me that he could be a therapy dog until after I told the story about the kids to my sister, who happens to work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She suggested the idea of Bosco becoming a therapy dog. I had never really thought about it before and decided to do some research into how to get Bosco registered as a therapy dog. The process was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be.
I contacted Therapy Dogs International, which is a volunteer organization dedicated to testing, regulating and registration therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers. Bosco had to pass a test reflecting real-life situations designed to simulate a therapy dog visit at a nursing home, hospital or facility where a therapy dog would be needed.
Bosco the happy therapy dog
We went on a designated date and time to take the test which consisted of Bosco following some commands: sit, down, stay. After that, he was tested for his temperament and behavior. These tests involved his reactions to different situations including: how he reacted when someone approached him and walked by him, someone in a wheelchair coming up to him, seeing another dog, and loud sounds – which all didn’t seem to bother him one bit. He passed the test on the first try! He also had to do a similar test at Penn Veterinary Hospital. They conduct yearly checkups as part of CHOP’s protocol to be a therapy dog in their pet therapy program.
Once I got my human clearances, we were off to start our visits. In a nutshell, it consists of Bosco and I visiting designated floors at CHOP and going to each hospital room and seeing if anyone would like a visit. That could be the child, the parents, visitors or even the nurses or doctors! We go into the room and say hello. I try to get Bosco as close as I can so the child can see Bosco up close and pet him. Bosco has such a laid-back personality. He seems to really love all the attention and petting that he gets, and sometimes he even gives his paw to those who ask for it!
It’s truly a wonderful experience being a volunteer. Sharing my dog with those who don’t get the chance to leave the hospital for any length of time is really rewarding – not only for me, but for Bosco, too! Bosco and I have been doing therapy work for three years now. He knows it’s time to go to work when I put his blue bandana on. He has gotten the routine down so well that after we sign in at the volunteer center at CHOP, he’s already heading to the door to get on the elevator and start doing what he does best – bringing smiles and joy to all those around him!
Lauren Buchak – Bosco’s Owner and GVH Client
There are a lot of myths about Microchips. We hope this blog helps clear up the rumors and share some great facts about microchips.
Fiction: Having a microchip implanted will hurt my pet.
Fact: No anesthetic is required for a microchip implant. The procedure is performed in the hospital and is simple and similar to administering a vaccine or a routine shot. The microchip injection comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip is the size of a small grain of rice and the process to inject it only takes a few seconds.
Fiction: Pet microchips work like global positioning devices (GPS) and tell me my pet’s location.
Fact: Pet microchips are not tracking devices they are permanent identification for your pet. They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants and do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip transmits the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.
Fiction: My pet wears a collar with tags, so he doesn’t need a microchip.
Fact: All pets should wear collar tags imprinted with their name and the phone number of their owner, but only a microchip provides a permanent ID that cannot fall off, be removed, or become impossible to read.