Despite his humble nature, Spanky has been known to nip when stress gets the better of him.
Seeing a veterinarian in the comfort of his own home goes a long way toward keeping the 9-year-old cocker spaniel calm. Susan Konecny's new house-call service, Home Pet Vet, is just what the doctor ordered.
"The pets are way more relaxed," Konecny says. "In fact, they want to play."
Although Spanky's not feeling quite up to snuff, he relishes Konecny's caress, melting into the veterinarian's hands as she massages his ears to check for skin irregularities. Once the weather turns warm, Spanky's walks expose him to an onslaught of allergens — pollen, grasses and molds — all of which irritate his skin.
"He's got severe allergies, just like people," Konecny says.
Noting that Spanky's belly looks a little red, his lymph nodes are slightly swollen and a few suspicious bumps have erupted, Konecny orders up some tests. She plucks syringes and swabs from one of the two rolling suitcases she's brought while her husband, Grant Konecny, records the treatment on a laptop computer. Spanky's owner, 45-year-old Pam Rowe of Medford, also requests a heartworm test.
The needle prick in his ear hardly registers with Spanky, but the lump on his neck is another matter. As Rowe and Konecny try to restrain the yelping dog, Susan Konecny aborts the third attempt at drawing some fluid. The veterinarian decides to slightly sedate Spanky for the procedure on a follow-up visit.