If you’ve ever had a sports injury, put your back out, or had some sort of aggravating pain that never seemed to go away, you may have gone to a chiropractor. Or an acupuncturist. Or, if you really couldn’t get to the bottom of exactly what’s wrong with you, you might have tried alternative medicine in the form of traditional Chinese herbs. You might also assume, because you’re a human being, that these remarks are directed at you. But actually, they’re directed at the horses and dogs in the audience.
A horse’s or dog’s medical trajectory is much the same as ours. When traditional Western medicine doesn’t cure what’s wrong with them, they – or we on their behalf – turn to alternative medicine. One of the practitioners of these animal alternatives – Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and chiropractic – is Dr Michelle Jobert. Dr. Jobert is the owner of an alternative veterinary medicine practice called The Well Adjusted Pet.
If you’re wondering how you give a horse chiropractic manipulation, Michelle explains how it’s Einsteinian theory of physics that prevents her getting kicked to death or having to be able to bench press 400 pounds to manipulate a horse.
Meantime, here’s an animal question that might be closer to home. “Why doesn’t your dog do what you tell her?” The typical answer to this question is either: (a)My dog is hard-headed and refuses to obey me. Or (b) My dog is stupid. The correct answer, apparently, is neither (a) nor (b). The correct answer is, “The problem is you.”
Ann Becnel has been a dog trainer and the owner of a dog training school called Companion Dogs, since 1990.Ann says her job is not so much training dogs, as teaching a dog’s owner how to train their dog. The lesson here is, even if you want to work with animals because you prefer them to people, you still end up working with people.
There’s no doubt we’re making huge advances in all kinds of fields of human endeavor. A virtual assistant can give us instant answers to almost every question we ask it. A.I. is on the way to learning almost everything humans can do. And we’re seriously investigating building inhabitable cities on other planets. But with all these advances, we haven’t made much progress on how to communicate with the millions of creatures who share this planet with us. Present company excluded. Michelle and Ann spend their professional lives communicating with dogs and horses. And, judging by this conversation, their skills at human communication are fairly formidable too.
Out to Lunch is recorded over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. Check out more lunchtime conversation about dogs here.