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Temple Grandin joins Fear Free advisory board


A longtime advocate for the well-being of food animals, Grandin is now lending her experience and expertise to the veterinary environment.

Fear Free founder Dr. Marty Becker with the newest Fear Free Advisory Group member, Temple Grandin. (Image courtesy of Dr. Becker)The Fear Free Advisory Group recently welcomed a new member: animal welfare and autism advocate Temple Grandin, PhD, according to an article on the organization's website.

Fear Free founder Marty Becker, DVM, who describes himself as a longtime admirer of Grandin's work in improving the lives of food animals, saw Grandin as a natural partner in his efforts to advance animal well-being in the veterinary environment.

“Temple is the epitome of someone who combines both science and soul,” Dr. Becker said in the article. “She has a gift for working with and understanding animals. It's not just her gift; she's an experienced researcher.”

Grandin wasted no time in sharing her unique combination of science and soul with her fellow board members. According to Grandin, the No. 1 mistake veterinary professionals are making is stripping familiar scents from pets and replacing them with scents that are offensive or threatening, the article says.

Grandin's solution: Have clients bring a pet's favorite soft toy or blanket from home to veterinary visits. Think of it as the animal version of a child's security blanket.

The second biggest mistake Grandin noted is keeping pets off-balance, which makes them uncomfortable. Exam tables are the main culprit here.

“For a pet on the exam table, it's probably a lot like what we might feel like if we were elevated off the ground onto a slippery surface and were standing on roller skates,” Dr. Becker said in the article.

In addition to avoiding the exam table, Grandin suggests incorporating bathmats to help keep pets balanced as they are soft, nonslip and washable.

Grandin's last piece of advice to the Fear Free Advisory Group was to pay attention to animals' nonverbal cues. Animals, she said, are constantly communicating whether they're content or fearful, and veterinary professionals can use this information to determine how to best interact.

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