Becker Bus Tour: Letting the good times roll in New Orleans
The Big Bus Tour had a bright-and-early start Tuesday so that Dr. Marty Becker could appear on Good Morning New Orleans at the ABC affiliate WGNO-TV. The bus tour crew got to the studio at 5:30 a.m. Dr. Becker was featured in a live segment in which he assessed the body condition scores of Lucy, who belongs to co-anchor Jocelyn Lockwood, and Huxley, who belongs to one of the producers of the show.
Although both dogs were in pretty good condition, Dr. Becker had a few tips to attain and then maintain ideal body weight, including the idea of "less food in their bowl, more miles on their feet." For example, feed fewer treats—treats should make up no more than 10 percent of a pet’s caloric intake. See the segment here.
The Becker bus tour crew then ventured to the can't-miss New Orleans eatery Cafe du Monde to experience their famous cafe au lait and beignets. After the powdered-sugar-laden feast, everyone went back to the hotel for a quick break (and nap, if possible) before the VIP (Veterinary Important Person) presentation to New Orleans-area practitioners.
A fun and easy recommendation that generated much interest was Dr. Becker's declaration that they could increase client satisfaction by one-third and make themselves "seem brilliant" with one question: Ask pet owners the genesis of their dogs' names. Dr. Becker said this will get pet owners involved as they tell their stories but also illustrate your interest and investment in their pets. Some of the best pet names Dr. Becker has come across? M.C. Hamster, 11:30 (since the pet wasn't quite dark enough to be midnight), and Nobody. Why Nobody? When Dr. Becker asked the client to explain that one, the owner replied in a sad, sing-songy voice, "Nobody loves me."
Next, off to a Petco meet-and-greet in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. In addition to being interviewed by a reporter from the New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune, Dr. Becker heard about Petco General Manager Denis Breaud's Hurricane Katrina adventure. Breaud was a zookeeper at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane and was part of the "A" team that was assigned to stay with the animals throughout the storm. The zoo had ample warning, so they were able to stock up on food and supplies before Katrina hit. Luckily, the zoo is located on higher ground, so no flooding occurred. The Houston and Baton Rouge zoos also sent food and supplies afterward to help maintain the animals. Breaud says that only two otters died as a result of Katrina—both from stress.
The weirdest part of the ordeal for Breaud (pictured above with Dr. Becker) was the first days after the storm when he said it was like the movie 28 Days Later. He would walk around outside, and there was no one in the streets—no cars, nothing. It's an experience that will stay with Breaud for the rest of his life.
Wednesday is a travel day as the crew heads to Florida, so be sure to check back in for a behind-the-scenes look at the crew's next adventure on dvm360.com/beckerbustour.