Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Tribute To A Beagle. Jekyll, and the boy behind the nose.


It is time to pay homage to the lives in my sphere of existence who matter most.

It is time to tell the world about the lives only I know in the way that I know them.

It time to tell their tale, share their lives, and build them a chance beyond me. It is what a parent is put here to do. Love them along the journey of building them to live beyond me.

What if every person who loved every other took the time to put that love on paper? What if every parent loved their kids soo much they provided for them, both emotionally, financially, and physically?

There is life after yours. It is the place where this blog starts,, and the place where Jekyll will live on without me. Even if neither of us are physically here any longer.


Jekyll is a beagle. All beagle. He is welcoming to every human. Has no prejudice to anyone. He is Snoopy incarnate; mischievous, calculating, self-centered, obsessive, and charming. He lets his nose guide him, even if that nose leads him two miles away and into a strangers car for a lift home. He is as equally happy wet, dirty, and covered in detritus from four counties. as he is belly up spread eagle on my white linen couch.



He knows how to work a crowd. Whether it be for a food scrap, a ride in the back of the farm equipment, or a lap to scratch the velvet ears until the eyes roll back into a hibernating slumber.

Jekyll is the pup you trust with everyone, implicitly. He never takes advantage of a life less fortunate. He knows to be respectful to the cat who reminds him every single day that canine cowers to feline.

He is intelligent to the point of cynical.

He is on post, at all times. There is no rest, no day-off, no time to let your guard down.


He is curious to the point of careless. He can wander. It can drive you batty with worry. He takes off because,,, well,, he cannot control the urge. It is the calling of his most primal part of the ancestors soul that whispers him to go see what that smell is.." It calls him in invisible droplets of mysterious lures to far off lands with magical beasts awaiting his discovery. It puts his life in peril and causes me endless days of tracking across fields to retrieve my hound refusing to acknowledge, or pause, to heed my pleas to return home. He will not and cannot come home until he can no longer carry his solid paunch forward. He only stops when he can no longer track forward, which almost inevitably leaves him sitting pig-style panting in a field of the neighbors. Husband in Gator for beagle retrieval required.


Jekyll will be fine without me. He has that "jena se qua". It is star quality charm set among irresistable ears, a NASA Hubel nose, spotted caramel coat, and a face that reminds you to surrender your heart, soul, and sandwich. He can entice you to not be mad or disappointed, and not ever think you are in charge of a soul destined to wander the unchartered, unnavigable, and yet undiscovered wrinkles in the landscape I only see a fragment of the detail he does.


What does your pet bring to your life?

How do they enlighten you to see the world differently?

And, what plans have you made to insure they live beyond you?

Love you Jek-Jek. mom.. and dad.



To learn more about my journey please follow this blog. To learn more about pets and pet care please follow my YouTube channel. If you have a pet question, are a pet lover, or think that you would like to contribute to helping other pets across all socio-economic borders please join us at Pawbly.com. It is a free question and answer site dedicated to educating, empowering and inspiring pet people the world over.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice,, and punching a clock for the shear love of wet noses everyday at Jarrettsville Vet,, the greatest little vet clinic in the solar system.  And for the best Facebook page take a lookie over here at Jarrettsville Vet Facebook.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Euthanasia v. Standard Of Care

If you have to sit there and defend your "standard of care" while you push pink juice up a treatable pets vein you probably made the wrong decision.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Losing "Them" In The Blame Game. Why The Vet Video Rant Was Lost On The Vet Profession Blow Back.

It seems very disturbing that all of the energy of the video from the veterinary side has been focused on;

1. Defending why everything on the emergency side costs what it does. (I would probably use the words "so expensive" but I have to tread lightly and try to not incite any more riots).

2. On me. The attacks have been centered on me. Bullying, lashing out and hurting me. It has been a hard, painful personal attack.

Even between those two the point has been lost. The point of my outrage AND outcry for change was the pet. The patient. No one is talking about them EXCEPT the people who feel betrayed and let down by the veterinary profession (and me?).

This is not about YOU IT IS ABOUT THEM. The center of our profesion. The reason for our diploma. The one being we get up every day, work so hard, and make so little return on our financial, emotional, and deggedly tired investment.. our patients.

