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The Declaw: A Conversation with Dr. Mike Petty and Dr. Narda Robinson
March 2022

Dr. Narda Robinson (NR): Hi Mike. It’s so good to have you here because we’re going to be talking about declawing cats, and I like speaking to you. You have a lot of experience in this area and I know that Michigan has been thinking about this as a state ban. It’s come up in Maryland and New York so it seems to be a trend where the laws are becoming more restrictive for declaw.

Dr. Mike Petty (MP): Correct. And I like to talk about this topic because I have been practicing since 1980, so for 42 years. And for over half of that time I declawed cats, and it was just accepted as normal. And I think for all the reasons a lot of people think about it. And I’m proud to say I have never done an ear crop on a dog. I saw that as a totally unnecessary and barbaric thing to do from my opinion, despite pressure from employers that said I needed to do it, and I just said, no I’m not going to. And you know, sometimes you know for certain things, you have to have the courage of your conviction.

But declaw–we have cats that come into the clinic that claw us. I know my mother, we had a cat that I had adopted, and she used to say things like “some days I just want to cut that cat’s feet off” because it was wrecking our furniture and so forth. And you know we didn’t know, or have, or understand the tools about how to handle a cat with claws.

I’ll tell you what really started to switch me around, and there were a couple of things. One is I became very involved with pain medicine about 20 years ago. And at that point in time I just started to recognize how many cats were suffering from neuropathic phantom pain post declaw that we just didn’t recognize. We just thought that maybe it was normal for a cat to stand there looking around, not seeming like it’s in pain, but holding up one foot for a couple minutes. And that’s not a normal cat posture, and I realized how much damage we were doing. So I thought, you know what? I’m going to do declaws, I’m going to do them right. So we started doing nerve blocks, whole foot nerve blocks, we had cats on medication, buprenorphine and NSAIDs, and so forth for a week out. And we were still seeing some of this. And then as I started to do pain, get pain referrals, a huge percentage of them were owners that were frustrated post-declaw.

So I think message number one is we are hurting these cats much more than we know, because people don’t report the signs properly, or we don’t recognize the signs. And that’s kind of a tragedy. The other thing I think, and so eventually this led me to just quit doing them all together, in fact I said to myself “I’m not going to do it unless someone comes to me and they’re immune compromised and this is the only way they can keep their cat.” And then a study came out and I hate to say this ‘a study’ because it sounds like the big lie when you can’t quote it, but basically they were saying that the risk factor of someone that has full blown AIDS or something like that getting scratched by the cat is almost no different than a regular person. I thought, you know, that’s it. And in the two years that I had said I only do immune compromised people, I never had one person ask. So I just quit doing it all together.

I think the second thing is, what was I afraid of? And what was I afraid of about stopping declaws? And I think it was twofold. One, I don’t want to piss off my clients. I didn’t want them to say “you know what, I’m going to go somewhere else that will do a declaw.” And that has happened but pretty rarely. I mean we take the time. When someone calls up for declaw we don’t say “no we don’t do them” and then hang up. We take it as an opportunity to educate them and let them know why we don’t do declaws. We explain the procedure. We explain the complications and we give them the AAFP resources on how to live with a clawed cat.

Here was probably my biggest stumbling block, what I was afraid of. Do I want to see 10 cats a day with their claws, upset in my exam room, and get the hell scratched out of me? And it’s like well you know what? I signed up to do this job, and I’m a veterinarian, and you know that goes with the risk of treating an animal, that there might be an issue. Surprise surprise. Our fractious interactions with cats dropped precipitously with cats with claws. They no longer tried to bite.

And that was a big issue. They would come in, they’d be fearful, maybe from their previous experience of getting declawed, but you know, they just they were much more workable, and I, and this is the honest truth, I cannot think of the last time a cat scratched me. I have cats that have claws, they whap you but it’s their warning right? And you know my wife said it, she put it really well, she said “You know what? That is the cat telling you, I got a knife and I’m going to show it to you and you need to back off, or I’m going to use the knife,” instead of I no longer have a knife so I’m just going to shoot you with my gun, which is their teeth, okay? And we see that a lot with dogs too, I mean you know dogs they growl, that’s like I got a knife don’t make me use it.

And so we work with cats when they exhibit that behavior to try to calm them down, to find out what we need to do. Do we need to reschedule this for a different day with maybe a little gabapentin or trazadone on board or something like that. But generally it’s just a matter of slowing down, leaving the cat alone in the exam room for 10 minutes alone with the owner, coming back in, the cats acclimated itself to the surroundings, and we work with it. But we have had no scratches.

