Description: Always convinced that their dog has been stricken by some horrible (and rare) malady, The “Hounding Hypochondriac” is well-known by their beleaguered vets and on internet forums as that woman who swore her dog had ebola last week because he reverse sneezed for 15 seconds three days ago. We totally understand worrying about our dogs. A little neurotic watchdogging is good for the soul, really. And obviously it’s better to catch a serious health issue sooner than later, but somewhere between “My dog looked at me funny, better call the vet” and “My dog is bleeding profusely, I’ll just slap a bandaid on” is a happy medium. A happy medium that the “Do I Need a Vet Dunce” (stay tuned for this owner profile coming soon) nor “The Hounding Hypochondriac” have never known.
Common Locations: Vet clinics, Yahoo forums, Facebook Groups not necessarily of the medical variety, and the Facebook pages of veterinary friends demanding medications for issues of dubious seriousness.
Breeds Owned: Inevitably the HH has a dog who could eat arsenic for breakfast, get hit by a car at lunch and be ready for Alpo at dinner. Typically the HH’s dogs are disgustingly healthy in part due to extreme preventative care and a bubble-boy existence but also just because their owners are so aware of potential issues the dogs just don’t come into contact with dangerous objects all that often.
Skill Level: Varies widely. Ranging from the sport dog owner who worries that a quicked nail will ruin their dog’s chances at the next trial to the owner who thinks Fluffy might have the plague because he didn’t want to fetch today, the Hounding Hypochondriac is frustratingly common. Vast majority will however be on the very low to mid-low range. Most experienced owners will have a bucket-full of tricks for the most banal of dog-issues and will see the vet after the simplest fixes have been tried and failed.
Catch Phrases: “How late is the e-vet open?”, “How do you know if your dog is dying?”, “Is that a pimple or a mast cell tumor?”, “I think I need to google that”, “Is poop supposed to be <shade of brown>?”
Wardrobe: PJs, Scrubs and a purse big enough to contain an entire mobile first-aid kit. You never know when you will need to intubate your own dog.
BusyBee: I feel like I live in two worlds-one in which I am surrounded by knowledgeable dog people with good dog sense (i.e. you all), and one in which I am the most savvy dog person around. In the latter area of my life, I am usually the one who receives worried texts, emails, and phone calls about Fido’s latest malady. Whether it’s concern over a dog licking his nether regions (why does a dog lick his balls? because he can, duh), being concerned because a puppy lost a tooth (it’s something they do), to deciphering doggy diarrhea for my friends, I’ve pretty much heard it all. In terms of poop, yeah, I’ve pretty much heard every possible “diagnosis” ranging from poisoning to giardia to late stage stomach cancer. Pro tip: dogs get diarrhea sometimes. Shit literally happens. And if that shit isn’t happening over an extended period of time, relax and take a deep breath before you give yourself stress poops over nothing.
Fang: So that whole working for dog businesses thing? Yeah, I get these assbags and their internet diagnosing counterpart the “Do I need a Vet? Dunce” All.The.Time. From the 12 year old labrador mix who was freaking out from the word “boarding” (We informed the owner when he arrived to take her home and usually that is the end of any further poop discussions. Three days later, rather than having taken our advice to keep her on the bland diet and bring her to his vet the next day, he had to drag her to the e-vet at 3am and $400 later informed us that we had Parvo and should be shut down… Umm. Pardon? A rapid call back had us clarifying immediately that the vet had not in fact informed him the dog had parvo it was just “On the list of what the internet said it could be.”) to the person who is demanding I give an opinion on their Golden Retriever’s rash since it’s probably ringworm (No, it’s not but I’m not going to tell them that since I’m not their effing vet!) to the idiot who straight up announced to me that their dog was autistic (They clarified by saying it was Asperger’s no doubt thrilling the ASD community to no end) and therefore would never have good manners… So here’s the deal, don’t call me with your Munchausen-by-proxy-server canine conditions. In fact, if we’re really friends you know it’s best not to call me at all unless you need real assistance with something that isn’t trying to talk you off the ledge of stupid you wandered up on to via Google and Dog Forums. I’m apt to push you off while calling you stupid and hanging up on you.
Potnoodle: Much like Busybee, I do have to occasionally interact with non-dog people. These interactions are typically just me repeating “Take him to the vet” over and over again. In my younger days, I’d occasionally offer the “Give him some pumpkin” or “Try a benadryl” approach but over the years I’ve learned this is enabling and the next thing you know you’ll be bent over a 120 bloodhound pulling out spay stitches while she tries to remove your arm. True story. Lesson learned, and now I sound like a broken record when I’m called for vet advice… even for the most trivial of things.