OK, maybe going to this dentist isn’t so bad.

By Austin Cannon
September 30, 2020
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Kismet puts dental patients at ease by offering them a head to pat or ears to scratch.
Debra Garrett

No offense to dentists, but visiting them usually isn’t our idea of fun. It usually entails some form of scraping, drilling, or yanking that makes our skin crawl just thinking about it. 

We could all use a friend when we’re enduring mouth maintenance, and at Corte Madera Family Dentistry that’s exactly what you get: a 13-year-old toothless Chihuahua named Kismet. 

“When I introduce Kismet to patients, I will say, ‘This is your cautionary tale to brush and floss,’” Debra Garrett tells the Marin Independent Journal. Debra is a hygienist at the Bay Area practice while her husband, Cameron, is the dentist. 

Kismet, who they adopted from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, is an extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients have to go through a “gauntlet,” getting their temperature taken and washing their hands, before sitting down in the chair. 

“It’s a little scary,” Garrett tells the newspaper. “They go through all of that and they see little Kismet and it takes the edge off of everything.”

The dental comfort dog sits in patients’ laps while they get their work done, no doubt calming them down even further. In between patents, Kismet takes naps. 

Kismet is the successor to Karma, the office’s first senior dental dog who the Camerons also adopted from Muttville. Karma first lived with Debra Garrett’s mom, but when that didn’t work out, she started coming into the office. 

“With my first patient, I said, ‘Do you want to hold the dog?’ They said, ‘Sure,’ and when they held her, they just melted,” Garrett tells the newspaper. “Over the years, she became really popular with the patients. We had some really great successes with some of our dental-phobic patients, and it was super nice for me and Cam to be working on a patient and we get to look over and see our little dog.”

Who wouldn't feel better about going to the dentist's office if you got to pet a pup while having all that work done?
Debra Garrett

Karma sadly died last year, and luckily the Garretts were able to adopt Kismet, showing there are plenty of reasons to go the senior-dog route. 

“You really know what you are getting,” Garrett tells the newspaper about the benefits of an older pup. “You know the personality, it’s already formed. You know what their quirks are. You know you’re getting a dog that is likely potty-trained and lower maintenance.”