This, all of this, is just about them.

Where did they go in the arguing? The defending? The bullying?

They went where they always go.. into the shadows to be at the mercy of the world.

Stop pointing fingers, placing blame, and let's start every single discussion with
"HOW DO WE HELP THEM?"

Not just "how do we do it better?"

But with real, meaningful,  tangible change.

The change is coming. If I have to carry it on my back alone, it will come. For you see, I am never alone. I am still that little girl in the woods seeking companionship in a world I don't quite fit into. I have the animals, my family, and now a ground swell of support from a place I never knew needed me.. the whole pet loving world.

It isn't that hard to find the compassion. Every single one of the vets who spoke out has it.. It just needs to be the first voice they listen to.. Let it guide you. Move mountains, be brave, and remember every one before us did it with less. Less fancy equipment, less skill, less overhead, and just as much compassionate dedication.

I am here. As I always have been. Trying to keep on trying. Never giving up on a case I think I might just be able to influence in a more positive direction. I hope the rest of the vet community, and pet loving world joins me.

As always, "if you ever have to chose between being right and being kind, chose kind".

Krista

Friday, September 8, 2017

Mobbing and Lobbying. The Backlash Of A Voice For Your Patients

There is no secret I harbor about what side I play for. If there are sides to be chosen and I am forced to choose I have to play for my patients. I have to raise awareness, speak out unafraid and pick a side. I find it increasingly difficult to believe I am on a solo team. I may feel like it right now, but I know I am not alone.

The great divide between able and infeasible grows day after day. It grows in our economic landscape and it grows in veterinary medicine access. The great divide seems to also be growing between veterinarians and pet parents. We are uniquely intimately dependent on each other and yet the contention and animosity grows. I am not saying this to incite another social media riot, I am saying this because that is what I hear every single day in practice. It is why there are viral videos and thousands of broken hearted pet parents posting their stories beneath it.

We cannot go one day in the clinic without a phone call from a pet parent who is desperate for help. Now I know the knee jerk reaction is to place blame squarely back on the phone caller, BUT, I also know there is a pet stuck in the middle and I have an ethical obligation to the seat of my soul to not abandon caring for or about them. I am alone right now in my profession because I can no longer stand by and watch these desperate people look hopelessly for help because it is less profitable to care. Let's be honest now, that is exactly what we are talking about, profitability and compassion.

The bond between our love for our pets and our spending on our pets also increases on an equal trajectory upward slope. It is so evident in our profession that veterinary clinics are being swallowed up by corporate practices at an alarming rate. No one outside of the corporate stake holders and retiring cashing-out veterinarians likes this change. No veterinarian wants to feel like they now work for a corporate decision making agenda and lose their ability to practice their own type of medicine with their own style. It is one of the many significant influences shaping the way we practice and the care our clients receive. Corporations are buying up clinics for one reason alone. Profit. Veterinary clinics, especially in their hands, are very profitable. On the flip side, veterinarians want to tell us that pet care is expensive because it is expensive to outfit a hospital with all of its needed equipment, personnel and such. At an individual level veterinarians want to be paid commensurate to their time and expertise. Veterinarians will also share that the profession is over run with over tired, over worked, professionals shouldering a huge burden of debt. The situation is tenuous and complex. At the epicenter sits our too often immensely needy too often on the brink of near death patients.

There is always a victim in life, it is the nature of our internal beast. Pets, the very reason we all went into veterinary medicine, too often end up the victim of a profession pushing the boundaries of affordability daily, a population struggling more to make ends meet, and a society who places greater importance on pets as a necessity in a complete family unit. There is raw, deep emotion on all sides and an ever widening gap in affordable prices to meet the gap in the middle. That is the reality. The blame, the finger pointing, the judgement all builds the resentment to a boiling point where an animal is left with the seemingly only feasible option of "economic euthanasia." A term so vile I cannot even permit it to be considered a "treatment". The idea of euthanasia being used anywhere as a suggested option outside of "end of life" is disturbing to me. I only hope it is something the profession will also at some point embrace.

