Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Episode 9: Pets and Businesswoman with Rachel Baribeau

Dr. Marc Smith :
Hello, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to episode nine. I’m your host Dr. Marc Smith, co-creator of PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products and 20 year practicing veterinarian.

Boy, have I got a gift for you today. On the show today is a wonderful lady who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Her name is Rachel Baribeau.

Rachel is a rock star in the world of women’s journalism.

Rachel can be found on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation show.

Rachel is a dedicated pet lover and a dedicated pet owner. I have done veterinary work for Rachel for, roughly, two years.

I wanted to interview her on our show today and to give you some other insights about pet ownership and for you to meet some of the pet owners that I am lucky enough to do work for.

Welcome, Rachel. Rachel, how are you doing?

Rachel Baribeau:
I’m doing well.

Dr. Marc Smith :
I am so glad to be and honored to be able to talk to you.

Rachel Baribeau:
Oh, well I feel the same. You have taken care of my family members, my pets, my four-legged babies. I have had some challenging issues with my babies. Anybody who takes care of my babies and my family is like family to me.

Dr. Marc Smith :
For our listeners out there, I’m going to give them a brief bio about you.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Rachel is a sports journalist. She was born in Auburn, Alabama. She has some radio … Sports radio show on Sirius FM. She also does a radio show here in Nashville at Acme Feed and Supply, that I have been an interviewed guest on, and I want to appreciate and thank you for that Rachel. On your bio it says you are, what we call, an SEC-ologist. Can you tell our listeners what that means, please?

Rachel Baribeau:
It just means that if there’s a conference that I know a lot about it’s the South Eastern Conference. I started my career covering the South Eastern Conference, then I moved on to the ACC in addition to that, and then I became a national sportscaster and now cover all conferences. It just means that I know a little bit about some things, but particularly about SEC football.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Awesome, and I’m a huge fan of SEC football as well. I think you know that. Here’s something. I want to test your knowledge of SEC football, okay? If you can answer these two questions …

Rachel Baribeau:
Oh geez. Okay.

Dr. Marc Smith :
… you will endear me to you forever. Okay? The first question is can you tell me how many schools in the SEC …

Rachel Baribeau:
Mississippi State is the Bulldogs.

Dr. Marc Smith :
That’s two.Rachel Baribeau:
That’s two. Then you’ve got Texas A&M Aggies. Oh, and Aggie’s a dog.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Well, that’s a good one. I didn’t know that before I started doing this research. Their mascot is named Reveille, which is a collie.

Rachel Baribeau:
It’s a Lassie dog.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Collie, yes ma’am. You’re exactly right.

Rachel Baribeau:
And the Tennessee Volunteers.

Dr. Marc Smith :
The Tennessee Volunteers.

Rachel Baribeau:
Smokey.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Smokey, yes. Bluetick Coonhound.

Rachel Baribeau:
Four, four dogs.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Four dogs. I thought that was pretty fascinating when I was doing the research on you. I’m sure a lot of people wonder why I had you on here since you’re an SEC sportscaster, but you’re also an animal lover. I’ve been privileged enough to be your veterinarian for, I guess, two or three years now. I want to tell you how much I appreciate that and that means a lot to me. Anybody that uses me as their veterinarian, but I wanted to ask you some questions, over the next 10 minutes or so, to get your insider view about your pets and what they mean to you.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yes.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Just to discuss it for 10 or 15 minutes.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah. I have a rescue Lab. His name is Decker. When I got him he was introduced to my older Lab I had at the time, her name was Della. I was told that he was great with other animals, and soon found out a couple of months later that he indeed was not great with other animals, for whatever reason, anxiety, stress, being special needs, which I firmly believe he is now, but he is a wonderful dog.

Let me tell you something. I am a proponent of adoption and am on the way, as an individual, to adopting a child or children. I really think, as a woman of faith, that Decker, who is now my best friend … I do believe that the trials and tribulations that I went through him and that you helped me with, and I know that we’ll talk about Dr. Smith, were for a purpose and that God was teaching me a lesson and that, hey, listen. A lot of people said it might be easy just to give up on this dog. It might be smarter just to get rid of him, but God was saying, you know what? If you can’t keep a rescue dog then how in the world are you going to do adoption.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right.

Rachel Baribeau:
I’ve learned the most from this dog than I have in half my life. I’ve learned about love and acceptance and never giving up on a creature and the adoration and love that they have for you and just their complete love. To sum your question up, I think the one thing that we could teach people is that they’re not disposable. No matter what happens, they’re not disposable.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right. You say that with a lot of conviction and compassion. I can tell that in your voice. Decker … How old did you tell me he was again?

