By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Recently, I was listening to a conversation in the office about pets with bad habits. This wouldn’t be me, of course, but I do happen to know several pups here with some pretty poor manners.
Let’s talk about Bear for a minute. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone says that Bear is a great dog. However. That dog has some behavior issues. He barks – and I don’t mean just a bark or two like a hey-how-you-doin’ bark – it’s more like an I’m-going-to-rip-your-face-off bark, that goes on and on. You get my drift.
And then there’s Tallulah. I’m sure she’s a great girl – don’t get me wrong. But if she’s left alone for more than a fraction of a second, she starts howling. And Kiah. Bless her. But that girl has more energy than everyone else in the office put together. I know we all need exercise, but that girl is over the top with her running around. (Perhaps I wouldn’t mind it so much if she wasn’t mowing me over, but she is and I do.)
Because they are disturbing my beauty sleep (and trampling me), I’m thinking of politely suggesting that their owners hook them up with Dr. Rolin Tripp and his team at the Animal Behavior Network.
Now, there is a *nasty* rumor circulating that *I* could use some lessons, myself, and I would just like to put my paw down and say that is the most ludicrous idea I have ever heard. Darlings, that’s just not me.
The others, though. That’s an entirely different story altogether. Love you all. You know I do. MuWah!
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
You’d think that a girl my size would have more trouble getting what she wants. Fortunately, this is not the case. And while I think that I would probably still get pretty much whatever I want if my Dad wasn’t the boss, I must say that I do enjoy the extra clout it brings.
Being Daddy’s Girl, I know that wherever he goes, I go, whether it’s to the office, or hanging out on a beach in Mexico for our annual trip. It is rare that you won’t see me by his side.
So for Father’s Day, I wanted to share a little secret with you. Ready? Here it is. Dads don’t like ties. Oh, sure, they act like they do, but really, they’re just being nice. And while some Dads may actually like that new golf club or trashcan basketball game (as if!), most Dads would appreciate your doing something that protects pets in times of need. Like me!
Remember: Ties stink. Choose something meaningful for Dad and buy him a policy so he can have the peace of mind knowing that he doesn’t need to worry if something happens to pets like me. Of course, it never will. I’m too amazing to get sick or hurt, but Dad says that you just never know.
Until next time,
p.s. Giving a gift policy is easy. Call us to find out how! 1-877-PETSBEST. (1-877-738-7237)
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Hi, my name is Torrey. You may know me as the Customer Service Advocate here at Pets Best – a job I take seriously. I may be small, but I’ve been told I have the heart of a lion and, truth be told, I rule the roost, whether it’s here at work or at home with my family. Those other dogs, cats and people may be bigger than I am, but have no fear – I put them in their places just fine.
I do a lot here around the office, actually – am glad that my Dad (who most people call Jack or Dr. Stephens) brings me to work with him every day. There are a lot of things I’m good at, and one of them is running off strangers. I may only be a pound-and-a-half, but I can intimidate someone a hundred times my size. I love it!
Take this guy Andrew, for instance. I love to eat his lunch. He came in to talk to Dad just yesterday and I let him hang out, just minding my own business. I have him trained so that when he leaves, he inches for the door little by little because he knows I’ve got my eye on him. It was so great. He inched his way closer and closer to the gate that Dad puts up sometimes in his office door and then you know what I did? I made him jump it! HA! I gave him a good barking to for a couple of minutes and feel pretty confident that I intimidated the *you know what* out of him. I haven’t seen him since. It’s all in a day’s work.
People like to use the words “tea-cup Chihuahua” and “Lil’ Tornado” around me, but all I know is that I have a voice and opinions and know how to use them, know how to be sweet when it will get me what I want, such as in my Dad’s lap or a treat from one of the employees here at the office. Dad has told everyone lately not to give me as many treats because he found out that I make the rounds and have put on too much weight, apparently. Humpft. As if a little extra on a girl ever hurt anyone. I work hard for those treats!
Speaking of working hard, one of my favorite things to do is to work hard to make sure that our policyholders are happy. If you ever need me, e-mail me at Torrey@petsbest.com. I have to find someone to help me type my responses, obviously, but if anyone can get what she wants around here, it’s me!
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Our ShelterBest “Racing to Save Pets” campaign took a huge leap forward at the recent Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) in Las Vegas last month as the visual of the racecars, the passion of our Pets Best team, and the ShelterBest WVC Challenge Cup Race at the Las Vegas Speedway brought attention to our campaign to save shelter pets.
The presence of Thompson Motorsports and Brett Thompson’s NASCAR racecars on display during the convention helped bring Pets Best and “Racing to Save Pets” front and center with one car in the Mandalay Bay exhibition hall foyer and another outside next to the racecar trailer. Our hope and goal was to help promote shelter adoptions. We also added a place for conference attendees to come and pet the dogs at the puppy play area outside next to the racecar trailer.
Brett Thompson and his team have helped us spread the word about the needs of shelters and shelter pets.
ShelterBest “Racing to Save Pets” is a means to communicate with the public about the need to adopt pets from shelters across the country. As part of the program, we help to raise awareness, money and provide added value for shelter adoptions. Most importantly, the program will increase pet adoptions and reduce euthanasia. Our goals are three-fold:
1. To increase shelter adoptions - Despite years of spay/neuter programs, unwanted, surplus pets are still a huge problem and a shame on our society that so many millions of pets are euthanized each year. This is a societal problem, and it is imperative that we help change people’s attitudes about where they obtain their pets.
