From chickens to iguanas to pit bulls, Gary has an approach to any animal.
In over two decades as a veterinarian, Gary has developed strategies for treating diseases and behavioral problems in pets and has compiled all of his knowledge in a recently published book.
To answer common questions about keeping and caring for pets, Gary, along with his lovable pit bull Betty and three-legged German Shepherd Jake, shared his thoughts in an interview.
What was the purpose of writing this book?
For many years, I have been tormented by the problems that people face when trying to keep their pets healthy. I do not seek to replace people with their veterinarian, but I want to help them learn to understand their pets so that they can provide them with the best possible life.
What difficulties do owners face in maintaining the health of their pets?
One of the biggest challenges is the availability of veterinary care, both in terms of location and cost. Often, when adopting a pet, people do not realize that the potential cost of caring for a pet can far outweigh their financial means. This is where I can help by explaining to people what they hear from veterinarians so they can make the best decision possible. Although it is often enough to simply ask the veterinarian a direct question: what should and can I do?
Are there common misconceptions about keeping pets?
Of course. Many people who work full-time prefer to adopt a cat instead of a dog because they don’t need to be walked. But cats need just as much attention as dogs. Your home is their whole world, and you must make sure that the animal is comfortable in it.
What is important to consider before adopting a pet?
It is very important not to rush into a decision. Most shelters can help you decide which animal is best for you and what you need to do to keep it happy and healthy. Don’t expect your pet to be happy just because you’ll love it.
You adopted Jake, a dog with special needs. Why?
Jake is a German Shepherd and is almost 14 years old. I have had dogs without one leg before, but only Jake had this feature from the beginning.
I think, after working in veterinary clinics and shelters, it is simply impossible not to take such a pet in need of care and care. My previous two dogs also suffered from bone cancer.
What can you say about animal shelters?
Animals in shelters are often purebred and make excellent pets. I really want to dispel the myth that shelters are sad places. Of course, apart from the animals, the best thing about working at the shelter is the people. They are all committed and want to help the world. Every day when I come to the shelter to work, I see children and volunteers playing with animals there. This is a great place to work.
What conclusions do you think readers should draw after reading your book?
Animal health is not a mystery. Yes, animals can’t talk, but in many ways they are just like us and get sick in the same way. They have indigestion, leg pain, skin rashes, and more that are familiar to us.
Animals can’t tell us when they get sick. But they usually tell us when this state does not leave them.
No one knows your pet better than you; if you listen and watch carefully, you will always know when your pet is not feeling well.