We are at the place where clients frequently tell me they will not ever get another pet. It  is simply too expensive for them to bear the emotional burden of. Can you imagine anything worse being said? The joy and benefits to our lives no longer outweigh the financial obligation. Beyond the emotional toll of losing a loved one people don't want another pet because of the financial emotional turmoil it places on them. How did this happen? Did we all got too emotionally invested to make practical economic decisions? The longer I practice medicine the more deeply I understand this role I have to accept when I help my clients through an end of life decision. I am, as I am asked to be, emotionally invested in their pets and their lives. It is the single most difficult hat to wear and the single most treasured moments I share professionally.

I am going to post some of the gut wrenching stories I am being flooded with. I am once again asking myself to stay strong enough to not surrender to the mountain of tragedy around me and the chasm of abysmal indifference below. I am at the limits of what I can do and at a precipice to either giving up on a quest I cannot abandon or dying alone in a profession of angry people defending their fear of being called out. The proof I will remind everyone is not in how we justify whatever we do, for in the end you only take yourself to the grave, it is in the seeds we sow, the change we inspire and the generosity to our fellow beings.

Please ask yourself what your role is? Ask yourself if you are capable of the emotional investment and ask yourself how imperative it is to never let one pet parent leave one exam room feeling hopeless, lost and unable to protect or provide the pet they love.

I posted a Facebook video rant on how ridiculous it is for most of my clients to find affordable care after hours. It has been met by millions of viewers, thousands of people supporting my posting it, and a huge backlash of angry, cruel, venomous veterinarians and veterinary personnel. The anger is palpable, real, and absolute cyberbullying. I was determined to help the pets in need before and now I am humbled and grateful for the pet parents, rescuers, and pet lovers globally and questioning why the vets are so angry if they are so confident that they are the victims of the outpouring of dismay.

Peace, love and compassion to you all. Krista

Links to Facebook posts here; 



Monday, September 4, 2017

The Things Only We Know. A Moms Tribute To Her Four Legged Kids, and Why We Need To Plan For Their Life Beyond Our Own.

It happens too often. One of our clients passes away and the family calls to inquire if the departed family pet can seek a home with us...

They, the clients, in almost all cases, have never asked, nor planned for their pets to be placed with us after their passing. Rather, these pets, our patients, find us because a relative has inquired about medical records, or advice for placement, when no one else in the family can, or more fittingly, WILL, take them. That,, and we are nosey... we know what happens in our little town, and we know when a client has a pet in need. We, almost advertise it. If you want to be selling yourself as the family doctor you better also live by it.

I always want to ask the caller if the dearly departed made provisions for their left behind dearly beloved? Or, if the family just took the money and dumped the tangible ties to the life they were bequeithed from. I am a cynic. It is compulsory when you are asked to take the collateral damage to the settled estate after the inheritance checks are cashed.

Who does that? Who dumps the pet of their family member after they pass? How do you accept anything from your departed loved one and leave behind the one who loved them while you were off fulfilling your own life destiny?

I don't know.. but I am not a realist,, we already know that.


In the last year my husband has laid to rest our dad, mom and brother. All this dying has gotten me thinking about getting my things in order. About how my life impacts others, and, how I can both provide second chances to my own pets and the patients I so dearly love.

This is a blog about precipitating second chances. About all of the life that is left to live when the whole cast of characters who make up your screen play exit stage left. This is about resilience and secrets. The secrets that I, as their mom, only know about. I want the world, the people I leave behind to know who they are, and how much they have to give back.

I am writing a series of blogs about the little things only a few people know about my kids. My kids are my four legged housemates, two pigs, two dogs, and four cats. They are each their own being, their own person. They each bring a different kind of joy with their own individual personalities, interests, and needs. They are who I know them to be, and more than I may ever recognize. They have feelings, insecurities, interests, love and kindness..

Maybe my life didn't really amount to much? Maybe a career, a home, a spouse, and a family made up of souls who don't carry a passport or a social security number isn't what others consider a legacy to be proud of? Maybe the lives I leave behind don't mean a whole lot to anyone else? But maybe they were all I ever really had? Maybe I was blessed beyond measure of commas on bank statements and retirement accounts? And, maybe the secrets we shared are just as important as the lives the rest of you lead?

