The OFFICIALunOFFICIAL English Bulldog Mascot

Obfuscate. Deceive. Inveigle.

In ThatOne WORD on November 13, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Kids, can you say–

Obfuscate: to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

Deceive: to mislead by deliberate misrepresentation or lies

Inveigle: to lure by false representations or other deceit.

Mulder, not everything is a labyrinth of dark conspiracy, and not everybody is plotting to deceive, inveigle and obfuscate.  

– Dana Scully | The X-Files | Season 4

Did I ever tell you the story of how I got my name, ThatOne? She decided to call me ThatOne because when She saw me and my twin sister  together she said

“Oh.., I’ll take this one and that one!”

“Well, you can’t have this one,”  the seller said, pointing to my sister.

“OK, then I’ll take that one.”  And ThatOne is my name– O!

She is a huge fan of  The X-Files. If She had gotten us both, She was gonna name us Mulder and Scully.  Lucky fur me, She couldn’t have “This One.”

She also loves words.  The look, the language, the music– the meanings of words. This week, language, words, meaning and The X-Files all came together fur us at Mission Animal & Bird Hospital.

As a certified Triple A (Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy), I work as a Reader dog, as a Pet Ambassador and as The Endorphinator  in a variety of settings.  I’m a Reader dog at TERI, Inc.’s two schools, I’m a Pet Ambassador/Therapy dog at a hospital, and I’m The Endorphinator at a skilled nursing facility.  Actually, I’m The Endorphinator every where I go.

Except when I visited Mission Animal & Bird Hospital on Friday, November 12.

Every year therapy dogs as well as Service animals, must have their health reassessed and certified.  This means we have to meet and exceed specific veterinary requirements and health systems infection control imperatives and make an annual trek to the vet to update our health records.

Then the vet will certify we are disease free and our temperaments have not changed. In some cases, our owners have to attest to and renew their volunteer agreements. Volunteering as an Assisted Animal Activity/Therapy dog with a Person is a lot of work!

The work and reputation of  Service Animals and dogs with jobs are nationally recognized, valued and respected. Veterinarians cooperate with local and government agencies, routinely offering medical and well care services free of charge, even discounting or waiving the annual fees associated with health and licensing recertification requirements.

Service animals are animals whose training, presence and proximity are more than an enhancement. They are vital and integral to the daily life functioning of Human beings with physical disability. They are also protected under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Service Animals are guide dogs for the deaf and blind, Service dogs for people in wheelchairs or who live with profound physical impairments who would not be able to navigate their private or public surroundings or environments without the assistance of a Service animal.

Working dogs with jobs are professionals often in the service of state and local Police departments, the military, and Federal agencies such as the ATF, (Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms), the FBI, and the FTA (Federal Transportation Administration) working as drugs or bomb sniffing dogs, cadaver dogs, search and rescue or search and recovery, etc.

The goals of Therapy animals are to promote, enhance and improve the human condition physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy is  delivered in a variety of environments such as schools, hospitals, Skilled Nursing facilities, and private homes often by skilled professionals, paraprofessionals or volunteers working within the scope of their professions with specially trained animals of a specific temperament that meet or exceed a standardized evaluation success criteria and guidelines.

Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy can provide opportunities for motivational, educational and/or recreational benefits that facilitate quality of life.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), The Delta Society, and the NIH (The National Institute of Health) have all issued statements recognizing the health benefits of animal assisted therapy.

Animal Assisted Therapy has been shown to:

 Increase relaxation

 Lower blood pressure

 Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels

 Assuage Feelings of loneliness and isolation

 Increase opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities

 Increase opportunities for socialization

While there are physical benefits to Animal Assisted Activity, Triple A contributes most to the emotional, psychological and cognitive support of those participating in the activities.

Therapeutic benefits are derived when the animal is working exclusively with a health care or education professional in a specified healthcare or educational setting and the animal is integral to the therapy, incorporated in the therapy and the benefits of the therapy can be documented, evaluated, assessed and measured and are included for review and consideration in the record of treatment.

Unfortunately there is in general a lot of confusion about the role of therapy animals in the public.  Many People have taken selfish advantage of the public support of service animals and have seriously undermined the scope and gravity of the goals, objectives and outcomes of the work of therapy animals and the therapy animals themselves.

