Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Animal Life Enrichment Stories - Robyn Kesnow

Thank you Robyn Kesnow, RVT for offering a look at Animal Enrichment for our pets in the "Paw Print - Lap of Love Newsletter January 2012". 

Below are some wonderful stories about Pet Life Enrichment:

Bella is a border collie-ish girl that lived on a sprawling estate and vineyard.  Bella's main joy and task in life was to patrol the property and keep away and would be animal-intruders.  As Bella aged, she gradually adjusted her perimeter from the whole property to eventually just the main house.  Bella's mobility became inconsistent and potentially unsafe, especially around the home's fountains and pool.  Bella's people made the decision that her perimeter patrol was such an integral part of who she was, rather than sequester her to a safe room in the house, they brought in help.  Between friends, neighbors, the family and the occasional pet sitter, Bella was able to circle the home to her heart's content.  There was always someone with her during the day so she could make her rounds safely.  The community our pets can create for us may surprise you. 

Ashby is a rescued cattle dog from a shelter at 14 years old.  Not knowing him well, his new family relied on dog training basics to find what would motivate this dear deaf boy.  Many trainers will note the basic drives used to motivate or reward a dog for desired behavior: Pack, Prey, Fight and Food.  Some believe all dogs have the 4 drives, and there are usually 2 that are the highest and most likely to be rewarding to an individual dog.  After consulting with a trainer and observing Ashby in his new environment for a couple weeks, food drive and pack drive seem to be his motivators.  Armed with this information, Ashby now eats all his meals from a Aikiou bowl and has daily one on one cuddle rituals with his people before bedtime.  A little observation and honoring of him with a game, ritual and added value at meal time give this young pup a great second chance for life.

Toby is an incredibly active dog with a great family.  At 3 years old Toby experienced and injury and knee surgery.  While his situation was not permanent, his mobility and lifestyle were dramatically altered as he recovered.  The trainer found an overwhelming pack drive, to the extent the 2 human family members had to enter the home separately.  Entering at the same time and without Toby able to greet them as usually, he was going to seriously re-injure himself.  After a consultation with a more experienced trainer, the family was able to increase his food drive and interested him in Kong and chew toys in a new way by using the pack drive to build food drive.  The family also learned a safe quiet way to play tug lying down.  If Toby got up or got too aggressive, the game was over.  Toby quickly learned his new rules and his family was able to support him and even help him enjoy his recovery time.

Semie is a wonderful 18 year old cat.  Semie's been healthy her whole life and she and her person have enjoyed each others companionship for all of her years.  When Semie found herself on medication, Semie's person got creative.  Semie didn't want to take pills, shoved down her throat; and Semie's person wasn't interested in risking their great relationship for any pill.  They tried mixing it in with food, with treats, in pill pockets, compounding to liquid, injectable, this pair tried every trick known to every pet care provider and crazy cat lady with access to internet.  Finally, originally being a student of animal behavior, Semie's person considered the drives and how Semie may feel about the different areas of her cat life.  It occurred to her that outside of their bond, Semie loved to chase.  After much experimentation, Semie now gets her pills stuccoed to the side of a hard Greenie treat with about 1/4 of a pill pocket.  Her person sets her up with an 'are you ready' cue and Semie lines up on the carpet and looks back, waiting eagerly for the treat to be thrown. 

Aikiou bowl: http://aikiou.com/
Greenies and Pill Pockets: http://greenies.com/

Animal RN was founded by Robyn Kesnow, a Registered Veterinary Technician.  Seeing the need for skilled, in-home pet care Animal RN has come to be a valued service to the community of Santa Rosa California.

Our pets are now more than property; they are our friends and our family.  Animal RN strives to provide a quality of service suitable for our own pets. 

For our special needs pets, Robyn works with you and your veterinarian to be sure all protocols are followed strictly.  Whether you need regular insulin dosages or temporary help while recovering from a surgery or illness, you will have complete confidence that your friends are in good hands.
For more information:
Phone:   707 695 2500
Robyn and a patient playing modified ball

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