Here are the things a mom knows about her kids. The things a mom treasures to provide meaning to a life I wrote without a guidebook to follow.


Pigs,, my life story should always start with a pig.. You need to be a little open to out of the ordinary, but, once you see the love and beauty under a bristle coat, you know what kindness and unconditional love looks like. The pigs are my daily reminder to think beyond yourself, look for beauty outside of the obvious places, and always be open to growing, evolving, and questioning.

Wilbur; trouble meets firecracker; curious like a raccoon, gentle like a bull.

Wilbur, nose in the hand that feeds him AND always happy to meet another hand.
Wilbur was found as a stray in a field. Young, intact, and on the run. He was taken to the shelter and exhausted his "hold period." He was cute, and they had room. I was ready to find him and he was ready to get out of the incessant dog barking hysteria he was cement block housed in. He is curious to see your hands. You must always present them upon introduction for inspection. Every knew arrival is a treat assumption that takes a few moments for him to come down from the disappointment of another empty promise. After a quick forgiveness moment he will roll over and let you rub his belly, or ears, for hours. If you insist he will succumb forever.

 Charlotte, all class and peaceful spirit. She is everything I will spend a lifetime trying to become.

Charlotte was a family pet. She grew up in a home and knew only love. I knew the moment I saw her that the rest of her days would be with me. She has more genuine adoration than almost any human being I have ever known. She is nothing short of perfection, she just came in the form of a species we don't tend to typify as such. All, yes, all, she wants is your time. There should be shrines erected in her honor.

Wren,,,  humble, sweet and thankful. She never forgets where she came from or how lucky she is to be where she is.
Wren, always upside down to show you where her heart lies.

Always bold enough to take the best seat in the house. Not shy, not pretentious, but smart enough to never let an opportunity pass her by.





 The best moments of life hide in the ones we share with few others. For Wren it is a belly rub.

Wren, trust beckons the belly-rub
Wren, the light of my every day,,, the one who chirps a "hello" every time I am near. I always chirp a "Good Morning Wren!" back.. our small banter of acknowledgement that we are here for each other.. always.

The short promenade from the food to the heated rest spot, above the hungry beagle below.


Destination reached... the stove cover is always a warm place to nap, and just a few steps from the food bowl.



 The guardian to each long nights journey. 



And saying "thanks" for every day along the way.



Jitterbug. The master of,, well, everything.

including the dining room table,



and Master of the evil toilet paper empire.

...and most importantly Master of the beagle.

Magpie.. all beauty and a bit of aloofness, just to remind you that she is a glam-girl unfettered and unchained by anybody. I have a lot to learn from her. She takes things on her own terms. Wants to meet everyone, but only accepts a few as worthy of her time or to touch her silkened coat. If she wasn't already so magnificent she would be adorned with an Egyptian gilded showgirl tiara.


Oriole, quiet, shy, fleeting, until she knows you, at which point she will lay her  massive 12 pounds squarely on your abdomen for the entire bedtime sleep.



Oriole, always taking the best seat in the house, if no one is watching.


Jekyll.

The beagle. He is a beagle through and through.


In the event of a zombie apocoplyse where you forget to stock up on canned goods all you need to do is grab him. He can find food anywhere. Other planets, desolate deserts, a waste land, no matter.. each environment is his oasis. There is no crumb too small, or rotted organic matter too ripe to discourage or dissuade him. Every moment of his life is lived with the fear of a food shortage at hand. Stock up now, tomorrow it may not be so plentiful. It is a singular mission of a hyper focused olfactory savant.

His ears are made from the silk of the gods. They are hypnotic and an orgasmic tactile trip.
To know him is to always befriend him. He will never forget who you are. If you are kind to him he will greet you with longing puppy dog eyes, lowered ears and a furious low wag tail. It is every single affectionate sign that you are the most important, most loved, and worshiped person ever. You won't know a love like this again. He throws his adoration freely and completely. 


He is on duty. He takes this job seriously. If there were a marine corp for food procurement and guarding of said food he would be the General.