While many veterinarians appreciate People who volunteer their time to bring their dogs to hospitals and schools, respect for the results and the work is not universally shared in the veterinarian community at large.

If an individual has a particular relationship with their own vet, that Person may realize a useful benefit and have a cooperative vet as a friend and champion.

She does not as is the experience of many others who work with Animal Assisted Activity or Triple A Therapy dogs.  A handful of vets who understand the infection control concerns of the healthcare systems community discount or waive all or a portion of the annual costs associated with re-certifying an animal for service.

Dr. B. my vet in Riverside does not offer discounts to therapy dogs. While he appreciates the zeal and passion of the owners, he states plainly and unequivocally “therapy dogs are not service (assistance) dogs, as much as we appreciate what they do.”  He is not alone in his attitude and we are not mad at him.  We respect his candor and the directness of his speech.

That was not our experience on November 12 at Mission Animal.  She asked the Tech at the desk and showed her the letter from the Pet Ambassador Coordinator at the hospital where I work.  The desk tech said we needed to speak with Lisa, who is the manager of the operations there.  The desk tech immediately picked up the phone and dialed Lisa’s extension. She then, left a detailed message asking if Mission Animal had a policy of discounting the annual recertification fee or if they even did this.

Because I was going to continue my service as a TripleA dog whether Mission Animal had a policy in place or not would not have stopped me from seeing Dr. Sweitzer and getting it done.  It just would have been a nice professional courtesy–  a gesture of respectful recognition and professional cooperation.

In an email She sent November 8 to the Volunteer Coordinator at our hospital, She wrote:

In your October 11 dated letter, you say you have spoken to vets who say *they* would not charge for the annual infection control imperatives for Pet Therapy.

It would be a fantastic and dynamic as well as fundamentally useful service to maybe compile a list of these cooperative, Friends of Pet Ambassador/Therapy dog vets exclusively for our Pet Therapy dogs.

I have two vets and neither of them discount their services or have such a respectful provision that values the work and the contributions of Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy dogs which ThatOne certifiably is!

It would be great if the vets you have spoken with would agree to form a consortium with us so that there is a data base of cooperative vets that could be made available to our TripleA Therapy handlers. That would be much more valuable and tangible acknowledgement of gratitude for “the wonderful people willing to volunteer their time.”

She was basically asking Mission Animal to see if they could be a resource to include in this list of friends of TripleA vets she is compiling for our company, TripleAWORKS.

So imagine how She felt when, after having left that detailed message, Lisa called back to tell Her she just needed a copy of the Health and Safety Annual Veterinarian Certification and Owner Attestation form to “see what all we needed to get us all started.”

She took a photo of it on my iBone and immediately emailed the form. She confirmed with Lisa our appointment which we had already scheduled.  Lisa said she would have everything ready for us when we got there on Friday, November 12. I guess we assumed too much.

We met with Dr. Sweitzer who did his usual Über thorough and Über expeditious job. No discussion of a discount or a Yes or No response to the question that was both asked and left on a voice mail recording the day before.

The billing clerk stepped in. When asked about the discount and reference to the letter, She was deferred to Lisa Hamilton again and invited tot wait.  When my name was called, we walked up to the desk.  Again no discussion or mention or acknowledgement that a question had been asked that was still unanswered.

After a time standing at the desk, Lisa impatiently approached and almost dismissively announced that the hospital letter only talked about the fees to process the paperwork and that, in fact, was discounted.  We were not charged for this “paperwork processing” fee.

Here is the letter:

There is absolutely no language in this letter whatever that actually says or even suggests the hospital was asking for or suggesting other vets were discounting or waiving “paperwork processing” fees.

She paid the bill but even I could feel the Goodwill Energy drain.  She needed  The Endorphinator.  We just left.

Then today She began to process what had happen Friday and I felt bad that She felt sad. And bad.


Why didn’t Lisa just say “No” instead of inserting a caveat that is not even stated or implied in the original hospital letter?


Why didn’t Lisa H just say “No.  Mission Animal does not discount…” instead of making it appear as though all that was needed was the form showing what we needed in order to confirm the discount.


Why didn’t Lisa just say “No?”

Is it really easier to just be disingenuous or  just say “No?”


Goodwill Energies I project
On Each and Every one of you
Each and Every day!

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”

That’s life today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: