Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ireland's non-existent dog-culture

So...last week I took the dogs to the vet. They were due for their bordatella shot which is a requirement for them to boarded. And since they are being boarded in October for Texas-OU weekend, I wanted to make sure all the paperwork was in order. This was our first Irish vet experience.

Ireland doesn't really have what one would call a dog-culture yet. You can travel all around western continental Europe and it seems at times that dogs are more welcome in public than children. But in Ireland this is a foreign concept. Dogs are still primarily considered working animals in this very rural-minded society. Even their animal cruelty laws are a bit behind the times. But there are several very good organizations working to fix that. So they are becoming aware, but are very far behind.

And the concept of catering to people like ourselves that would gladly pay to travel with our dogs, is very far away from reality. Though dogs are welcome at hotels all across the US and continental Europe, there are not any hotels in Ireland where this is a possibility and even very few guest houses that make pets welcome. It makes TJ & Mackenzie very sad. But back to the vet...

The closest vet to our house is a 45 minute walk. Another product of the lack of dog-culture: very few vets in the city-most are in the rural areas. It's a clinic, so walk-ins only. We headed off on a bright sunny afternoon. Luckily we only had to wait about 5 minutes, so that was nice. And our vet was very knowledgeable and helpful (she is from Spain). We got TJ some medicated shampoo for his allergies that have flared up even more than in Austin. And they both got their shots. While there the vet noticed Mackenzie has a heart murmur. She said for now, just keep coming to annual check-ups, but if I notice her refusing to go on walks or coughing, to bring her in immediately. Those are signs of heart failure. While I'm not really that worried about her heart since she doesn't show any signs of calming down...ever, I thought it was a good comparison to the animal health care we have in the states. If you google "dog heart murmur" all the sites say that your vet will likely do an ultrasound or echo cardiogram to determine the cause of the murmur. But here, we are supposed to just watch for signs of cardiac arrest!

Funny side note, as we were waiting to be seen, TJ was called over by a woman to say hi. He obliged and I turned to see what he was doing and the woman sitting in the next seat was standing on her seat. I pulled TJ away and she apologized saying she was terrified of dogs. Ummmm...you're sitting in a vets office and my dog is less than 15 lbs. Anyway.

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