A note from Bug:

“Hi, everyone! I’m back and surviving the heat. I hope my little blog helped you with some ideas last month.

This month, I would like to talk to you about how scary it is for Barney to go to the veterinarian. I am an old pro at this, and people love me wherever I go, so it’s not hard to stay calm. Barney is another matter, though. He enters the building and starts this horrible high-pitch barking and screaming, making everyone want to leave the room. He lunges at people and then hides behind Mum’s legs when they come to talk to him. It is so embarrassing for me—the veterinary pro that I am—to have him as my bother. 

I’ve heard Mum talk to the doctors about it, and they have suggested some stuff—they call it “Fear Free”—for Barney AND Nala Bear (our feline sister) so they can make the veterinary visit a little less terrifying. Yes, even the cat can have happy meds to help her stay calm when visiting the veterinarian, and boy does she love those meds. When she has an appointment, Mum goes early and picks up a “kitty bag” for her, which includes meds, wipes, and other things that seem to make her much happier to get into MY carrier! (I can’t get anything to myself anymore.)

Anyway, back to Barney… Mum gives him meds about an hour before we leave and then we chill for that hour. When we get to the clinic, they put him straight into a room so he doesn’t get too worked up, and we have an endless supply of treats (Mum keeps him a little bit hungry before the visit so he will focus on the treats and not disgrace us by biting or nibbling on the doctors or technicians).

I have the important job of finding the treats in the room (even though they put us in different rooms). Sometimes I think they forget where they put them, so I find them and point them out for everyone. It goes like this: one for Barney, one for me, one for Barney, two for me (because I am so cute when I find them).

Ask the nice people at TotalBond Veterinary Hospital Bethel about Fear Free. I hear Mum talk about it a lot, and she says that she would never take Barney anywhere else because of the way they make him and her feel before, during, and after the veterinary visit. There are so many ways they can make it more enjoyable for dogs and cats. Fear Free starts at home, so remember to ask them what you can do when you book your pet’s next appointment.

(Here’s a picture of me finding the treats they had hidden up some steps. They are sneaky sometimes, but there’s nothing that Bug can’t find.)

Stay safe and Fear Free! I’ll talk to you next month!”


What is Fear FreeSM?

Fear Free is an initiative in veterinary medicine with a mission to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. While the initiative originally focused on improving veterinary visits for pets, their people, and veterinary professionals, it has grown to include every aspect of a pet’s life: at home, to the veterinary hospital, while being groomed or boarded, and beyond.


How does Fear Free work?

Fear Free certified veterinary hospitals and professionals (like the professionals at TotalBond Veterinary Hospital Bethel) have been trained on techniques that mitigate fear, stress, and anxiety in animals. When a pet is scared, physiologic changes can occur within the body, which can cause damage to the brain and skew vital signs and diagnostic results.

Because Fear Free techniques consider a pet’s emotional well-being and physical health, animals will be more likely to cooperate for exams, procedures, and diagnostic testing.

A few examples of Fear Free techniques include:

  • Examining pets on the floor or on a soft, comfortable surface (rather than a cold and slippery exam room table)
  • Taking pets into exam rooms as soon as possible (rather than making them wait in the lobby with other animals and people they don’t know)
  • Wearing calming colors (rather than the stark white laboratory coat)
  • Using treats to distract pets during procedures (rather than having two veterinary technicians forcibly hold a dog down while another technician trims his nails)
  • Using soothing scents, music, and pheromones in the lobby and treatment areas (rather than a TV blaring the news in the lobby)
  • And many more


We’re committed to your pet’s physical health AND emotional well-being. Come in to see the Fear-Free difference for yourself.