Sunday, March 12, 2006
Billy Ray Gets His Shot
Billy Ray got his second DHPP vaccine today. Before today, he was not adequately protected against distemper and parvovirus and other deadly diseases, and could not touch the ground. In order to keep him safe, we had to carry him everywhere, and could only put him down in areas of the shelter that had been disinfected with bleach.
Billy Ray is only twelve weeks old, but he already weighs twenty-four pounds.
Like all puppies, Billy Ray is utterly adorable, and everyone wants to pet him. A dozen times a day someone asks to see Billy Ray, so we bring him out and hold him while visitors fuss and coo over him. We strain. "Would you like to hold him?" we ask. For most puppies, the answer is an enthusiastic yes, but very few people want to hold Billy Ray.
Don't get me wrong; we are thrilled to bring him out to meet everyone who wants to meet him. We don't know which of these visitors will be the ones to take Billy Ray home, and all the attention is great for his socialization. In order to grow up into a friendly, outgoing, well-adjusted dog, Billy Ray needs to meet as many people as possible during this formative time in his life. We welcome all the attention he gets. It's just that he's heavy.
I know what you must be thinking: Why don't they have a clean, disinfected space where people can visit with puppies? We do. It's called the puppy room, it's disinfected with bleach after each use, and it's on the opposite side of the shelter from the kennels where this puppy is housed. Carrying Billy Ray to the puppy room is a serious workout. We do it, but for the people who only want to pet him for a minute, it's easer to just brace ouselves against a wall and hold him.
But that's all over. Billy Ray got his shot, so now he can walk on the ground.
We all breathed a big sigh of relief today.