Legislators and their Pets

 Legislators and their Pets 

Sweet Surprise in the Form of a Labrador named Honey

 State Representative Ben West, Jr. and his wife, Phyllis, can tell you about unconditional love.  It comes in the form of a seven-year-old, sandy-colored Labrador retriever named Honey.  Their daughter, Ginger Woodside, gave them Honey as a Christmas present.  They had lost two dogs to death that year, and the gift turned out to be a sweet surprise.

The name chosen for her describes her perfectly.  Her sweetness shown to the Wests extends to their children, nine grandchildren, and even to their two Calico cats.  She sleeps with their cats and allows them to walk under her belly.  Easily trained, Honey listens to their commands, shakes hands and gives kisses.  When she’s ready for a walk, she brings her leash to Rep. West and won’t leave the house unless it’s clipped to her collar.  

Honey is an important part of Rep. West’s professional life as well.  She goes to work with him every day at Security Express, LLC and is included in advertising for elections.  Rep. West laughs and tells us that constituents will call him to say that they won’t vote for him but they will for Honey.  

Cared for by John McCormick, DVM, of McCormick Animal Hospital in Donelson, Honey gets a clean bill of health when examined each year.  

Gentle and smart, Honey has given the West family much love and many laughs. 

 Human and Animal Bond a Special Relationship
 State Representative Mike McDonald (right) bought Snickers, a Rocky Mountain Horse, on December 2, 2003.  Within a couple of weeks, Rep. McDonald came home to find Snickers lying bloody in a field behind his home.  After a quick response from Matt Lovell, DVM, an equine specialist in his area, it was determined that Snicker’s main tendon on the back of a hind leg had been torn.  Due to the severity of the injury, Dr. Lovell recommended that Snickers be transported to Knoxville to the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment.

Once there, Jim Shumacher, DVM, performed surgery and gave Rep. McDonald some bleak news.  The chance of recovery from this type of injury is 50%.  Snickers would have to wear a cast on his leg for an extended time and cast sores could be a problem.  Although the news was discouraging, Rep. McDonald and Snickers were not discouraged.  They followed the veterinarian’s directions for recovery carefully.  When the cast was removed, an ultrasound showed the tendon had grown together and there were no cast sores.  After a year of exercising, Rep. McDonald saddled Snickers for the final test which he passed with flying colors.  What a thrill to Rep. McDonald to be able to ride his horse again. 

 The bond between Rep. McDonald and his beautiful horse, Snickers, continues today

 Senator Diane Black along with the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association Encourage Tennesseans to Participate in Rabies Vaccination Programs

Tennessee Senator Diane Black will tell you how special her 16-month-old granddaughter Madison is to her.  Taking care of Madison does not stop at taking care of Madison's own personal health needs, but also the health needs of her most beloved playmate, her two-year-old boxer Laila. Senator Black's son Steve and his wife Tracy bought Laila from a private breeder and she arrived before Madison was born.  Laila has a sweet personality, loves everyone who comes in contact with her, and is a special part of the Black family. Senator Black talks of the bond that Madison and Laila share and knows that for this bond to continue to grow means taking a step toward good animal health which includes required rabies vaccinations. 

World Rabies Day is September 29th. Senator Black, along with the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association, would like to use this time to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent, and how to eliminate the main global sources. Please join us in our educational campaign, particularly aimed at children and young people, about rabies and how the disease can be prevented.  Please visit the TVMA website HERE for the Pet Owners Guide to Rabies Prevention.