He may chat, wag, bow, and charm the whole crowd, but when its time to pick a seat at the table, or a spot to nap he will take the best seat at the head of the table on the pile of pillows on your side of the bed without shame, hesitation or pause for permission. He has none of these silly traits and no time to begin honing them. He accepts himself as an already perfect package, of which he truly is.





Charlie. The pit bull mix. Rescued from the local shelter when pneumonia was gripping him and his life was bleak and lost. He was too young to be facing the life he had in front of him, and likely dead if I sent him back to the shelter. He came to the clinic to get well at three months old, he went home with me that night and stayed forever. He is the quiet one. The one everyone overlooks in the limelight of his little brother. He sleeps like a mouse when he is chilly. Balled up as tight as he can wind himself. Tail over his face as the last bit if heat to be retained in the cold days of slumber.



He only wags when he hunts frogs. It is the only time he will stand straight, stern and focused. 


If he gets too hot he simply runs to the pond and belly dives in for a refresher hot day cool off. He runs down just as excitedly as he runs back up the hill to the house. Muddy face, gaping smiley mouth lolly-gagging tongue the pennant to fly his victory lap,


Like too many men he has a vision of himself as the bad-ass. Every new dog meet and greet starts with an erect head, thrusted face forward, raised hunches and a low saxophone solo swaying off screen to the opening dance scene of West Side Story,,, if he is a Shark the rest of the world is a Jet. "Go ahead, Make his day!"


He will never take advantage of you. He won't sneak into a couch, or chair without an invitation and he won't break your heart in the attempt at a score. Perhaps it is because he simply lacks the intelligence to do so, I prefer to think it is because he loves the affection and adoration that I have for him more than the immediate prize.



These are the secrets of my kids,,, the four legged, furry dependents who defined my time here and the time I treasured most. Should you ever be lucky enough to know them, OR, even lucky enough to share a life with them, these are the secrets they taught me.

What do you know about your pets that is your secret? How could you convince the world to give them a second chance beyond the limits of your life?  Have you planned for it? Provisioned for it? If you are a client of Jarrettsville Vet we want to help you do just this. Email me, stop by and chat, and please share your thoughts about your pets with your family. AND, most imperatively, DON'T think they cannot survive without you. They can, and they will. And they can be happy without you.

To learn more about my journey please follow this blog. To learn more about pets and pet care please follow my YouTube channel. If you have a pet question, are a pet lover, or think that you would like to contribute to helping other pets across all socio-economic borders please join us at Pawbly.com. It is a free question and answer site dedicated to educating, empowering and inspiring pet people the world over.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice,, and punching a clock for the shear love of wet noses everyday at Jarrettsville Vet,, the greatest little vet clinic in the solar system.  And for the best Facebook page take a lookie over here at Jarrettsville Vet Facebook.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Transcendent Care. Investing in Internal Conflict

At some point the actual practicing of veterinary medicine becomes about the "other people" in your life.

Sadie,, my touchstone.
It is less so about the never ending revolving bills to pay, the pressures to meet some internal expectation and stop feeling like you live the model life of "imposter syndrome", it is about making others feel more connected to their pets by way of your ability to make them feel at ease with their pets care. It is about other peoples feelings towards their family and the role you play in that.

I call it the "transcendence period." I have transcended out of my own insecurities as my primary motivating factor, (although the fear of failure, embracing of human fault, and ever persistent nagging to know more, do more, and be more all lurk behind a gossamer curtain just off of stage left in the periphery of my every interaction), I have learned to live with them more peacefully and not let them guide my once too tentative footsteps forward in a direction intended to simply help others.

Charlotte, my girl. Rescued from the local Harford County Humane Society
PTSD, aka post traumatic stress disorder, is often pinned to warriors. The hero's who have returned from wars fought outside of our safe arms length sent home to deal with memories they were supposed to intuitively file away forever neatly after getting back home. I think I suffer and struggle with internal conflict much the same way? My own sort of deep inner hidden nidus I am not supposed to provide a name, a voice, nor a syndrome to. It is the plight of intensity meets introvert. There is not a vet alive who isn't to some degree an introvert. We like to study late at night, often all night, after all. We like to dig, pick, scrutinize and cast questions in the hopes an answer will appear and stick. It is detective work with mute victims... we are introverts at heart. We also place ridiculous unattainable expectations on ourselves. We loathe failure and defeat. We loathe it so much we learn how to posture ourselves so that we minimize how often we have to face it. We don't say much out loud, we hardly show our cards, and we worst of all don't extend ourselves into personal relationships with our clients, never mind our patients. We expect more than we can deliver and we criticize ourselves for both as some sort of Escher-type circuitous maze.

