23 July 2007

Do not infect the Blood with the Disease.

So, yesterday Gustavo came here to live. It happened to be on the same day as the Gambler's Seminar at my trainer's place in San Jose. This was a big group class in distance handling, with a bunch of fast border collies and my 2 small dogs. Who happen to have mediocre to poor distance skills, through much fault of my own. Ruby actually does get Master's Gambler's Q's, but just not lots and lots of them. I was oh so very humbled in this seminar, but not just because my dog handling really, really sucked and I was the error queen of the day.

I had to leave the class early to meet Rena, the dog rescue foster lady who has had Gustavo during his initiation to the US. And boy oh boy was I excited. This lady overheard me talking about him, and inquired as to my new dog. I said something to the effect of "another one of these (ie, those 2 little dogs who did not get a single gamble today)-little black street dogs". And I mentioned he came from Mexico. Which was apparently not the right thing to say to this particular very tall border collie running lady. A very good dog handler by the way, who I recognize from dog shows but who doesn't know me, being as I tend to fly under the radar with most agility folk, especially the big dog people.

First thing out of her mouth was that is just criminal how those people bring dogs up from Mexico, since there are so many dogs here that need homes. And while it's not untrue that so many dogs here need homes, the group that brought Gustavo up exists mainly to stop the deplorable conditions for dogs in Mexico, introducing spay and neuter clinics there, and humane euthanasia instead of the horrible electrocutions and slow death in the dog roundup pens. They just bring up a select few each time they are down there-it's not their main focus, it's just what you have to do. I am sure my car would be stuffed to the brim with dogs on the way home if I ever went to Mexico.

So then all of a sudden she just went off big time on the whole Mexican dog thing-like no kidding, yelling at me. About how these Mexican dogs are bringing horrible Diseases to US dogs, horrible tropical Diseases that I had never heard of but that she sure has. How my dogs will be affected and Diseased, then how the whole agility community will be affected, and how these people, myself included, Need to Be Stopped! I was sort of sitting there with my jaw dropping lower and lower off my face, because I have never met this lady and within 30 seconds of her hearing about this dog, the only info being it's a dog that has been a rescue and came originally from Mexico, and she is totally yelling at me. Yelling, loud, loud, loud yelling and face scrunching and getting redder and uglier by the second.

I said, weakly, how he had been quarantined, how the people are just bringing some dogs back with them, they are vets down there doing this, and she says how she runs a dog blood bank (which is true) and I am infecting dogs everywhere and introducing disease that shouldn't be here, just like happened with the greyhounds in Southern California and I better have this dog paneled and checked for (name of a lot of long tropical and scarey sounding diseases here, about 5 of them) and most blood panels won't do it and this is just wrong, people like me need to be stopped and there is legislation forming to stop this whole Mexican dog thing and do I know what kind of Disease I am bringing in and she wouldn't stop. I was just sitting there on the grass, trying to pack up my stuff, and staring at her while the other people escaped back out to the agility field. The other not so Disease worried ladies were backing away and left her there to shred me into little bits about the Mexican Disease.

One nice lady I know, who is familiar with the organization I got Gustavo from, started to say how these dogs are quarantined and she was reprimanded by the tall blood bank lady and so she sort of slunk away too. I didn't know what to do exactly. Later I thought I need to always remember to channel Miss Manners in a situation like this, and I should have thanked her so much for the Important Information on a Subject She Clearly Feels Passionate About and mention how Nice it Was to Meet her but I couldn't even get a word out at all. I did think, I should be writing down these Diseases, but I also thought, I think this very tall lady with the shorts pulled up so high and tucked in dog cartoon t-shirt just might be a little volatile and perhaps is a crazy person.

So I drove home all disturbed, but Rena was there with Gustavo, waiting in the front yard. I told her the story and she said basically, that lady doesn't know what she's talking about. These are vets who are doing this, the dogs are going to be perfectly fine. They have been through quarantine, she rattled off some of those tropical diseases and said that is just wrong. And then she dropped him off and now he is our dog, Mexican Disease or no Mexican disease.

I did email the vet that brought him back for more info on the disease issue. She sent a very detailed reply that refuted everything the Blood Lady had such big problems about. I am going to memorize it and be ready if I get assaulted again at a friendly neighborhood agility thing.

Gustavo settled in like he's lived here forever. Timmy has no problems with him and will happily lick him and wag his tail and then go back to sleep. Otterpop is acting like we have taken away her car keys, outlawed spaghetti straps and changed her curfew to 9pm. She was happy as a clam and playing with him until she figured out that he wasn't leaving any time soon, and started skulking around giving everyone the stink eye. She is a drama queen and will get over it in time. Ruby seems perfectly fine and normal, although she isn't an open book like Otterpop so I do watch her closely. She is such a lone wolf that it's going to be the triple threat dynamic of the 3 smallest team members instead of her single interactions with him that would start any sparks. Gustavo is clueless to the fact that some dogs like space or don't want to be leaped on so there will likely be a few corrections the first time I'm not there to monitor the fact that he is about to leap right on top of Otterpop's head.


team small dog said...

In case you are further interested in the Mexican disease issues, here is what the vet said:

"Thanks for your message. I can understand concern about exotic diseases being brought in from Mexico, but I assure you our organization is committed to ensuring the animals that we bring are not harboring any diseases that pose a health issue to either themselves or other animals here in the U.S.!

Dogs from Mexico actually have the same diseases we have in the U.S., although some differ from those seen commonly in California. To name those diseases:

Distemper is a disease seen often down there, which is seen here too, but more so in the Central Valley.

Our dogs are all vaccinated twice against Distemper, and held for a quarantine that enables us to ensure they do not have the disease.

There is no Babesia in the area of Mexico we rescue from.

There is a tick born disease called Ehrlichea, which also present in the US and in California. It is a disease that is treated with antibiotics and attacks blood cells. Our dogs are all tested for the disease prior to heading North for the rescue and treated if they test positive.

There is also a skin disease, Sarcoptic mange or "Scabies" that is present in Mexico, [and here in California but nowhere near as prevalent]. All of our dogs are treated against it, whether or not they have symptoms, just to ensure it is not a problem.

That is really it for the diseases they see in Mexico which are less common here. There is Parvo, but that is rampant here, too. It is most common in young dogs, which we typically do not rescue, and any animal with it would show signs prior to our quarantine period - so we simply do not have a problem with it.

I understand the fear of folks worrying about groups bringing in dogs from Mexico without knowing what they are doing. All of our dogs are quarantined for a minimum of a month, vaccinated, dewormed, treated for fleas, ticks, and mange, heartworm/Lyme's disease/ and Ehrlichea tested, temperament tested, and sterilized prior to transfer.

I myself am a veterinarian and so I understand the importance of animal health and am probably overly cautious about disease control and optimal animal health!

I am sorry this woman would not listen to you and spoke to you so harshly. I am sure that was unpleasant but hope you are able to take comfort in our protocols and understand that we are an organization very committed to doing things correctly and carefully - to ensure a better world for animals on both sides of the border!"

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