2. To provide financial responsibility - Pets Best offers its ShelterBest protection for adopted pets and other family pets, making it convenient and economical to insure family pets. With Pets Best, pet families know they will always receive 80% after the deductible reimbursement for covered accidents and illnesses. Having this help makes it much less likely they will return the pet to the shelter for a costly accident or illness.
3. To provide added revenue for shelters - The Pets Best shelter program provides pet owners with discounts, which can be donated to the local shelter. All or part of their Pets Best discount can automatically be donated to their shelter. Additionally, Pets Best makes another donation to those shelters when those pets are insured.
Our goal is to have more pets adopted, more pets insured, and to keep pets in families by covering 80% of their healthcare needs. We believe that ShelterBest “Racing to Save Pets” is an integral part of saving thousands (hopefully millions) of pets who deserve loving families and good care, including necessary healthcare.
When you share the word about shelter pets, you are making a difference. Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who is working tirelessly for the needs of pets, especially shelter pets. The race is a long one, but one I believe we can win.
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
What a great age! Sixteen, second only to twenty one as a magical day. How I looked forward to reaching sixteen and being able to drive – a milestone year for most, a year that brings much to look forward to.
Sixteen is also a milestone year for our pets, but for a different reason. Sixteen for them is more like reaching our 90th birthday. Skeeter, my special little angel man, turned 16 on January 25th.
He lost his hearing a couple of years ago and is basically blind now, with slight light vision in his right eye only. We were able to stall his inevitable blindness for nearly two years with “Nu Eyes.”
His front leg shakes more often. He sleeps more. At times, he becomes disoriented and shows signs of senility. He now has less control of his bladder, and although much more onerous for my wife and me, we recognize that it is something that comes with the aging process and we simply have to prepare and allow for it.
Skeeter, a miniature pinscher has been my constant companion and pal for nearly sixteen years now. He came to me at six weeks of age after the loss of my special Spanky, another miniature pinscher that helped me through my ordeal with cancer in many special ways. I did not want another dog, certainly not that soon. My shock and grief at losing Spanky were overwhelming.
After all, what dog could ever replace my dear Spanky? I felt it would be unfair to other dogs to bring them into my life, where I would constantly compare them to Spanky. No dog could ever measure up to the companionship and mystical ways of Spanky.
Fortunately for me, my wife and our special breeder, Norma Cacka, forced Skeeter on me, despite my ungracious attempts to repel this little six week old puppy. Alas, my self pity and grief was not meant to be.
Skeeter very quickly captured my heart, even though he was nothing like Spanky. In fact he was not only very different, but almost the opposite. Day by day, he became even more endearing and more special to not only to me, but to the community of my acquaintances and nearly the entire Veterinary profession.
Skeeter moved me to a higher plane of bonding with a pet. Skeeter soon traveled everywhere with me, whether it was a short trip or cross-country. He goes to the office with me daily and occasionally on vacations. Skeeter has indeed been a constant companion. In fact he became the “icon” for pet insurance. I remembering overhearing people say, “There’s Skeeter, the insurance dog.”
Skeeter has had a special life, meeting many movie stars and dignitaries, even Walter Cronkite, who was enamored as everyone else has been with Skeeter’s demeanor and dignity. Skeeter is steadfast and loves everyone, while Torrey, my other constant companion can be difficult and might even bite people, letting them know to leave her alone. Not Skeeter, he is comfortable in a room with hundreds of people, walking among them, mixing, being picked up by anyone, and petted by anyone. He will sit for hours on a stage, as he did twice during veterinary graduation commencement speeches and cancer survivor events that I participated in. He is the epitome of stoic behavior, friend to all, calm and loving.
Skeeter is special in many ways, and his accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but a few bear sharing. His accomplishments are remarkable when you consider he only weights nine pounds and is a dog. The following is a testament to this mighty little package of dog, now sixteen years of age!
-Two Commencement Speeches, first at University of Missouri and later at Texas A&M Veterinary schools, where he sat on the stage in a chair during the entire exercise with his own cap and gown. He stoically sat for hours on stage next to me or on the podium. While I spoke, he simply starred at the audience or dozed.
He participated in several other speeches where he sat on the podium in front of hundreds.
-Honorary Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM) from the University of Missouri Veterinary School
-Broke the no pet barrier for Veterinary Conferences
-Honorary Board member of the Western Veterinary Conference, the largest veterinary conference in the world
-Scholarships in his name at two Veterinary schools
-Skeeter Foundation named in his honor that promotes research that provides scientific proof of the physiological benefits of pets and pet therapy visits to hospitals and nursing homes
-Hugged by movie stars too numerous to name
-Logged so many flights he should have his own frequent flyer card
-Chairman of Pet Relations for Pets Best Insurance
-Photo hung in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for several years, in the hallway of stars
Funded research to validate the positive benefits of pets in humans
-Most importantly, this wonderful dog has been a steadfast, loyal companion for sixteen years to this person awed by the positive powers of pets and animals on human health and well being. Happy Birthday, my dear friend.