My Pediatric Dentist workdays are very long and I’m sure yours are, too. If you have little ones at home then doubly so. When our kids were little, the alarm clock went off at 5:30, if I was lucky. Usually, I was awake a bit before that because one of the kids was up early. Then we were off to the races. Breakfast, school lunches, planning my day, discussing which one of the kids had basketball or soccer practice or their bible study group. What time would one of us be available to pick up whichever kid from whichever after-school activity. Once home it was time to cook dinner, help with homework, remind the kids to get their clothes ready for tomorrow and fast forward that for 18 years or more. At the end of the day, I often was comforted by one of our dogs. I would sprawl on the floor and call the three doodles. One or more would come running to give and receive the affection that all dog owners understand. I’d massage my hands on their warm furriness and hear that contented doggie sigh.
I’d spend a few minutes in Nirvana and everything was right with the world. Doggie heads in my lap, my ears nuzzled and those individual piles of love made it all right for a few minutes while the chaos stopped, calmness and contentment prevailed.
A few months ago, at the end of a very long day, Lilly was in my lap and I had that same feeling of peace and serenity when Mrs. Muncy said, “too bad you can’t have a dog or two at the office.”
I responded, “Yeah, that is too bad.”
I thought about it and said, “Hold on, there’s cats and dogs at assisted living communities and service dogs in hospitals. Are you sure I can’t have one at the office?”
We weren’t sure, so we did a little research and, guess what. We could have dogs at the office. They had to be highly trained and had to naturally very calm. The whole point was for the dogs to bring a sense of calmness and serenity while providing the joy of dogs. Let’s face it, for a kid, going to the dentist, especially for the first time, can be a bit daunting, even scary. Heck, I don’t like going to the dentist, but it’s something I do, every six months.
So, here’s a few questions we’ve gotten since Bailey and Louie joined our office.
Are they service dogs? Nope. Service dogs are trained to sense stress or impending medical responses in soldiers with PTSD or diabetics that are about to experience a medical emergency. What they have had is four months of training before they ever moved in with me. They are currently working a couple of hours every week with an individual trainer and our family to keep learning behaviors needed at work.
Doodles are known for their calm ways and loving nature, so they’re a natural for our office. The smaller one, Bailey, weighs in at 15 pounds and Louie at 25 pounds at that’s as big as they’ll get. They don’t shed and are one of the most hypoallergenic breeds.
Bailey & Louie have been a wonderful addition to our office, and not only do they help the little ones relax, our Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles love them, too. It’s currently a 50/50 split of parents to kids of which group spends more time with Bailey & Louie.
Bailey loves to be held and lives for the belly rub, while Louie presumes everyone wants to pet him and he tends to perch right next to one of our little patients, expecting non-stop affection.
So if you or someone you know is looking for a dentist for their little ones, someone that has a soft spot for soft dogs, please share this story with them. We’re here to practice pediatric dentistry, but the kiddos don’t have to know that, now do they?