Defending against a dental dog

This morning we got our teeth cleaned. Our dentist had retired after our last visit (not our fault, as far as I know!), and a new dentist bought his practice. It was our first time seeing him, so we didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous about having an access challenge, and looking forward to working on some down-stay training while I was waiting for Brad’s appointment to be done.

We walked in and the staff behind the desk held up a small poodle mix dog named Winnie, saying that she is an “emotional support dog”. I don’t think she’s an emotional support animal (a dog to help with a particular individual’s disability through its mere untrained presence), but she did seem to be there as a facility dog—a type of therapy dog that is at a place regularly to provide comfort to people regardless of any disability. The office staff were delighted to have two dogs in the office, but Winnie was not so happy. She started barking a lot at Felix. Even when they put her down (luckily behind the closed door between the office/exam area and the waiting room) she was still barking for a while.

I figured it was a good chance to have Felix around distractions, and wasn’t too worried since there was a door between us. I figured at least this way I knew I wouldn’t have an access challenge. Winnie kept occasionally barking, even when the staff were on the phone trying to talk with clients.

I figured I’d wait about 10 minutes, and then do my down-stay training once Felix was more used to the waiting room. It’s a good thing I waited, because the next thing I knew, someone opened the door to the office/exam area and Winnie came running out and made a bee line towards Felix who was on my lap.

I was pushing Winnie away with my arm and legs while holding Felix back so she couldn’t get to him. Felix was just looking very confused about the whole situation. I was telling Winnie no and to go away. The office staff didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with this, so they finished up doing whatever they were doing for what felt like a few minutes but was probably 30–45 seconds before they came over and got Winnie.

After that, there was no way I was going to put Felix on the floor and risk her running out of the back and jumping on him! So we sat with Felix on my lap, and listened to her bark as we waited for Brad to be done.

The office staff started cooing and kissing at Felix eventually, and I had to remind them that he is a working dog and shouldn’t be distracted.

Eventually it was my turn. Luckily Winnie was distracted when I went to the back area, and didn’t notice us. So most of the time that I was in the chair, she was barking in the office (there are no doors between the office area and the dental exam areas).

Felix did a really good job for my teeth cleaning! He just sat on my lap and got really sleepy LOL. He wanted to stay awake, but was getting more and more tired as time went on and almost falling asleep while sitting up. He did OK being under the lead cape on my lap for X-rays, too.

When the tech was done, she left to go get the dentist and I took a quick snap of Felix on my lap. He looks a little perturbed that I accidentally woke him up when trying to get a picture of him LOL.

When the new dentist came in, Winnie followed him in. Luckily I didn’t have to say anything this time and the tech picked Winnie up and put her back in the office area to bark.

The dentist said my teeth look good and I don’t have any new cavities, yay!

And I’m happy that we don’t have to go back to this dentist. Our old dentist used to take Medicaid, which we have. But then they stopped taking it. We loved him as our dentist so much that my mom paid for us to be a part of his discount program and get two cleanings a year and a discount on fillings. But my parents can no longer do that, and of course our dentist has left anyway, so there is no need. Next year we will have to find a new dentist that takes medicaid. Hopefully they will be as good as our old dentist!

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