Sunday, January 31, 2016

Economic Euthanasia.

Do people seriously think that their pets are not as complicated and needy as we humans are?

Surrendered to JVC for "not using the litter box." two years ago.
Saved by Elise (hugging him here).. and living a life only few of us can dream

Not to air all  my own dirty laundry, but I am a mess most of the time.

I seriously worry about stuff that I know I shouldn't.

I concoct silly scenarios that have not a shred of legitimacy behind them just because I am,,, well,,, insecure/anxious/worried/pessimistic??..(I could go on and on)..

I worry that my friend is in a dangerous relationship with self expression via ugly tattoos. Or, that the current population dynamics cannot be supported by our planet. That all the tainted water in Michigan is adversely impacting the plastics market. That the religious factions around the world might just be causing more harm than good? Lots of stuff like that.

Stuff I can't totally impact, and, yet I will waste countless hours of my life contemplating, scrutinizing, and theorizing.

Then I go to work to deal with problems much closer to home. Life and death problems. Some of them are even immediate death due to a human created problems. I see it quite often in pet care. We sell our pets short. We forget that they have needs, feelings (yes, I said it feelings.. don't tell me that your dog running to you wagging their tail and smothering you with kisses isn't based on a feeling?). They have innate complicated desires, compulsions, and needs that we circumvent and disregard because they don't fit neatly into our complicated stressed-out lives.

Kona and her new home replete with second chances.
She was surrendered due to stress induced poor fecal targeting.
I can say it until my last dying breath.. 
"your cat is telling you they need help not that they want to be surrendered."

In my day to day work life I see that cats suffer the worst.

Litter box issues are the single greatest reason cats are relinquished. They represent 51% of all cat behavior problems and 25 % of all cat AND dog behavior problems.*

We stress our cats out with our dysfunctional requirements and constraints. We buy litter that is too dusty, too stinky, and too foreign to their feet because it smells good to us and is easy to scoop. We then put it in dark boxes hidden away from the comforts of accessibility. Even if it is supposed to smell pleasant no one wants to actually look at it. We deny them their basic instinctual needs of chasing and capturing prey and allowing them to live a quiet solitary life when or if  desired. We are also more likely to assign an emotional blame versus seek help for a medical or psychological issue that we parents likely created.

Some cats get the very short end of a very unforgiving stick.

There are countless cases of economic euthanasia's in the feline side of veterinary medicine.

Perhaps it is in part due to population numbers? (Did you know that one cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 kittens in 7 years). Cats are abundantly over populated in almost every corner of the world. In every case it is easier and cheaper to replace a cat than to fix it. It is a cruel reality of the economic side of animal husbandry.

It is also the dark side of veterinary medicine no one seems to want to face, never mind address and attempt to resolve.

For me, personally, it is the side of owning a practice that brings me the most grief and has become my largest obstacle to overcome. I know where my ability to tolerate ending suffering resides, but, I am no longer playing the economic euthanasia roulette. In some cases I have provided alternative options to clients who I do not relate to. It is the subject of my Compassion Fatigue blog and the backbone of my veterinary practice's manifesto. We have concocted elaborate internal protocols and procedures to provide options to avoid this being a reality in our practice.

At Jarrettsville Vet there are always (always!!) options provided. Economic euthanasia is not on the list. I understand that some diseases are terminal, BUT, everything, except human indifference, is treatable. This one single topic will be the greatest fracture point when the public makes their decision to trust us. This single option will be the unraveling of this profession and the motivation for the greatest innovation in the veterinary profession.

Rescued with the help of the good friends of the JVC Good Samaritan Fund.
There are organizations who are trying to end this. Put options in front of those facing euthanasia due to restrictive economics.

Elise's caption "No mom! No more kisses!"
That is a lucky cat!

Kona gets used to her new digs.

I  am often asked to supply an explanation to "how we do what we do?".. (thankfully I am rarely asked WHY?).. here is my reply;

"Jarrettsville Vet has worked very hard to provide an answer to this and our current system of utilizing our own Good Samaritan Fund is permitting us to not have to scrutinize the worth of these cases, nor use an additional out of pocket expenses. It also provides a key component that I believe is vital to our staff; "everyone puts skin in the game." If a vet, or an other staff member, wants to champion a case they are free to do so with the full support of the hospital, funds from our supporters and an understanding that this case will be used to educate others. Everyone is expected to put their skills, time and expertise into a case that we all adopt together. This allows, fosters, and maintains a clear purpose and vision and reminds us all why we chose this profession. It also establishes a sense of ownership and vested interest.

Sadly, some of our most difficult cases require that we take ownership. Yesterday a client came in to euthanize her 4 yo cat for urination issues. Clearly this woman had created her own anxiety ridden disaster. This cat needed help and she refused to participate in its recovery process. In these cases pets are surrendered to a rescue we work with. Our clinic assumes the financial and medical care, the rescue provides us a way to shield the practice from becoming the county animal shelter."

Simon catches a nap.
I never hoped that we would find as many happy endings as we have..but,
we never gave up hoping and they haven't stopped coming.

If you would like to learn more about Jarrettsville Vet please visit us on our Facebook page or website.