I take that back. We had a feral cat in last week and it did scratch one of my technicians, but this was a totally feral cat that we had to do something to, so that’s like the only thing in memory. And we haven’t had a cat bite wound since we have stopped doing declaws. And we know that cat bites are the number one workers comp complaint in veterinary clinics.

So when I ask you what you’re afraid of, I mean I would really like to hear from people out there, what are you afraid of? And maybe I’ve addressed it, but those are my fears, losing clients, and dealing with cats and claws.

NR: Right, right. Well you know one thing that our colleagues, veterinarians, might bring up is that there might be an immune compromised person. And maybe they’re told for that outdated reason, if you don’t get your cat declawed, you can’t have them anymore. Or you’re too high a risk, when you bring up the issue about biting, which is more of a risk. And yeah there’s the cultivation of our belief systems from veterinary school and before, and just what’s prevailing out there.

And then there are facts coming in from various studies that are showing, yeah that’s not necessarily true, or that is not true. Like that study from British Columbia about shelter cats that they studied “whether there was an increase in cat relinquishment for destructive scratching behavior, or a change in overall feline surrender intake and euthanasia, or a change in average length of stay in a BC shelter after the provincial legislation banning the elective onychectomy,” or the declaw or what we should say was the amputation. And their findings suggest that “the legislation banning declaw” so to speak “does not increase the risk of feline shelter relinquishment for destructive behavior, or overall, and is unlikely to have a significant effect on shelter euthanasia or length of stay.”

And you know, and so and just one by one these arguments are being countered by more data. There are still individual situations so yeah what are veterinarians afraid of? And is it of being fired from their corporate job that’s killing them, or non-corporate job? Maybe it’s that, but it’s like that could be a great thing that you would look elsewhere.

For me, I mean I have never done a declaw. There was one article I downloaded that it was chilling to me. It was more in the social science realm and it was written by somebody that had been interviewing people, I forget if she was working in the field as well, maybe as a vet tech, but she talked about this conversation that she had with a vet while he was performing this surgery. And she just, it was all like written out like this, but she’s saying how he said “yeah I don’t like doing them,” and then what this author said was, crunch, cut. I mean it’s like between his statements there was this crushing, tearing of you know. It was just this this awful thing of interposed tearing apart of flesh and crushing of bone or whatever and then he’d go “but what are we going to do?” Crush, tear. You know it’s just like 10 amputations of interposed between yeah “I don’t really think it’s a good thing” crack, you know? I couldn’t even read beyond that. That was so upsetting.

And so for me, if you asked me about, I’ve never done it, but it’s like what I want to prevent is it ever carrying that on my heart. And just we don’t know what’s going to happen in the afterlife, but sometimes what I think about is how we might meet others who we’ve encountered, or injured, or whatever and imagine instead of, if there is some kind of afterlife and we do meet others. And what if instead of a cat that was this size, what if something, some way that we were in the spirit world or whatever happens that we were equal size and it’s like if somebody said “why did you do that to me?” I mean just that accountability on a soul level struck me early on especially when I was in college and was doing a little bit of animal research with mice, and it’s like oh my god I cannot, what do I do with this? I am responsible for this. I am responsible for that electric shock, or for whatever happened, and it’s like oh this cannot be right.

MP: Right. I agree and I understand the whole thing, what if we encountered them. There was an animated show, an adult animated show and someone taught their dog to talk with this device and the first thing the dog said was “where are my balls?” You know it’s like what do they really think about us? What if they could conceptualize that we did this to them? I totally understand.

Going back to the thing about the declaw bans and the statistics that are coming out. They looked at one, two, three, four, five cities that outlawed declaws. Santa Monica, Burbank, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. And these are places that had outlawed declaws for 10 years or more. And they looked at the intake rates of the declaws and intake rates of people surrendering cats. And that’s one of the biggest arguments that you hear from sometimes veterinarians, but also people you know, I would get rid of my cat if it wasn’t declawed. But yet you know it dropped And I don’t know how well this shows up but the high is the 100 is the intake rate in the previous five years compared to dropping down. And in some cities it’s like really significant. I mean we’re talking like almost down to half of the number.

NR: And what was coming down, the relinquishment?

MP: The relinquishment of cats yeah. So once they could no longer declaw, people kept their cats because there were less destructive other things, the biting, peeing outside the litter box, things along that line. Those all decreased. Then people were willing to try to redirect the cat’s scratching behavior. But they’re not willing to put up with a cat that’s peeing on everything they own and that increases with declaws.

