Amy R. Marder, VMD, DACVB, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Boston, MA 02116.
Like food and shelter, animals need play. When taking histories from clients during routine examinations or visits regarding
their pets' behavior problems, remember to ask clients whether they play with their pets. I find that when I ask owners, "Do
you play with your pet?" they almost always say, "Oh, yes!" But when I ask, "How do you play with your pet?" many respond, "Well, I pet him."
Amy R. Marder, VMD, DACVB
You should be able to teach clients specifically about appropriate play and the many options they have for interactive play
and environmental enrichment. Take some time to investigate the opportunities available to your clients and their companions—from
Flyball (dog relay racing), Rally-O (rally obedience), dog parks, dog camps, doggie dips at local pools, cat play dates, and
animal-friendly housing design, to Busy Buddy toys (Premier), DVDs produced for feline audiences, Buster Cubes (Kruuse A/S),
Home Alone (AussieDog Products), and catnip- or bacon-scented bubbles.
By asking about play and recommending fun ways for your clients' dogs and cats to play, you'll not only win further respect
from clients but you'll also markedly improve the quality of life for both people and their companion animals.