Image by Karsten Winegeart


It's coming to that time of year again...

Yep, Christmas!

Being the practice manager of Blair Street Veterinary Hospital is a position I love and a fabulous place to work. Those of you who are clients would know me as the lady behind the desk between 9am -2pm, Monday – Friday and the voice that answers many of the phone calls during those times.  I am also at most of our Puppy Preschool classes and enslaved by Darcy-Edweiner, our in-house Dachshund pup.

I wanted to share a few funny thoughts and some that are a bit more serious, ponder with you some different ways of thinking about things and hopefully some enlightening “why didn’t I think of it like that before?” moments.

Consider, if you will, Christmas Day, from a Dog’s perspective;

There is a lot of hype in the house, there is this weird tree that doesn’t quite smell right, covered in lovely catch & fetch balls (baubles) and tug toys (tinsel), both of which I am not allowed to play with. The worst thing about this tree of weirdness, is I am certainly not allowed to pee on it, (like I do on the trees outside). There are some cool-looking and even-better-smelling boxes under the tree, again, I am not allowed to investigate, rip apart or dig into any of them despite some pretty awesome smells coming from some of them. Then, there is the kitchen with the delicious, droolworthy smells emanating from it! Don’t get me started on the rubbish! My goodness, how I am longing to go bin diving! Then, suddenly, all of these weird people start coming into my home. They are loud! They grab and lick at all of my human family (hugs & kisses), smack me on the top of the head (patting) and sort of loudly say “hi”, with their face coming towards my face, baring their teeth at me (smiling and making eye contact)! How can it be that when I got a bit cranky with all this going on, I get told “Bad Dog” and get locked away?

Okay, are you starting to understand where I am coming from?

Our dogs are pretty good at learning to read their family’s body language and routine, but it’s no wonder there can be incidents with dogs in people’s homes that don’t end well. Watch out for your best furry friend, get to know his body language, look for the signs when he is uncomfortable, don’t wait for him to growl or cower in the corner. Have his back like he would have yours in an uncomfortable situation. Just because we are so busy with festivities, be mindful of how overwhelming Christmas can be for our pets.

Some other things you probably already know, but let’s touch on some foody points.

Don’t give your dog treats that are delicious to us, but potentially toxic to your dog.

Onions, (includes stuffing) grapes, chocolate, cooked bones, processed meat, alcohol, certain nuts, blue cheese, xylitol (in lollies and ice cream) are just a few. If you are not sure, Google will be able to help you. Watch out, too, for some of the raw-hide treats that are promoted at Christmas time. The chemicals and colouring used, you can tell just by looking at them, that they really are not going to be any good to consume.  Watch out for the fat off the BBQ. This is a big issue that can cause Pancreatitis. Basically, we see so many animals come in vomiting or with diarrhoea due to what they have eaten. It can be really expensive to treat and, of course, after hours, Veterinarian call out fees hurts the hip pocket. Watch out for toys too. Trust me, you do not want that cute toy to be chewed up and swallowed, causing a bowel obstruction that needs major surgery.

There are days when being behind our counter with my job is really hard! People sometimes look at me like I am the Grim Reaper and, to be honest, I feel that way some days too. It’s tragic if an animal needs expensive surgery, due to some really basic things that have not been watched out for, and occasionally, a decision must be made to put a beloved pet to sleep as the medical bills are not within someone’s budget. Honestly, it is heartbreaking. Every single one of our staff members are animal lovers. Its why we do what we do. To be told “you don’t care about my dog, he is going to die because of you!” is so unbelievable untrue, not to mention incredibly hurtful. We are not a credit facility, and if we gave everyone credit who asked for it, we could not stay in business to keep other animals healthy.

I promise, just have a think about some of the things I have written and it could potentially save thousands of dollars and possible heartache.

Be kind to our amazing Vets and Nurses. There are some nights, after 5 or 6 call outs, when its just not possible to answer another phone call or drive to the clinic again. Being on call 24/7 is part of the job, but there are limits to what they can do. Don’t even get me started on compassion fatigue. People don’t always see the tears we shed at saying good bye to furry friends, even the ones we don’t know; we still care for every single one that comes in our clinic doors.

If you have made it to the end of my little story, thank you. I hope you have perhaps had a smile; learnt something you hadn’t considered before, or can share some enlightening information with someone else. Please, go and spend time with your pet; They adore you, don’t judge and are ever so grateful to spend anytime they can with you.

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas season with your family and fury friends.


Practice Manager Blair Street Veterinary Hospital.