Rachel Baribeau:
He’s somewhere between nine and 10 Dr. Smith.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Okay, and he’s somewhere between nine and ten.

Rachel Baribeau:
Not quite sure. They weren’t sure, but you’ve said that by looking at his teeth. That’s kind of the idea that we have on his age.

Dr. Marc Smith :
He’s a chocolate Lab, just so everybody out there knows.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yes, big chocolate Lab.

Dr. Marc Smith :
How else would you describe him? I mean what’s his personality like and does he have any idiosyncrasies that irritate you or anything like that?

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah, so he’s a big lug. He’s a big, lovable lug. If you’ve ever seen the movie UP where the dog looks like he’s got … Doesn’t have the hair around his eyes, he almost looks like he’s the cartoon UP. He looks like he’s wearing glasses. That’s what my guy looks like. He’s, like I said, loving and loyal and goofy and a baby in a lot of ways even though he’s nine or 10 he reminds you of a puppy. Something along the way happened to him, Dr. Smith, and you and I have discussed this many times, but something happened to him. Either he was hit or he was beaten or he just developed some sort of anxiety, but he is the … He’s very skittish. When I had my older Lab, who just passed away at 17, he would be fine with her, but then about once every three months he would just lash out and attack her.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right.

Rachel Baribeau:
As soon as he did it, what was crazy to me was as soon as he did it he would hide and hunker because he knew he had done wrong. It was almost as if a person has a seizure and they do something, and they, you know, they’re acting out of their mind and then they come back to themselves and then he was very ashamed of himself. That’s how I knew that he wasn’t a bad dog. He wasn’t an angry dog or malicious dog. He just had some issues. I just think he’s a little … Few slices short of a loaf.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right. That’s pretty common. We see a lot of dogs and I really can’t put my finger on it, but sometimes when they have a questionable history …

Rachel Baribeau:
Yes.

Dr. Marc Smith :
… they maybe do some things that we tend to think are out of character. Lots of times there’s some other event that happened, maybe years ago …

Rachel Baribeau:
Yep.

Dr. Marc Smith :
… that has made them react in certain situations to certain things.

Rachel Baribeau:
Your point, if I can add this. You’re so right. I had a dog trainer before I met you say to me, “Rachel most times,” and you’ve said this to me Dr. Smith, “most times a dog will give you a clue that he’s about to be aggressive.” An eye, you know, cutting of the eyes, a growl, a something. You know the hair standing at the back of his neck. Then they said, the dog trainer said, “Decker doesn’t give any indication. He just snap.” He said, “I think that somewhere along in his history, when he growled or when he gave the signs, he was either hit or he was told that that was bad behavior.” So instead of giving a warning sign he just kind of pounced and he believes that that warning sign was, if you will, beaten out of him.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right, yeah. Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of pets and a lot of animals in general.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Maybe we need to think about instead of abusing them or taking that physical aggressive way of handling them, maybe we should try to think, maybe, smarter than the dogs, right?

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Maybe that would be a good thing to do. We’re suppose to be smarter. I don’t know if we are, but we’re suppose to be.

Rachel Baribeau:
You’re right about being … Maybe getting smarter, but man, do they have it figured out. You’re a vet. You see them all day every day, but animals got it figured out. They’ve got the perfect little soul.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right. Are you involved with any animal organizations?

Rachel Baribeau:
I am not, but I give my money if being involved is giving money. I give my money to a rural animal shelter that needs it badly and I was taken … It’s Chilton County in Alabama. I used to live near there and I was taken with what the rescuer was doing and how badly they needed food and beds.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Just basic stuff. Just basic stuff.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah, basic. Again, they needed, badly.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Yeah.

Rachel Baribeau:
That’s where I give my money.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Yeah, yeah. I’m sure they appreciate it. Now we’ll go on and talk a little bit about me. I’m not suppose to talk about myself on this show, but I guess I am. I don’t really know why but I am. How did you find out about me as a veterinarian?

Rachel Baribeau:
I found out about you as a veterinarian because my mom, so she adores you through my reports of you, she was looking for a holistic vet. Because we do not believe, as a persons and as somebody who’s seeking treatment for my dogs, I do not take medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t take antibiotics unless it’s necessary. I’m homeopathic. I’m holistic. I do everything I can to lead a normal life because I think God created the human body and the animal body to heal itself. I wanted a vet that wasn’t going to laden down, weigh down, on my animals with a lot of medication.

