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Helping Pets, Helping People

From puppies and shelter dogs to exotic animals, including birds, Fear Free can make a difference. Four Fear Free experts share stories of how their training made a difference in a pet’s veterinary experience or in their practices as a whole

For the Birds

I have been using Fear Free techniques with my exotic animal patients. It seems to be well liked by owners and the patients themselves. One specific example is the medically required beak trim on a cockatoo who was previously very scared and cautious around veterinary staff, and now through Fear Free techniques, is no longer stressed for the procedure or handling and has been doing better at each visit.

Matt Merkwan, DVM, Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, Merkwan Veterinary Services, Bellevue, Nebraska





Stress Relief for Pets and People

Fear Free education has helped our entire staff become more aware of the multitude of stressors that animals face when they come to see us at the hospital. We are able to alleviate many of these stressors and create happy visits for owners and pets alike, while providing excellent health care, too!

Elizabeth Brooks, Elite Fear Free Certified Professional


Happy Chihuahua, Happy Visits

A colleague has a very fearful Chihuahua adopted from the shelter, who needs her anal glands expressed often. We started by letting her get to know me over a couple of weeks outside the clinic. Then we planned happy visits in the clinic where she interacted with me on her own terms. Her owner worked on transitioning her go-to-mat behavior from home to clinic. With a PVP administered prior to the appointment, her mat, and favorite treats, we were able to get through the procedure without this precious Chihuahua displaying increased signs of FAS. After the procedure she displayed relaxed body language and solicited interaction from me. Now every time she sees me she wants to be petted!

Tiana Chevaun Daniels, CVT, Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, Striegel Animal Hospital, Carbondale, Illinois


Puppy Love

We had a puppy patient who was terrified of everything, and the owner agreed to start doing Happy Visits (our name for “fun” visits). For about the past month, they have come almost every workday in the evenings when things are calm and that dog is now comfortable with all of us offering a treat, petting and even a body rub from some of us! He will go on the scale, into the exam rooms, and sit on cue without showing any FAS. The client is so happy with his pet’s success.

Gretchen Landon, Client Services and Reception Supervisor, Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic, Mercer Island, Washington

How has Fear Free impacted you, your workplace, or the pets you care for? Submit your success story here to have the spotlight shined on you and be featured on our blog and social media channels!

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

Kim Campbell Thornton is content manager for Fear Free Pets and is an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional. She has been writing about dogs, cats, wildlife, and marine life since 1985.

Happy Paws Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020 Issue Available Now!