NR: Good point. I also I have up here from the American Veterinary Medical Association the welfare implications of declawing of domestic cats from 2019. They did a literature review. They explained what it is, what it actually involves in cutting. And then they have reasons for declawing and then there’s a human benefits. And then they have this section on cat benefits, “might be an alternative to relinquishment, outdoor housing, or euthanasia.” But what we’re seeing now is data that counterweights or contradicts that. And so yeah “declawing is also indicated for the benefit of some cats affected by disease conditions such as paronychia or neoplasia of the nail bed.” Well in some of these jurisdictions that they’re outlawing declawing they’re saying except for the health consideration of the cat.

MP: Right, right yeah. I looked, I didn’t have a chance to look at all the studies but I went down the reference pages and a lot of these references were from like the 80s, and there was no volume of data because probably in the 80s there wasn’t a single place in the United States that had switched from declaw to anti-declaw. So there’s no statistics. You can’t go to a country. I was talking with my friends from Finland just before we started this and I said this is what I’m doing and they all roll their eyes. It’s like it’s so freaking barbaric, it’s contrary to what we think of the United States. I can’t believe it. The only time we could ever declaw a cat here is there would have, it would have to benefit the cat in some way. There’s something wrong with its claw you know.

I was teaching at the NAVC Institute and it was a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago, and already at that point there were people were saying “you know maybe we shouldn’t be doing declaws.” And it was a pain course and someone came up to me and was like kind of embarrassedly said “I have to do declaws where I work. It’s required. Can you tell me how to do a proper block?” and there was a veterinarian from India who was standing there and I was explaining it and she was just confused. And I said “do you ever do declaws in India?” She says “well sometimes dogs like will get that claw caught and we have to take it off’ and I said no declaws where you take the claws, surgically remove the claws from cats. I thought I was going to have to catch her. She swooned. She didn’t even know such a thing exists. And we have this whole egocentric idea of our country being the best in everything and here’s a country that many people in our country would consider second or third rate, but yet they have the humanity to say you know this is just on some level, this is wrong and we are not going to do it.

NR: Oh absolutely. And I think that the term declaw is misleading to so many people because it’s actually the amputation of your distal phalanx. And you know it can have all kinds of problems. And in the AVMA article, the other complications that we could think of hemorrhage, most commonly reported complication. I remember in school seeing all these cats all wrapped up, the blood is coming through, because I would not want to be around, I was forced to see the complications, and that’s claw regrowth, and there can also be like bone chips there so the cat’s like they’re walking on a pebble in their shoe, but all the time. Wound dehiscence, paralysis, radial nerve paralysis, from improper tourniquet application after surgery, distal limb ischemia, so improper bandage application, serious injury, disease, multiple things, increased susceptibility to immune problems and asthma, cystitis skin disorders, probably from all the stress, other reported complications, draining tracts, sequestration of the third phalanx, so again just bone issues, exposure necrosis of the second phalanx. So even more and just on and on. I was debating whether to mention this but to me, I don’t know did you see that movie The Piano from way long ago?

MP: I did not.

NR: So for anybody that has, but it was this woman and she had a bad marriage, I mean from long ago, from centuries ago or whatever. She would play the piano and she would love that. I’m probably reporting it wrong, but anyway so then she got this piano teacher and they were sort of like falling in love kind of, and then the husband found out and it was the most traumatic thing of, to injure her, he took her to this block, so everybody close your ears, but you know this like trunk of a tree that was cut off, and he put her finger down and he whacked off the distal aspect of her finger, and I mean it was like I thought I was gonna die when I saw it. I can only watch cartoons. I can’t watch movies that have bad things like that. But the piano teacher made her like a little faux distal phalanx there. But every time she played the piano from then on you could hear that clicker as a reminder. But it’s like that’s essentially, what’s going on with cats. You are, maybe it’s not with an axe or something, but it may or may not be done in a very careful fashion. And so you know as we were talking about, before we started, if a veterinarian says “well if you do it really carefully” and then there’s the argument if you do it on kittens, very young kittens, that that might be acceptable. So what are your thoughts on that?

MP:  So yeah you know, and so here’s the part where I really try not to get too preachy because you know you can’t win anyone over with preaching, and telling them they’re wrong.

NR: Right.