We found you for my older dog, at the time, whom I think … If somebody takes another big point from this podcast it’s with your help we gave my older dog, who passed away this summer, we gave her two and a half years of extra life and she lived till she was 17 years old. She was a smaller chocolate Lab. Because of you and because of … You did adjustments on her, chiropractic adjustments, and you did … We did steroid shots towards the end. We had her … You had me change her food. All things that we did. We did different supplements for her and because of you just a month before she passed away she was climbing the stairs. A humongous set of stairs at 17. You gave me two good years with my baby and I’m so grateful for that.

Dr. Marc Smith :
I appreciate that and I just tried to do the best I could. I think we accomplished that and she lived to be a ripe old age, pain-free, and I don’t think you can ask for a lot about that. I do want to echo what you said. I think sometimes as veterinarians, at least earlier in my career I used to try to step in too much and give stuff and give shots. Sometimes I think if we can sit back and respect the fact that these animals’ bodies are incredible and get out of the way, then sometimes they do better than with our interventions. That’s a neat point you brought up. I want to see if you remember this story, okay?

Rachel Baribeau:
Yep.

Dr. Marc Smith :
The first time you met me you came in there and you came into my clinic on Highway 100 and you were unsure and we met and I was like … I can’t remember if it was with Decker or Della or not, but I came in and I said, “Rachel.” I said, “If you want to know the best thing you can do to help your dog’s health right now, you need to do blank.” Can you tell me what it is?

Rachel Baribeau:
Well it may have been to do with their food.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Okay, now hold on. I want you to step back now.

Rachel Baribeau:
Uh-huh.

Dr. Marc Smith :
I want you to dig deep in that memory.

Rachel Baribeau:
Uh-huh.

Dr. Marc Smith :
I played a joke on you. A sweet, little, cute joke. I said, “Rachel if you want to do one thing to help your dog’s health right now, what would it be?”

Rachel Baribeau:
Oh gosh.

Dr. Marc Smith :
If you can’t remember just say it because I remember it and it’s one of my jokes I have up my sleeve. I do this to a lot of people.

Rachel Baribeau:
You’re going to have to share the joke with me, but I tell you … I’ll tell you in a moment what else you told me to do and it’s something that I found to be incredible, but share the joke with me.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Okay, here’s what. It had to do with a piece of apparel.

Rachel Baribeau:
Uh-huh.

Dr. Marc Smith :
On your dog.

Rachel Baribeau:
Was it putting socks on my dog?

Dr. Marc Smith :
No ma’am. It had to do with the collar. I’m giving you hints.

Rachel Baribeau:
Oh! You wanted me to change their Auburn collars.

Dr. Marc Smith :
That’s right. That’s right, I played a joke on you. That’s one of my jokes. I play that on a lot of people, okay? Just so you know. Anyway, I thought that was funny because I told you, I said, “Rachel, the first thing you need to do if you want to help your pet is get that collar off your dog.”

Rachel Baribeau:
And the second thing you said, which I had no idea and we’ve talked about it on the Acme radio show, was about their food. We are feeding, by and large as a population, our dogs crap. We’re feeding them fillers.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right.

Rachel Baribeau:
We’re feeding them grain. We’re feeding them just like … Just like the human body doesn’t need it, the dog’s body doesn’t need it. You had me starting to make my food for my dogs. I thought that was fantastic. I saw great results in that, but I’d never had a veterinarian, and I’d had one of my dogs for 15 years and the other for three. Never in my life before I came to you had I had a veterinarian address their food with me.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Wow. Well, I try to do that each and every time because I think it’s so important.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yeah.

Dr. Marc Smith :
I don’t really try to … I don’t try to push people to use our food because I know our food is not for everybody or every pet, but I do try to put some effort and take some time to educate people so they know, you know? So they know what they can do to help their pet, especially in certain situations. You said earlier that you’re all into holistic health, but what do you think about some veterinarian that does that? I mean doesn’t that kind of make you chuckle? Or what do you think about it?

Rachel Baribeau:
No. I think it’s phenomenal. You know why? Because before I came to you my older dog, at the time, was about 14-1/2, 15, and she had started to have a bout of incontinence where she was peeing on herself. I went to the vet that I was at in Atlanta and they gave her a medication called Prion, P-R-I-O-N, I believe.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Proin. Proin. Proin.

Rachel Baribeau:
Proin.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Yes, Proin.