Like every lifelong challenge at some point you either slay the beast, surrender to it and await the next one to yield it's foreboding head, or you lay your sword down and walk away white flag flying high. I am not sure you can acquiesce in a healthy manner to any conflict other way than to choose option three. If you can walk away feeling empowered by doing so you transcend.

Chester, so sick she was almost given up on.
She was an 'easy' case.. she just needed time and antibiotics.
She needs a home.
The cure for my obsessive compulsive determination to not succumb to the shadows is to reinvest my efforts and joy back into the thing I can't quite escape.. my love-hate relationship with vet med. The choice, and the success in that choice, relies on investing wisely and accepting good with bad on equal merit and not forgetting the patient is the cause as you often fumble along.

Invest in the cases that need you. Not the easy ones AND not the quick pay out ones. Don't swim in the shallow end of puppy visits. Jump into the ones that have the longest list of unfavorable criteria. The cases no one else wants to touch because they are afraid to. Intervene on your patients behalf even if the pay out has no guarantees. You will find yourself and your salvation in these cases. Every vet knows that there is more to medicine than money. The soul of medicines cure lies in these cases. The quest for Indiana Jones celebrity is fueled by little triumphs inside the person you doubted you could ever become.

Invest in the other people in your life. The two legged, the four legged, the needy ones. The ones you can make a real and meaningful difference for.

Ari, diabetic, effervescent, incorrigible, and unstoppable.
Unapologetically independent, adoptable.
Interview a veterinarian, a practitioner, a person from any profession who has mastered their craft and still keeps on punching the clock why they keep on showing up to work long after their retirement age is automatically approved and most will tell you that they transcended into the period of work life that is no longer work. It is the part of not sitting still because your participation brings value to others. It is the recognition and responsibility a greater good by giving of self and keeping the parts of life that you savor and treasure as special occasions. Visiting a Caribbean island to lie carefree in the sand is a treat, contributing to others lives is reward.. living on that island gets boring when you lose purpose. When you get to that place of your job being much more than the means to a paycheck you realize that you keep showing up to give time to others because those others provide us our needful purpose. We do it for others as much as for ourselves. It is a transcendence to work being purpose, and the others who keep us reinvesting.

To learn more about my journey please follow this blog. To learn more about pets and pet care please follow my YouTube channel. If you have a pet question, are a pet lover, or think that you would like to contribute to helping other pets across all socio-economic borders please join us at Pawbly.com. It is a free question and answer site dedicated to educating, empowering and inspiring pet people the world over.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice,, and punching a clock for the shear love of wet noses everyday at Jarrettsville Vet,, the greatest little vet clinic in the solar system.  And for the best Facebook page take a lookie over here at Jarrettsville Vet Facebook.

Siya



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Atlas and Somebody named Chester

I too often feel compelled to shoulder the burden of someone else's problem. To carry the weight of the worlds problems on my shoulder as if I am Atlas standing on the sea, desperate to hold the world above my breaking back and planted feet. It is the obligation of an emotionally driven anthropomorphic veterinarian living in the world of a plethora of disposable pets. 



There are pets who come to you in desperate, dying need. Pets that so often have been overlooked a thousand times before. I cannot ever explain, or even pardon, how, or why, people are so preoccupied with their lives, the daily grind of meeting others expectations, and not taking a second to shelter another less fortunate life.

Templeton. Rescued from the Harford County Humane Society in June 2017

For me it is the single greatest joy in being a vet. The tales of triumph in a life lost, alone, and mistaken as negligible. For me, it is the answer to the "why" of every single question.

Medicine, like every other discipline, at some point becomes repetitious. The cases blend into a muddy mass of numbers. The cold heartless statistics that begin to dictate decisions that used to be analyzed by diagnosis meets treatment plan. The medicine resides in the cure of disease, not replacement of a healthier substitute.