MP: But you can explain you know from my point of view. And so I remember I did declaws for over half my career, and I used to have a lot of these arguments, and I used to say you got to do it when they’re young because that way their memory of claws is only weeks instead of years. But it still doesn’t go forward into allowing them to do normal behaviors, the stretching, the scratching, the marking, that they really want to do. I think more importantly the argument I used to tell people when they asked how the procedure was done, I’d say well they have this retractable bone that fits underneath the second phalanx so you’re really not shortening their toes. But in the back of my mind I’m looking at the anatomy book and even then I knew I was telling a lie. Because it doesn’t 100% retract and there’s a use for it you know. It’s there and it’s supposed to be there, and you’re cutting things that shouldn’t be. It’s kind of like one of the things I learned when I got certified in rehabilitation was the terrible effect of removing dew claws in young dogs. And I’m gonna say the number wrong but it’s something like there’s like seven ligaments and tendons that attach the dew claw to the rest of the foot. And it destabilizes the carpus. And that if you look at every dog that’s had dew claw removals as a puppy when it can’t remember, and then you look at that dog when it’s six years old, they bend their carpus like we do, like this far, instead of having the carpal pad touch the antebrachium. So these things all do have long-term effects if only we look for them.

NR: Right right right. It makes me think of people that have had plantar fasciitis surgery and cutting into that fascia that you need that stability, that it’s better to have that stability if you don’t have to have that surgery, number one, because that is important for the architecture of the foot. And so in the quadruped they are weight bearing there on the front and that so much of the pain that we attribute or default to plantar fasciitis, if we don’t know any better, can come from the calf, and it could be radiating pain.

MP: Right exactly. I had plantar fasciitis surgery. I was talked into it a long time ago, 35 years ago now. I have arthritis in that foot, the navicular bone is displaced upward, my toes are contracted. And when I started to have plantar fasciitis a few years later, and it felt really good afterwards, it was like thank god I got this done, but it was temporary. Two years later I had it in the other foot. The first one was done by a podiatrist. I saw an orthopedic surgeon two years later and she says “nobody ever dies with plantar fasciitis, it goes away eventually, and just leave it.”

NR: Yeah yeah. And then get acupuncture for your deep flexors. So I know that you’re kind of dealing with this with Michigan right now. So what are the issues that people may not realize, like what’s frustrating you with the lack of information, or maybe the vet met association? I know in Colorado the Veterinary Medical Association banned, or didn’t, opposed the ban to my understanding.

MP: And that’s the same in Michigan. The bill was actually about to go into committee in March of 2020, and then it everything fell apart. So now that COVID is slowly regressing I’m hoping that it can be brought back up again. I’m trying to get one city in particular to enact a city-wide band as kind of a shining example for the rest of Michigan.

I’m sure I’ll get hate mail, but you’re right, it was the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, is firmly opposed to a declaw ban. Most of the veterinarians I talk to are opposed to a declaw ban. But when I talk to them and talk about my experience, at least they’re paying me lip service and saying they’re changing their mind so. It’s one thing to say, I agree. It’s another thing when they put their vote in you know.

NR: Right right. I mean too if you’re losing clients, if that was one thing that they were worried about then it seems like so many practices are so busy right now, maybe that’s not as much of a consideration.

MP: And I don’t think I lost more than a handful of clients a year because we took the time.

NR: Yeah. Just to perform a surgery like that where the fiber of your being is so opposed to it, just the damage that you come away with, the residue, even personally. Do you get hate mail for your views?

MP: No. People I think realize that maybe I’m on the right side of history on this one and they don’t want to publicly give hate mail. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I wouldn’t get it from veterinarians if I were to get it, if I were the known driving force about getting this passed.

NR: And their arguments would be like we’ve discussed like, oh well the cat’s going to be euthanized if they can’t or blah blah blah.

MP: It would be all the same arguments. And also in this country I think we’re unique. The imposition of politicians making decisions for us. This is why. We put millions of cats and dogs to sleep every year in the humane societies. And you know countries like Finland and Nordic and Scandinavian countries put like zero to sleep. Finland doesn’t even have a humane society. Norway has one with a capacity of 28 animals. It’s against the law to spay and neuter in Norway unless there’s a medical reason, but yet they don’t have a population issue. And the reason I’m bringing this up, I think this transfers over to the United States about our cowboy attitude about you know, live and die free and don’t tell me what I can’t do, and I’m going to let my animal breed indiscriminately and so on.

NR: Unless you’re a female and you got pregnant through whatever reason and then you’re forced to carry that.

