Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pet Expo Hhmms and Haaahhs

A couple of weeks ago, our new business set up a booth at The Super Pet Expo in Edison, NJ.  It was a much bigger deal than any of us could have imagined and it was amazing.  The amazing part happened after a little bit of drama involving a dead car battery, a banner that wouldn't hang straight, and unlocking the secrets of the expo hall's hidden wifi network-but that is another blog entry in itself.

The entire weekend we spoke with people all day- and it was encouraging to be around so many like-minded rescue groups, veterinarians, animal lovers, and pet owners.  We met hundreds of kind people and got to meet their wonderful dogs.  And one snake.  And a monkey.

The point of us going there was to connect with people and get our names out there- google us and you'll find us, but some people weren't really looking but happened to stumble upon our booth.

The end result of this exciting weekend was education.  Yes, we booked a few appointments for new clients who have since walked into our clinic and trusted us to spay or neuter their pets.  But the intrinsic value was far greater- reaching out to people who were brave enough to ask us why we do what we do, and why it's important.  We had the opportunity to dispel some common arguments- here are a couple...

1.  My children need to understand the miracle of life.  While I agree watching little puppies and kittens grow  is wonderful, there are plenty of movies and books on the subject.  And there are no long term responsibilities associated with it and you get more sleep.
2.  We need to get one litter just to make a little money before she has the surgery.  Yes you can sell puppies.  But you might not get what you want for them.  Is your breed registered?  Have they had the appropriate (and ethical) veterinary screenings to make sure there are no genetic problems?  How much do you realistically think you will get for your puppies?  Will it offset the cost of feeding the mom and pups, vaccinating and deworming them, and giving them appropriate medical care if mom or puppies gets sick?  Although you can sell them, they are still living things, which require a much greater commitment than selling food or clothing.   Very few people make money on breeding animals.  Most in fact, lose money.  Financials aside, if you go down that road, and have puppies, who are you selling them to?  Will they be a loving pet owner?  Will they give the pet the care it deserves?  Are they going to spay and neuter the puppy?  Are you going to spay your dog after just one litter?  If the 2 latter things don't happen, you have further contributed to the pet overpopulation problem.
3.  My dog needs to sire one litter because if not he will go crazy.  We actually heard this one a lot over the weekend.  To be honest, I hadn't heard this one before so I wasn't even sure how to respond.  I don't know where this came from, but let's be clear.  Dogs and cats are not people.  They are lovely, and they have emotions and they do think things through in terms of conditioned responses.  But they don't think about what "could have been" like we do.  Their life of celibacy will not weigh them down and have a bearing on their personality.  It will give them more time to focus on bonding with you as a pet owner.
4.  My pet will get fat.  Maybe, but let's not pretend that obesity is a problem of spayed and neutered pets.  It is a problem in all pets.  It's one of the number one health problems that veterinarians deal with.  And the reasons for it mirror the reasons people are too fat-they eat too much and they don't exercise enough.  If you pet is fat, cut back the food.  Exercise them more.  See results.  This requires discipline, I know (just like in people).  But the concept couldn't be simpler.

I'm sure we heard more, but these are the ones that stood out.  Myths dispelled.  We are here to help you and your pets, and to help the community one surgery at a time.  So what are you waiting for?

Dr. H