Volunteering at the shelter with Terri, shelter technician, discussing a tail trauma case.

"Are you saying that you want to try to treat her?" Long pause... hallowed silence.

"Yes, of course. She has a treatable disease. Let's try to treat her." I replied to the head shelter technician.

"I am never sure if you are serious? None of the other vets want to treat. She's so sick." Continued silence in the room of four other technicians.

"I am always serious. There is always a chance. If you are ok with me taking her back to the clinic, I'll take care of her."

Smiles erupt from the crowd.

Her name is Chester. She was very sick at arrival to the shelter. She was very thin, frantic to not be held, and blowing thick yellow snot from her nose everywhere.

Chester
To the analytical minds before me she is a disease vector with a long road ahead. She is unvaccinated, unspayed, and an unknown with too many questionable variables. To me she is Chester. To my training as a veterinarian she is more than somebody else's problem in a sea of problems, she is Chester. I do not see the forest for the trees, she is somebody. More importantly, she is somebody I can help. She is a cat with a severe respiratory problem who needs immediate intervention and medical care. She is what I do every single day. A list of clinical signs and treatment options that I can quickly list, exclude, narrow, refine and treat. I can also do it affordably and without justification to a client questioning motives, prognosis, and value versus expense.

Dory, rescued with paralyzed back legs from a spinal fracture.

On the many days it feels like I am a tiny boat adrift in a violent storm I am too small and insignificant to survive I look at the faces of the pets at my home, in my clinic, and even at the overwhelmed, over abundantly in need shelter pets and I remember to change my perception and focus my perspective and see each individual as a somebody. Her name is Chester. She is getting stronger, and happier, and healthier. She needs me, she needs to be seen, and I can help her. It is the reason to all of the "why's" and the answer to all of the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't need to be Atlas, and she doesn't have to be perfect, we just have to see each other as somebody with value.

Pickles, one of the many bottle babies we have every Summer.
Here is what Chester had done;
We placed her in quarantine with food, water, bed, litter box and a hiding box if she wants to retreat from the clamorous, aromatic bouquet that a vet hospital presents. It can be a scary place for a cat who has spent her whole life hiding in bushes.
1. Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus test. Both negative. Cost $40
2. Fluid therapy. Depending on overall hydration status and severity of her condition, intravenous at $80 a day, or subcutaneous at $25 a day.
3. Antibiotics. Critical to improvement, costs range from $10 to $60 for a two week course.
4. Eating! She has to be eating. We force fed her on the days she wouldn't eat. Prescription high calorie canned food that can be liquefied and syringe fed at about $5 a can, or a feeding tube if severe at a cost of $100-300, or find a food she likes after offering a lot of options. Turns of Chester is a dry kitten food fan.
5. Get her breathing, fast! We use a nebulizer and steroid drops in each nostril to open them up. Labor intensive but cheap. We use a nebulizer made for humans and steroid drops typically used for the eyes. Pediatric sterile saline drops in the nostril (1-2 drops per nostril) can also help open them up.
6. Keep her warm, weigh her daily, monitor for progression of disease, be prepared to alter her treatment plan and don't forget there is a cat under the snot. She needs vaccines, deworming, preventatives, and affection. She is a whole package. My job is to get her to be well enough and trusting enough to get a home.



The true measure of a practitioner is not in what your analytical mind tells you to be cautious of, it is fundamentally in your perception of life and the value it holds to one tree in a forest of others. It is how you view life and not how easy it is to replace it.

Our first trip to volunteer at the Harford County Humane Society.
We each came home with a pet.
Except me, I cam home with two pigs.


Wilbur,, adopted from the Harford County Humane Society
 If you would like to chat with me about your pets health, ailments, behavior, cost of care, or are a pet lover yourself and want to help other pets please join me on Pawbly.com. We are an open community dedicated to helping pets around the world by educating, empowering and inspiring each other. It is free to use and open to all animal friends.

Charlotte and Wilbur
I am also on Twitter, Facebook, and at the clinic at JarrettsvilleVet.com

Or on YouTube! Lots of videos on patients care with prices and options to discuss with your vet.