MP: Right right.

NR: So it matters who is it that needs to have the right to call the shots on somebody else or their own body. I mean it’s not an even playing field.

MP: Right. It is not.

NR: And as you’ve alluded to before, whether we’re going to cut tails because some club said your dog, if it wants to show, has to have a tail this size and not bigger, or the ears as we’ve said. I mean it’s all that, but it is heartening to see that there’s more permission to discuss it so to speak in our profession, that more are speaking out. And I remember when one of the main proponents of the declaw bans came through our acupuncture course, and I hadn’t even heard about that opposition before, and to see how far she has come with her mission, and to see other people, other veterinarians speaking out, becoming politically active in their state or their city or whatever, it all takes a lot of time, and maybe we’ll die before we actually see our own results. But I think all the voices that are saying no, and giving options, and making this decision for themselves, there is definite progress.

MP: Right I have a little lapel button that I give out to my kitten owners that says “my vet loves my cat more than my couch” and people…

NR: Wait your vet loves?… oh yeah.

MP: My vet loves my cat more than my couch.

NR: More than the vet loves the couch.

MP: Right. So in other words he is not willing to sacrifice the cat’s claws just to save your couch right?

NR: I really love that.

MP: And I want people to know this is a personal thing. This is something I really believe in, you know? That it’s I love your cat. I don’t give a damn about how much money you paid for your couch.

NR: Right right. And I don’t give a damn about how much money I pay for them either. It’s more like if I am to purchase some kind of upholstered piece of furniture, I plan that that will be, because you know I have more than one cat, I mean that’s going to be something that’s going to happen so. Or you know maybe if I put little things, if I was determined for them not to do that, then I could take measures. But I’m just like I love cats. They’re part of the family. I love to see them stretch. I love to see them appreciate the furniture, maybe in a different way than I do, but it really doesn’t bother me.

MP: Right. And so my daughter’s cat decided it was going to use a corner of our furniture as a scratching post and she went and bought the double-sided sticky tape and put it on and that was it. It was only that one piece that the cat really wanted to go after.

NR: Right.

MP: So and she redirected it to scratching posts. And you know there’s ways.

NR: Yeah. You know curiously for a couple of my most recent adoptions, who are siblings, and they’re 11 months old now, they invented the concept of using a foam roller, which I wasn’t using as much. I had a bunch of different ones so I just had it kind of tucked under a little shelf. And it was about the same size, like I guess it was four feet and I could keep it upright so it could just be living there. And they started scratching that and it’s like wow they really love that as a scratching post. And then when it’s all torn up enough I’ll buy another one. And it’s such a magnet for them to scratch, I don’t know why, it really is. And so I just got three more, planning on them going through, because it kind of shreds it, but they really enjoy it. So just another use for the foam rollers if you haven’t gotten rid of them, but it has to be nice and big, four feet or whatever. And they can stretch, helps their back, it’s good for them to do that.

MP: Right, it really is.

NR: So where to from here, just carrying on?

MP: Yep carrying on fighting the fight, and I shouldn’t say, it’s not a fight. I mean it’s a struggle and it’s an education struggle.

NR: It is.

MP: And I think the more people that are educated, and I think the comment that kind of flew out of my mouth a little bit ago about being on the right side of history, and you know take a stand before it’s a law so that you can proudly say, you know what? I supported a declaw ban before it was required of me.

NR: Yeah and I think that’s part of what we’re doing today is that we’re speaking out in favor of the bans. I don’t think people should be declawing except if there was a nail problem. And so just voicing our opinion and being part of that just growing call for change .

MP: Yeah you know, and maybe this is a minor reason for it, but I wonder what happens if you move to a foreign country that bans declaws and you try to take a declawed cat in? I don’t know if there’s any issues with that. I do know I had a client with a Boxer who had a traumatic tail amputation from some door slamming accident and they moved to Germany. And they were not allowed to bring their dog in until they provided all the medical records from the emergency room that showed that this was a traumatic amputation. I mean you can’t even bring an altered dog like that into some countries. So you know it’s maybe a minor reason to do it, but it could be a reason in the future you know.

NR: I just love that expanded view. And yeah, the non-Americo-centric kind of focus.

MP: Right right. Well that’s wonderful.

NR: Yeah next TPLO.

MP: Absolutely.

NR: Terrible TPLO. Well thanks. Do you have any kind of sources for reading that you’ve thought about or where you have found kind of strength in this?