Rachel Baribeau:
They gave it to her and they said six weeks later we need to do a liver panel on her. She was also starting to … Her legs were starting to splay out, where she couldn’t get up. They were going left and right. She was having a hard time getting up. I’m thinking this is the end. Well around the same time my chiropractor, my human chiropractor … I posted on it on Facebook, the wonders of Facebook, and he said, “Bring her to me. I work on animals too.” I said, “What?” He said, “Yes, I do.” I brought him to her and he adjusted her and he adjusted her every two weeks. You would not believe it. When I went back for that blood panel for the Prion, he said. Six week-

Dr. Marc Smith :
Proin.

Rachel Baribeau:
Proin.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Proin.

Rachel Baribeau:
Six weeks later I went back for that blood panel and they said, “Her liver values have dropped. All of her blood work looks better. What is going on?” I said, “Doctor. The only thing I can tell you that she’s gotten is chiropractically adjusted every two weeks since I’ve seen you.” He said, “Your liver values should have gone up. She should have reflected taking this medication.” He said, “Instead she looks healthier than before we ever put her on it.” I said, “That is the power of natural medicine.” So when I found you I knew it worked.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right. Well, it’s amazing because when I first came out of veterinary school, in 1998, we didn’t learn any of this stuff.

Rachel Baribeau:
Right.

Dr. Marc Smith :
People actually thought you were a cuckoo if you started talking about doing these things. Then my story, as I’ve gone on, it’s changed because I’ve become a whole lot better practitioner, a better diagnostician, and just a better veterinarian and a better, I guess, advice giver because I know all these different treatments and all these different modalities to try to get people from point A to point B. Alternative veterinary medicine has inspired me to open up my eyes to new and different ways.

Rachel, the last question, and then I’ll let you go. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you using me as your veterinarian. I mean that’s a big deal.

Rachel Baribeau:
Yep. I tell everybody that I know about you. I’m one of those individuals that if you got me, I’m a lifer. I’m a loyal person. Whether it be a friend, and you’ve been a friend as well, or vet or anybody that’s in my life, in any capacity, I spread the word. I think word of mouth is a beautiful thing, especially with your animals. People want to … They’re your babies, for most people.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right, right.

Rachel Baribeau:
I tell everybody I can about you.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right. Well, I appreciate that. It’s a big responsibility that I don’t take lightly in taking care of people’s animals the best I can. Here’s the one last question I want to ask you. If you had to give one piece of advice to a dog owner, who is maybe in distress, maybe over putting a dog to sleep or having to make a big decision regarding their pet … Is there any one thing that you think or one piece of advice that you would give them?

Rachel Baribeau:
That’s a great question. I think it would be one piece of advice but a couple of pieces within that advice. First, what I’ve learned over the years is that animals pick up on your energy. If you’re stressed, if you’re sad, if you’re mad, if you’re anxious, they pick up on it. You know if I’m sad, they get it. They’re licking my tears, they’re pacing, they’re wanting to know what’s going on, they’re sitting close. As much as you can try to control your energy. If you’re going to cry your eyeballs out if it’s their end of their time or their being, then maybe do it in the car. They pick up on that.

The second is I would just say seek second opinions, like someone like yours. I would not … If it’s a big decision I wouldn’t go with the first opinion I got. I would seek other opinions. Third of all, I would say just keep the … Sometimes we want to do what’s best for us in our heart, but you got to put the animal first. What’s best for the animal? Is the animal going to be in pain? Is the animal going to suffer? Those types of things. Then if you can save them. If it’s something like an ACL tear or some surgery that they can have. If there’s any way to do it and your vet will work with you, I encourage you to do it.

Dr. Marc Smith :
Right. Put the animal first. I like that, and I like a lot of things you say. Great job. Thank you for being on my show. Rachel, I almost feel like you’re a superstar and I’m this little fledgling.

Rachel Baribeau:
Not true.

Dr. Marc Smith :
You’ve been on big time TV and I’m this little guy sitting behind the mic in my living room. Anyway, thank you for everything. Rachel, I want to tell you how much I appreciate you being here. You speak with passion. You speak with conviction. You give people a different perspective on how they look at your pets and I really want to tell you how much I appreciate it again.

She can be found at SiriusXM College Sports Nation or she can be found on Twitter at @rachelbaribeau.

If you need to get in touch with her, you can contact her there.

Again, I’m Dr. Marc Smith. I’m your host. If you want to become empowered or you want to have a different perspective on taking care of your pet or feeding your pet for that matter, then please go to www.pettao.com and explore.

There you’ll find many cool things about pets and many ways that you can become empowered.

Until next week, so long.

 

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