November 19, 2005


Family Practioner in a Lab Coat

Most people don't fully appreciate the care they receive through their CDHPs, or canine-directed health providers. Does your hound sniff your crotch, lick your nose, smell your breath, and bother you for attention when you're feeling busy, blue or stressed? If so, then it's likely you've been the beneficiary of the kind of patient-friendly housecall that human doctors stopped providing decades ago.

There's nothing new about this, of course. For years, Mike has been calling me "Dr. Hank" because I insist on smelling a puff of his breath when he gets up in the morning. You see, he has digestion problems that I have to monitor before he engages in tooth-brushing, mouth-washing and an array of other behaviors that can throw off my findings. Then there's the surpise-from-behind wet-nose test that I sometimes give Molly when she's getting dressed (a superb reflex check) as well as the tried-and-true crotch sniff as Mike and others sit on the sofa, a multi-function examination of pheromone and persperation production, hygeniene and urological health.

I must say that my family patients don't alway appreciate such efforts, but it's part of my Hankocratic Oath to maintain my practice. And the health of humans is my primary concern, even if the poor creatures don't always understand that I'm trying to help. I'm hopeful, however, that the virtues of canine medicine will become more apparent to them over time. Just last week, for example, a group of U.S. researchers told the American Medical Association that a few minutes spent with a dog can help reduce anxiety levels and perhaps even speed recovery.

"This therapy warrants serious consideration as an adjunct to medical therapy in hospitalized heart failure patients. Dogs are a great comfort," said the leader of the study Kathie Cole, a registered nurse at the University of California Medical Center in LA. Their study showed, for example, that canine medicine was able to bring down stress hormone epinephrine by an average of 17%, compared with just 2% decline brought on by a human volunteer visitor and a 7% rise for patients who were left completely alone. "This study demonstrates that even a short-term exposure to dogs has beneficial physiological and psychosocial effects on patients who want it," Cole said.

Well, of course it does. We dogs have known it for thousands of years, way back when we were licking the gashes suffered by humans during their encounters with mastadons and giant sloths. Today, we continue to treat our human pack members every day, whether they like it or not. And very seldom do we require proof of membership in a healthcare plan or even ask for a co-pay. We perform these services mainly for caninatarian reasons. And, well, because everbody should have a doctor in the family.

Thanks for the reading.I learned something new.
Wow, I would love my own personal CDHP. The only problem is my apartment building won't allow dogs. Do you think I should move to a more canine-friendly environment?
I just love your posts!

Much thanks for brightening up my day whenever I visit your blog.

Take care!
You are so right. I check my humans' breath every morning, and I also check their ears and just their general scent. You can tell a lot from that. They just think I'm wierd, but they humor me and cooperate in the daily morning breath-check. I also sniff any cuts or boo-boos they have and am very careful not to bump the injured area. When my mommy had surgery on her nose for a deviated septum, I never left her side, and I was very careful to move slowly and gently around her face.

We dogs can also sense cancer, seizures and diabetic attacks long before humans or their tests can, and humans are just now figuring this out!
hi Hank. cats are very calming to have around too! whenever my Mom is stressed, i sit with her and purr all over her.
Heh, and not covered by the HMO! -Endo
Hi Hank! My mom tells me that I'm the best medicine around for her! I guess that's a good thing. I'm not too much of a sniffer though; although I do sniff her boo-boos like Indy. But when I smell food cooking..... here I come a sniffing!!!!!!

There are so many things you can get from sniffing a crotch or licking a hand or nudging a human when they're busy.

First, you can tell what they've been eating or drinking. Then you you see if they are playful or grumpy. Third, you can let them know you love them. This third one is what really drives a lot of what you point out in you post. I really think you have something there when you say we do these things for caninitarian reasons.

After all, if our pack isn't happy and healthy, we need to make it right somehow, that's our job. We sure have a lot to teach these humans, but . . . well, they've do in a pinch. :->

Hank, I am there for ya man. I will add you to my prayers. Your family also. I just had a birthday and am looking at surgery. Think of me! Got any cute girl friends? I am soooo lonely.
Hi Sam,

Thanks. Glad to be of use.

Hi Kimananda,

Personally, yes, I'm always in favor of a more canine-friendly dwelling.

Hi Furkids,

Thanks! I enjoy visiting your blog as well.

Hi Indypindy,

You're right and great points about seizures and even cancers. That's a whole other line of research I didn't touch on.

Hi Edsel,

You're right. Cats are calming for humans, but not always for this Labrador. I've even heard that purring can somehow help the healing process. That's a mystery I don't pretend to understand but it's pretty cat cool nonetheless.

Hi Endo,

Maybe someday HMOs will cover canine care. What do you think our fee system should look like?

Hi Storm,

Sniffing is only one technique. Go with whatever's working for you. Keep up the good work.

Hi Cal,

You're right. Pack happiness and harmony are everything to a dog.

Hi Roscoe,

I'll be thinking of you, bud. Good luck with the surgery!
I couldn't agree with you more and neither could my Mommy.
She has a LOT of health problems, phobias and diseaes. Before I came along, I heard Mommy stayed in the house afraid to come out and never talked to strangers.
I wasn't meant to be hers. Just the young couple that got me as a pup also had a baby at the same time. My Daddy thought I would be good for the 4 year old boy, but I was just 6 weeks old and I made boo boo's on the floor and I sat on the baby. Well heck, he was warm and cozy. He didn't move much, so when I pulled at his foot, it was my new Mom and Dad that yelled. For what? I was trying to make him laugh and maybe learn a new trick. Human babies don't come full of energy and certainly don't know how to play.
They decided to bring me to this realy nice lady that didn't get mad at me for every thing. Instead she taught me boo boo's where better outside and when I did it there, you would have thought I learnt how to jump over the moon.
I REALLY liked her and would do anything for her to make her happy and that was so easy.
It wasn't that much longer when my Daddy told the lady that she could be mu Mommy if I wanted.
Humans are funny, The cry when they're sad and the cry when they're happy.
I taught my new Mommy how to go outside, not far at first, but we kept going further and further.
The people she was afraid of all came running up to her to see me. I could see she was getting let afraid of people and soon we were going EVERYWHERE that she could walk to, when she could walk.
I learnt that Mommy had good times and bad and during bad times, she just needed me to stay close to her. I was good at reading her and how she was feeling.
Mommy didn't know about Service Dogs until she went to City Hall even though she was so afraid. She wanted to take me with her and was shaking really badly, but she took lots of medication and said she had to do this for me and all my kind.
I'm not sure what banning was, but Mommy was determined I wasn't going anywhere away from her and she called me her angel.
Whatever she told City Hall, she made a lot of people cry.
She said we didn't win the Provincial ban because of a very BAD, bad man named Michael Bryant and al his gang of liberals that just hared my breed. I never hurt anyone, so I don't underatnd it, but Mommy worked day and night until it made her sick again.
Whatever happened in City Hall, Mommy and all the rest of the people were very happy.
The TV people wanted to come talk to Mommy at home and come to see me. Mommy said no, because she said she could read a speech, but to talk to TV people was just too scarey. But she did bring me to City Hall one time and a reporter talked to Mommy and took pictures of me and we were on the news. Mommy said it was a positive image they finally saw instead of bad stuff.
Now that Mommy knows about Service Dogs from talking to people, she is working hard at getting someone to certify me, but I'm something called 'restricted' and they won't. Still I help Mommy do everything I'm allowed to do, excep Mommy says we have boundraries because I'm not certified.
I don't know if that makes me a doctor or not, but people all say that I made a BIG change in Mommy that 3 years ago she would never have done and all the time we think up of new things.
I know she makes me do silly things that really is beyond our demeniour, bu if it makes my Mommy happy, I will do it just for th laughter and the cuddles she gives me.
I just wish she didn't have that camera thing always pointing at me when I knew she is going to put it all on her blog or home page for all the other doggies to see.
She just recently got me my own Fappr where I can tell my own story and so Mommy doesn't have to fight this all alone.
I don't have a Lab coat, but I do make a great Therapy and Service Dog for Mommy. No body calls me Dr. Shasta, but I know I've made my Mommy a lot healthiier than she was.
She also says I gave her a purpose in life ad that is to fight something called the BSL.
Mommy says it's like an out of control cancer spreading, but when we win, we should see a complete turn-around because they are watching our province very carefully.
I must say you are very handsome *blush* but remember, when Mike makes you do something silly, it's because he loves you and what's a little indignancy for all the love we get in return.
I adopted a puppy four months ago--he is 7 &1/2 months old and absolutely wonderful. But he smells my breath A LOT and I'm starting to get paranoid--wondering if I have cancer or something. I've never had a dog before. Does anyone know of any reasons other than sickness that a dog would monitor your breath several times a day? He's a Sheltie mix and always has his nose to the ground as well--gets a lot of information I guess.
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