Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scales on the horizon

To the left is a picture of a dog scale. My boss has decided we needed one for when we board dogs to monitor their weight when they stay with us. This was vastly prompted by a client's dog who was staying at a vet's office for boarding and lost 20 pounds (not sure how long the dog was there). Apparently, there was some miscommunication on how much to feed the dog, and the vet's office was only giving half of his normal intake. Why, they didn't increase his food or even notice his sudden weight loss is beyond me.

When my boss told me about possibly getting a scale, I cringed. Though I certainly understand the intentions of this scale--for the health and well being of the dog (as well as any liability issue in case someone may accuse us of starving their dog), but there is still a slight bit of uneasiness for me. I have the ( ), because I'm not positive this is the case, it just seems like the liability issue is another one from the way my boss talks. That, and I think she likes thinking that this is yet another thing in how we are different from other dog facilities. Apparently, this scale would only be used for boarding clients which was a sigh of relief for me as I did originally think she wanted this for daycare clients as well! The thing is this doesn't necessarily guarantee anything. There could easily be a client who would be upset that their dog lost 2 pounds while staying with us, while on the flip side, someone else may be happy that their dog lost weight with us if the dog was a bit overweight.

I'm sure I'm projecting more of my issue about this than anything else, and to most people it is not a big deal. I don't know if my hang up is the fact that there would be a giant scale in front of me everyday (I do not have scales in my house) or that I feel like this blurs a funny line between health practitioner and dog trainer, something my boss is very adamant about not crossing.

There isn't much I can do at this point. The scale has already been ordered and is on its way. I guess like in most things in life, I just have o learn to deal with it. So am I overreacting? C'mon, you can tell me a "Tiptoe, this is just a dog scale," my feelings won't be hurt. ;-) Is my viewpoint just filtered through ED-esque thoughts, or is there any inkling of sense?


Flannery said...

Since I have an ED-filter, too, this sounds perfectly reasonable to me. That doesn't mean that it is--in fact, it probably means that it isn't--but I'm right there with you. Totally agree.

The weirdest things are triggering. I listened to a friend talk about how she "just wants to lose five pounds and then I'll be happy" (OMGOMGNOYOUWONTOMGBECAREFUL) for ever and ever today, and it wasn't triggering for me. But I saw a thin girl on the street and got all weird and ED-tastic just from that. So...yeah.

I guess what I'm saying is you're not alone is being all weird over stuff like dog scales. Hang in there!

Telstaar said...

From a legal perspective I can understand having the scales, although I'd want to see what legal precedent there was and what legal precedent the facility would be setting also...

But well... I guess if you use scales then I'd want really significant procedures around documenting food and exercise (inc'ing type of exercise and length etc) given to each dog at what time etc... and I'd want to have a VERY clear procedure around what the weighing is for, at what stage the facility would intervene and what steps would be taken as far as intervention goes (like contacting the owner, then feeding more food, then taking to vets etc) and I would be making sure that the owners were aware of all that (the stuff around weighing, not the records around food intakes and exercise etc - that is more a "cover your butt" type thing for if something DID go wrong)... and then if the owners wanted something different (like "Sure it'd be GREAT if you were able to help puppy to lose a few pounds as he's very overweight") to be documented and signed by the owners and stuff too... and I'd expect you'd need lots of info on what would be acceptable weight increase/decreases over certain periods for various breeds and stuff to ensure that each of the relevant protocols fit for that breed....

I don't know how much of that already happens... but I guess... I see it as being a very slippery slope. Not necessarily an eating disorder one per se, but even just legally I think it would be quite tricky. I think from an eating disorder perspective the biggest problem from a population perspective as I see it, is being concerned that all of a sudden owners may start wanting super dogs, not too fat, not too thin... and that I would think would invariably cause distress to the dog and in worst case scenario lead to the dog being given away... (because they don't meet the ideal)... but that would be more in people whom are perhaps prone to having to have "perfection" and are more anxious etc... not that they would intend on hurting their animals...

I guess my concerned for the above comes from the idea that if the facility has the scales and starts to say that this is a way to keep your dog healthy is to ensure they stay in a certain weight range, when usually such information would be recorded at a vetinary surgery. But then other people might just see you guys are like a "holistic" type of boarding kennel and that's it.

So I guess, I'm not sure over all... but legally, I suspect it may be a minefield waiting to happen also... If there are measures to stop something but that "something" isn't stopped, it is harder to plead ignorance or lack of precedence because intervention has already occurred... but the more that is written down the more you demonstrate knowledge and can be held to account more and thus need to ensure that there are no gaps in that record keeping!

ARGHH! Query though, (just random really)... how much extra work is that going to mean for you guys in actually looking after the dogs? I'm guessing it may not be the easiest thing in the world to get an animal on scales?? (or at least it isn't for our cats)


(PS I HAVE been reading, just super stressed and exhausted) xoxo

Dr. Deb said...

I can see both sides. we owners weigh our dogs when others watch them, etc?

Tiptoe said...

Flannery, thanks for the reassurance that I'm not completely off the wall in this thinking. I'll deal with it, just a rather annoyance at least personally speaking.

Dr. Deb, I agree with you. Not many do at all. Most weights are exclusive to when the dog is at the vet. I see both sides too.

Tiptoe said...

Telly, you ask a lot of good questions here.

Unfortunately, blogger is giving me a character error, so I'm going to have to try posting on this later.