My name is Jeannette Barnes. I am a veterinarian. My whole life, I dreamed of doing this: Mouth open, fingers nervously clenching the cloth of my jean dress, I stare directly into the gold, vacant eyes of a predator. Her long forelegs look inappropriately skinny next to the outrageous, dense coat covering her body. My eyes trail down to weighty grommets holding together a leather muzzle that keeps her teeth in check. Her nostrils flare, breathing moist, hot air onto my cheek.
I am face-to-face with my first wolf client.
“What can I do to help you both today,” I ask her trainer in a voice that sounds far braver than I feel. Flustered, I consult her record for a name. What I see there makes my heart do flip-flops.
“What can I do for Ripper today?”
I sit on the stool which I usually leave vacant, as my courage suddenly deserts me.
My mind obsesses on the question: What if those grommets give way?
Her handler speaks for the first time.
“I want you to take a tooth out of her nose.”
He studies the floor of the office for a moment.
“It’s another wolf’s tooth, of course.”
“Of course,” I reply, as though that were the most natural course of events in the world. Wolves always come into the office to have another wolf’s tooth extracted from their noses.
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that my everyday work-life is a similar parade of face-to-face physical challenges that excite and intrigue me. My everyday profession involves blood, sweat and fears, and I have trained my whole career to be in this position.
My life is a loving tribute to the incredible variety of dogs in this world, to wolves, and to their shared history.
To learn more about Jeannette Barnes, visit her online at www.jeannettebarnesdvm.com
in the Company of Dogs
Fierce. Loyal. Brave. Keen Witted. Observant. Refuses to Shy Away from Danger. Does this sound like your Best Friend?
Dr. Jeannette Barnes has a passion for dogs that extends far beyond her calling as a veterinarian, and into the realm of history, anthropology and the shadowy regions of myth and lore–all inspired by their fascinating ancestry and development from wolves.
“All dogs, from the tiniest two-pound toy Yorkshire Terrier to the massive 200-pound Irish Wolfhound, emerged from this undomesticated animal,” Dr. Barnes muses. “Do you want a small cuddly dog? Someone already developed the perfect dog just for you. How about a large, powerful hunting breed? Exactly the right dog exists. We’ve got dogs to sniff out cancer; dogs to dial 911; dogs as military heroes.”
Inspired by the intimacy, longevity, and depth of the relationship between people and dogs, Dr. Barnes set out to show that dogs were not solely instinctive beings; but imbued with spirit and the desire for service.
“There is a spiritual connection between dogs and humans,” she insists. “I believe they were designed to be man’s helper. But more than that, they have a long and fascinating history with man, as hunters, companions, demi-gods, and as a source of beauty and pride.
I can think of no place I would rather be, than In the Company of Dogs
The author’s love of dogs shines in the pages of this book. Her stories captivated me and some brought tears to my eyes. If you are a dog lover, this book is a must read.