MP: The American Association of Feline Practitioners. And now Fear Free has finally kind of gotten on board. They verbally have said they didn’t think it should be done but I think it’s now in their charter that you cannot be Fear Free practice if you do declaws, which is good for them. But the American Association of Feline Practitioners has lots of tips for owners and you don’t have to belong to share those pages.

NR: Right right. So I just brought it up. It looks like is one of their public facing things. And they do have their statement because I know they had it like way back and then I think the most recent one is 2017 and it says they “strongly oppose declawing as an elective procedure. It is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with alternatives to this. If owners are considering declawing they must be provided with complete education about feline declawing including the anatomic details of what a declaw entails, i.e amputation of the third phalanx, and the importance of proper pain management. In addition alternatives to surgery and the risks and benefits of surgery need to be discussed. It is important that owners understand it and that scratching is a normal feline behavior, both inherited and learned. The primary reason for scratching is to maintain the necessary claw motion used in hunting and climbing. In addition it is done to re-establish claw sharpness via husk or sheath removal and to stretch the body. Finally it is an important means of visual and olfactory communication. Scratching can be directed to areas that owners consider appropriate.” And then they outline the following steps to prevent destructive scratching and alternatives to declaws. So yeah more and more organizations are coming around and then that would further bolster the foundation for those people that are calling upon legislative change to show you know.

MP: Right. And I guess maybe if we can’t get legislative change, maybe we could get legislative change to say if you do declaws this is what you have to present to the owner you know. And because I think a lot of owners, if they just read what you just read, they’d say maybe not.

NR: Well yeah. And same with TPLO. If they learned all the different complications that can result in the long-term pain. I mean it really is kind of, there are similarities, and people don’t know. And then they too could have a lot of regret like, how come I did that to my cat? I didn’t understand it fully. It just seemed like this is what you do, or did. This is what the vet suggested, or whatever. So as with so many other things, client education is important, as well as veterinary support for following your heart and doing things that you are ethically sound with.

MP: Right, exactly. We came into this profession, if we wanted to make money we would have been a dentist right? We came into this profession because we love animals first, not to make our fortunes.

NR: Right right right. And then some leave the profession. So many have left the profession because of various reasons, but I think that as we see with people like that you and I know well, I mean people that do medical acupuncture and related techniques, and how joyful a practice that that can be, and your pain medicine clients and patients, and everything, that it’s a very different environment to practice in because people are more happy. And they’re grateful. And you’re doing things that you resonate with. And so you know you don’t have to leave the profession to do something else. You just have to decide who you are, what you want to do, what makes you happy, how you can express your love for animals in the best way possible, and so there is a different path that you can follow.

MP: Right and I wonder if that wouldn’t be a future topic we can talk about technicians and nurses and how we are forcing them out of the profession by the way we treat them as veterinarians.

NR: Yeah let’s do it.

MP: My technicians stay with me for you know six weeks or six years. There’s no in between. They realize right away that they’re not going to get away with their old stuff. But they learn that I can love this new stuff. And you know I have two and a half technicians for me, and a lot of veterinarians are like really? I have like one per vet and but you know we utilize them.

NR: Yeah. Oh definitely let’s do it. But I’m curious, when you said it could be six weeks if they want to stay with the old stuff, is that old stuff meaning, you know, ‘bruticane’ as they say, just handling animals really not nicely?

MP: Right. Or that they were looking for a job that they could hide in the back room. I give them purposeful, meaningful work. And some people would rather just draw up vaccines and anesthetize animals or whatever, and not do anything else. But you know I absolutely depend on my technicians, both from a diagnostic point of view and from a treatment point of view and so on.

NR: Well yeah. From the client perspective, since I don’t treat my own animals, and wouldn’t want to, but the veterinarian that I see, I trust her to select, even from within the staff, but to only have those technicians or nurses that she would want for her own animals to work with mine. And maybe they’re all good in there because I’ve not seen a not wonderfully supportive technician. But when my animal goes in for a dental and leaves my care I want everyone that engages with him or her to be loving their job, and to be taking really good care of my animal. Because I’m entrusting my animal to them so I want that veterinarian to have the foresight to have people working for them that are going to be there for the right reasons.

MP: Right right. And allow them to be there for the right, allow them to exhibit that natural behavior.

NR: That’s right. Yeah. Okay well, as always I love speaking with you and I look forward to our next conversation.

MP: And if we’ve helped just even a couple of veterinarians change their mind it was very successful.

NR: Right right. And I think we’re both feeling better for just being her.