Sunday, August 7, 2011

Merry Mis-Fortunes

I am reminded of the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished” almost everyday at work. I was especially feeling as if I should just hang my head low and not be nice anymore when I came into the clinic and was told as soon as I walked in the door that someone had left 2 adult cats in a cat carrier by the dumpsters.
The dumpsters are strategically placed beside the road that the clinic is on but hidden from view by a small number of evergreen trees. It is quick, easy, and inconspicuous to pull off of the road scoot into the dumpster area and drop an unwanted package. When I was told that someone had left their cats at our dumpsters I was livid. What the hell were these jerks thinking? They probably knew that if they surrendered them at the local county shelter that they would be euthanized, (see Darla’s Second Chance), and maybe they had called us already, and I am sure if they did we told them that we were all full at the JVC house, (I have a 4 adult cat limit), (I have never gotten down to that number). Or maybe they called the other local shelters and were told what we told them. There is no place for another adult cat here in Harford County, actually I don’t know of any place in the country recruiting adult cats (if they are then I smell something fishy). So maybe I did this to myself? Maybe it was an owner desperate but caring enough to have not left them at the shelter, or maybe it was the universe reminding me again “that no good deed…”. Either way I was still furious.
I said things to myself that consisted of the following. “Damn you, whoever you are, I don’t go to your house, or your place of work and dump my laundry, or my credit card bill, or my dirty dishes.” I don’t leave others to pay my way, to resolve my problems, and because it is a well known fact that I am a big giant softy, incapable of euthanizing a healthy animal I get your cats? I mean WTF? Ok, I know, I swear a lot. I swear a lot on the inside, and sometimes on the outside. I am Italian, and I spent 10 years at sea, it’s not my fault.
After about 10 minutes of venting at the messenger I finally made my way to the cage that held the two dump-ies. They were both obese, obviously middle aged housecats. We scanned them for a microchip (see Jitterbug Decides). Could anyone be dumb enough to drop off one of our own clients cats? We microchip for free , so just about every pet we take care of here is microchipped. Scanned for chip and found, No chip. Probably a good thing because I would have called Animal Control and reported them. You see it is a misdemeanor to dump an animal, and I already mentioned that I was mad!
The small community of Veterinarians keep a close eye on each other. We understand and protect each other. One of the biggest challenges to our profession is burn-out. It happens, a lot. It happens because we come into this profession because we want to make a difference. We feel compelled enough to make a difference that we go to college for at least 8 years, at a cost of over $100,000 and then get out of school to be made to feel like we should be running a non-profit. There isn't one day that we aren't asked for a discount, or told that this “cat really isn't theirs”, they are just feeding and housing it, etc., etc., It is soo hard to act like you don’t care because a client can’t, (or doesn't want to) pay.  This kind of crap causes burn out. I knew that most would have just forwarded "these two cats dumped on us" problem to the “appropriate authorities”, (aka the shelter). But me, nope I can’t do that. (please read section on burn out again, krista).
So naturally I did what I always do next. I gave them a complimentary physical exam, microchip, checked them for FeLV/FIV, vaccinated them, gave them a flea and tick preventative and placed them in their 2 week quarantine. Oh yeah, and of course we gave them a name. Merry and Mistletoe. (It was December we weren’t too creative).
It has been about 2 years. Mistletoe was adopted and Merry remains with us, on a constant diet, and always happy and safe. And a part of our JVC family. She has her own set of medical challenges. It happens with chronic obesity. She seems very itchy most of the time, we term it pruritus. She will groom herself to the point of looking "mangey". So we keep her on monthly flea and tick prevention. (the number one itchy thing affecting pets is fleas, so every itchy pet should be maintained on monthly flea and tick preventative, (and yes ask your vet for some recommendations, that stuff from the grocery store is dangerous and doesn’t work) year around. She is also on a special hypo-allergenic diet. It keeps her itch at a simmer.

She is still with us. You can find out more about her by visiting our website.
Or by coming in to meet her in person. She is a torti, so she comes with her own set of issues, but then again, don’t we all?

To learn more about allergies
To learn more about hypoallergenic foods
To learn more about obesity

To learn more about Merry

Update, October 2013. Merry was adopted by a former staff member and lives a happy quiet life of ample time, affection, and doting. She has been maintained at a healthy weight on a single protein allergy diet. We are elated to have her find her own happy ending.

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