Most folks first meet Lanette Drewrey when they visit Wildrose to see puppies or when she presents healthcare information at Puppy Pickin’. She appears in fashionable medical scrubs. Like her personality Lanette’s staff dress is unique and colorful.
Few know how much work she carries out in her day-to-day routine as a senior Wildrose staff member, who oversees one of the kennel’s primary, and highly technical, functions: healthcare services. Her duties include caring for all of the Wildrose dogs, breeding, delivering pups, and caring for them during their first seven weeks. She also manages the healthcare building, which is currently undergoing a large expansion and will include an indoor super puppy training area.
Lanette grew up on a farm just a few miles from Wildrose. Her family life included dogs and cats and assorted farm animals. She trained and showed quarter horses and cows.
When she was an Ole Miss biology major, Lanette began working part-time at the Lafayette Animal Clinic, assisting Dr. Ernie Harland, a long-time Oxford veterinarian, in surgery and on farm calls. Dr. Harland provided medical services for the kennel, so it was natural for twenty-year-old Lanette to join the Wildrose staff as an animal health care specialist.
At that time she also trained young dogs and co-conducted with Mike the puppy obedience sessions for Wildrose owners. As the kennel grew—with more dogs and expanded facilities—Lanette’s health service duties increased to fill her entire work schedule. She was promoted to veterinarian technician in February, 2004.
Currently, Lanette oversees the Wildrose husbandry programs, health care for our sires and dams, along with the dogs in training. She handles all types of medical procedures, except for x-rays and surgery, for which they go to a veterinarian, such as Dr. Harland.
Lanette is also responsible for supervising the Wildrose Super Learner Program (SLP) and the Super Scent Series (SSS). What’s more, she has to keep the entire health care facility clean, a time-consuming job with so many dogs and pups. She gets support from health care assistants Kayla Britt, Glennis Marshall, and Benton Hilbun.
Lanette’s biggest challenge in handling so many dogs is keeping up with the daily medical needs, including giving innumerable puppy shots. To keep track of all of the health care activities Lanette maintains a number of white boards filled with dates, dogs’ names, and medical information. A visitor to her office or the health center is likely to find her erasing a note from a chart and updating it. Another frequent activity for her is nuzzling pups. Fittingly, Lanette loves little pups. And her work on their behalf begins before they are born.
She collaborates with Mike in determining breeding partners. Combining art and science, not only do they check the pedigrees and the dogs’ temperaments, but they also consider the future parents’ earlier generations of pups. They develop the mating calendar based on the dogs’ breeding history and Lanette checks the dams continually to see who’s in heat. There is also a white board with tracking information about the breeding processes.
When Lanette discusses the brood stock, it is evident that she knows each dam and sire intimately from years of experience with her and him. She attends to each mating according to the needs of the partners. When the staff members see an orange cone outside the healthcare building backdoor, they know to keep quiet and stay away. The mating process is underway.
Checking the bred dams every day, Lanette also transports them to an Oxford veterinarian for an ultrasound procedure check. Soon she will be aided in this activity by the addition of sonographic equipment to the health facility.
Lanette brings mommas-to-be into the healthcare building three weeks before delivery and moves them into brood boxes a week before delivery, where she monitors them. At delivery time she and her staff assist—no matter what the time, nor how long it takes. At a recent puppy pickin’ day, Lanette not only groomed the seven-week-olds to meet their new owners, she had also been delivering new pups the night before—staying until four in morning working with the new delivery.
The number of dogs with pups varies with the seasons. As Lanette says, there are bubbles, cycles when there are lots of pups, followed by periods when there are fewer. She follows a regimen of puppy care for their first seven weeks. At feeding time, when pups are old enough to supplement mother’s milk with eating food, Lanette uses a blender to mix the dry food into a slurry with water and powdered milk. She monitors each puppy’s weight and gives it its inoculation.
On puppy pickin’ days, Lanette and her staff are major players. While new owners take a tour of the grounds and participate in Mike’s introductory presentation, the health care staff is giving final medical checks and bathing the pups. Lanette also presents health information to the new owners, going over the medical record, demonstrating the need for a first aid kit, and discussing health needs for the pups. After owners select their dogs, Lanette injects each with a microchip behind its shoulders, carrying a nine-digit number, that is registered in a national data base.
After puppy pickin’ all puppies leave the health care building. For a puppy whose owner has not yet picked it up, a staff member takes it home to care for it until pickup time. Thereby, the health facility space remains available for new mothers-to-be. And the life cycle begins again. For Lanette the most satisfying part of her job is working with puppies every day, from their birthdays until their seventh week. She doesn’t have to admit to loving little puppies. It shows.
Last fall Lanette and trainer, Ben Summerall, traveled to Ireland to pick up four finished dogs from Wildrose partner Nigel Carville. During their week in the cold and beautiful Northern countryside, they watched field trials and came to know a number of the dogs at Astraglen Kennels. Lanette was so pleased to become acquainted with Irish dogs that are related to dogs that we have at Wildrose. In addition to checking the health and training of the dogs that they would accompany to America, Ben and Lanette, enjoyed the companionship and hospitality of Nigel, his family, and friends.
At her nearby home Lanette lives with her three-year-old son, Aidan. They have the in-home companionship of two Wildrose dogs, Guiness and Isabel. She also has six kennels on her property where dogs-in-training are housed. A fan of the Harry Potter movies, Lanette was thrilled to see the latest installment recently with some of her Wildrose staff partners.
In the near future Lanette will enjoy the results of the ongoing facilities’ expansion, especially the Super Puppy Learning Center with de-humidifiers and warmed floors, where the staff will have the flexibility of exercising and training young pups indoors at any time.
Rest assured that your Wildrose pup has been well cared for, both in its health and its early training. Lanette Drewrey and her staff are on the job every day, day and night.