It's All About Fred

February 9, 2009

Dr. Eric Davis, founder of HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS),is busy scheduling upcoming field clinics this month and has asked me—HSVMA's Chief Rez Dog Consultant—to fill in.

It's getting to be the busy season for me, what with planning all the veterinary trips and giving advice to Dr. Davis, but I've pulled myself off the couch long enough to put this piece together.

A rough start

Although I've settled nicely into my current position, it hasn't always been glamour and fame. I grew up with the "7-11 Dumpster Pack" at Fort Apache, Arizona and used to think the whole world was about finding scraps, defending the territory and sleeping on concrete.

Fred Davis, comfortably relaxing in his yard in California.

Life on the road was tough and I soon found myself at the Santa Fe shelter. I initially thought it would be a nice place to land, until there was "the misunderstanding".

Here's what happened: I thought that couch in the adoption testing room was the only one in the world, and that they had given it to me. We didn't have those luxuries next to the dumpster at Fort Apache.

So, naturally, when they brought that other dog in, I just did what one does on the rez when you have something good—defend it! The next thing I knew I was in a cage, and the behaviorist was writing something about "unadoptable" and "dog aggressive" on the front.

People started looking at me like something bad was going to happen. Thankfully, nothing did, and soon enough I was on my way to California in a van. Something about being "rescued"—who knows?

The good life

I got to the Davis' house very early one morning. There was a beautiful dog there named Ginger, who would become my new best friend. She said, "The rules are simple: I'm the alpha female. Got any questions?"

After a quick sniff, I said "Are there any of those 'couch' things around here?" As she walked gracefully toward the dog door, she answered over her shoulder, "Yeah, lots…take your pick."

There wasn't a behaviorist in sight and things have been really good ever since—plenty of couches, plenty of ground squirrels to chase, and the regular cookies.

I've gained some weight, my mange has cleared up, and you can hardly see the scars on my nose anymore. The accolades for my program came later, but only because I work hard and know my job.

It gives me great satisfaction when they say the HSVMA-RAVS program is really popular, but what do you expect—I'm pretty cute.