You’re way ahead of the curve, having learned from studying the immunologists’ take on immunity here, here and elsewhere, that repeated vaccinations through your animals’ life are not healthy nor do they create stronger immunity. Way back in early puppyhood or kittenhood or foalhood (or childhood), immunity was established if you vaccinated. And odds are, you did. If you visited a conventional vet for your youngster, a slew of vaccinations was either recommended strongly or “required.”
Chances are, you also got regular “helpful reminders” to come in for more vaccinations at some intervals. Some of the most heinous of these came from the twice a year craziness of a Banfield “Wellness” program (It’s free! C’mon in!). Others from private clinics were only slightly less crazy, like annual vaccination postcards, or the latest iteration, every three year vaccinations.
Having had your eyes open and reading all you can, you’ve learned that even the three year repetition is based on exactly this much sound immunological sense:
Nada. Zip. Zero.
So, who is your apartment complex management to tell you that you need records of “current” vaccination? Or your groomer? Or even the boarding kennel or doggie day care you’d like to use on occasion?
Do they really have a greater understanding of immunity than the experts in this field? Short answer:
Not even close, right? Of course not. They are acting purely out of habit and probably more importantly out of C.Y.A. That stands for Cover Your, erm, Backside. Protect thyself from fears of lawsuit. That kind of nonsense.
What’s a Mother to Do?
My goal today is to arm you with practical language to traverse this mine field of ignorance that threatens to make your vital animal seriously ill if you stumble.
Preceding straight talk is your attitude. You need to be confident that you KNOW this stuff, and odds are very great that your perps in their rules and regs do not. You’ve studied it, and own it in your heart of hearts. They’re merely blindly “following rules.”
Attitude: I Got This
I had an older brother influencing me growing up, and for all the hero worship I gave him before I saw his dark side, I gleaned something of use for you today. It is sometimes called copping an attitude. Pete called it:
Walking in like you own the place.
Even before you approach the poor rule follower who’s ruining multiple animals’ health by blindly following some rules based on self preservation, you stride in like the long lost owner of the joint, the wise one, who knew those rules before they were even written down.
This is extremely important. You’re not hoping for an exception to what the gal behind the desk sees as a stone tablet handed down from the mount. No, quite the opposite.
You are here to award your business, your hard earned dollars, on this establishment. And you’ll only, only entrust your beloved vital animal to these rubes if they meet your standards.
You’re polite, don’t get me wrong. But you’re firm. “If this place wants my business, they don’t get to demand foolish rules that have no basis in reality and that could, if followed, damage my loved ones.”
Let the Words Rain Down
“Good morning! I’m here to look at your facility and see if I might board (or groom) my animals with you.”
or, “Yes, I’ll be signing your lease provided we are clear on responsible animal guardianship. I’d like you to meet Clancy, whom I’m responsible for.”
See what I just did there? Who’s in charge now? That’s right: you are. This is 90% of it.
You’re not approaching them with your begging bowl, hoping to garner some sympathy for your odd beliefs about repeated vaccinations. Oh no. You know this stuff. Your vital animals are immune in ways titers can’t even begin to measure! And they have been immune and will continue to be immune without getting another jab of viruses from Dr. WhiteCoat, thank you very much!
Wait for It…
Before you play the V Card, it’s good to let the rule follower know that you approve of their facility (at least tentatively; it appears to be adequate).
But then, before you’re even asked and before his pathetic CYA requirements are stated, you drop something like this, right on the poor guy’s desk:
“My animals are current on all their shots and in impeccable health.”
You own this, remember? The bastions of veterinary immunology are right there with you, standing tall. Dr. Ron Schultz’s words from Current Veterinary Therapy (1992!) are shining over your forehead in gold letters:
“Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.”
If he can’t see those words, hanging there, well, that’s his problem. The fire in your eyes let’s him know that YOU know they are there. Hovering. Speaking their truth. The truth is, your animals ARE immune from those early life vaccinations, and will stay that way till the grave.
Current. Damn right.
If you play your cards right (and you are dealing with someone with some degree of intelligence and flexibility), you should be in at this point. Some lower life forms may still look at you, dumbfounded, and not budge.
To add frosting on the guy’s cake, you can also bring in a letter you’ll sign in his presence, stating that, should your dog get sick while using his premises, you’ll not hold him or anyone else there liable. Fair enough?
If that still doesn’t get the block head’s mind to shift, rather than argue at this point, it’s better to assure them your veterinarian is behind you on this, and can provide you with a letter of waiver “if you wish.”
That assumes you’ve got a holistic vet who’s got your back, and you may not. Yet. Seek one out. Ask around, try the AHVMA or the AVH, and don’t be shy about asking for a long distance letter. I’ve written many of these over the years for my clients, and well worded, they’ve met with 98% success.