If you have a pet question, or could share some pet knowledge to help others (all in the spirit of charity and kindness to helping others) please join us at It is free for all to use and dedicated to helping pets live longer healthier lives around the world.

* Ian Dunbar, PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS, Greater Baltimore Veterinary Conference Dec 2015

Related Blogs;

Excellent articles on the issue of economic euthanasia;

Economic Euthanasia: A Disease in Need of Prevention, by Barry Kipperman, DVM, DACVIM, HSVMA

Simon and Elise

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Songs for dogs and the people who love them.

I don't do this often. I don't use my blog as a platform to propel or advertise for others. There is something in the sanctity of being an independent source not tied to, or indebted to, or obligated to anyone, or anything else. Independence seems intimately married to credibility. Who wants to be a spokesperson? Your words become inconsequential when someone is paying you to say them.

But, there are causes that fall near to my heart, and people who dedicate their skills, talents, time and devotion to pets, just like me.

Meet Taylor, whose dad is a vet. He made an album to help pets with separation anxiety. His Kickstarter campaign is in need of some help. Please learn more about him below.

Thank you to all of you who dedicate so much of your lives to helping pets in need..

Here is a link to the campaign,, and here is more information on how music might benefit your dogs life;

Songs For Dogs and The People Who Love Them is fun, original music to help dogs feel happy and loved when they have to be left alone.  
This music provides an enjoyable and interactive solution to a problem that many pet lovers face: When we have to leave our dogs at home alone, we want them to feel safe, happy, and secure. 
Songs For Dogs was designed with a dog’s ear in mind. Pleasant and enjoyable sounds specific to dogs will capture your companion’s interest, and was created so people can enjoy it too. 
When used properly, this unique, dog-friendly music could be a promising drug-free approach for preventing and treating separation and anxiety problems in our dogs. 
By supporting this Kickstarter project, you are ensuring that music like this is able to be put in the hands of those who can greatly benefit from such a tool. 
All music is written and produced by musician and dog lover Taylor Brown, with his trusty sidekick Nala providing guidance along the way. By pledging just $15 or more, you will receive a copy for your canine companions, and it makes a wonderful gift!

Nala approves.
Nala approves.
“We think that animals love music and, just like humans, can be emotionally affected by it. However, dogs hear very differently than we do and can become easily frightened by some sounds. 
This music includes both audible and inaudible sounds that are particularly comforting and appealing to dogs, which people can enjoy too. By providing a genuinely fun, positive and emotionally uplifting content for dogs throughout this particular music, your canine friend can associate these pleasant indicators with the feeling and security of being loved and ideally find comfort in it while your away. 
Help your dog feel happy and loved with Songs For Dogs And The People Who Love them, because for most of us, our dogs are more than just a pet. They're a member of our family.”

- Dr. Kenneth D. Brown DVM
- Dr. Kenneth D. Brown DVM

How Does it Work?

In order for your dog to associate Songs For Dogs with positive feelings of love and affection when you’re away, simply enjoy it together first.
By playing with your dog in a pleasant manner prior to leaving them home alone, your dog can learn to associate this dog-friendly music with their experiences with you while listening to it. Just like humans, dogs learn and retain memories through rehearsing the same task over and over.
This positive interaction between you and your best friend can help alleviate anxiety in your dog when you leave.
Listen to a sample of some of the songs on this album here

 project video thumbnail

Science Behind the Music

We’ve known that dogs can learn new behaviors through sound association ever since Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s bell. An instinctual reflex, like salivating over food, can be triggered in dogs through a particular auditory event if that sound has been associated with a consistent and systematic experience. 
Songs For Dogs works in a similar way, by associating feelings of security and love with the music. Not just any music—music designed to appeal to a dog’s unique auditory abilities.

  • Dogs hear radically different than we do. Not only can dogs perceive frequencies nearly two octaves higher than we can, they can also hear sounds up to four times further away. Many of the panicky fits of distress and anxiety we see in dogs during lightning storms and fireworks shows are directly related to this heightened sensitivity to sound.
  • Neurologic studies on our canine companions have generated substantial evidence implying that the most influential factor that governs a dog’s emotional state is the human voice. By including 
positive human voices and familiar words in our music, we reinforce the happiness associated with tone of voice.
  • Comforting, dog-friendly sounds throughout the music help engrain an association to the music with feelings and experiences a dog has acquired while listening with their owner.
  • Our heart rate and brain activity naturally responds and syncs to consistent sounds and rhythms and the speed at which they occur around us—a process called entrainment. Entrainment occurs in both humans and animals. Songs For Dogs And The People Who Love Them have selectively calibrated the speed and substance of each song to maximize the entrainment value in your dog. 

It's Not Just for Fido!

The lyrical and musical focus of Songs For Dogs is based on the profound love we have for our pets. As fellow dog lovers, we’ve dug deep into our souls to access the most endearing and sentimental emotional indicators that bond us with our dogs.

The concept is simple. Because a dog is unable to comprehend or decipher most of the things we say around them, they interpret the majority of what we tell them through the tone of our voice and our body language.
Music is a universal language. It has no communication barriers between dog and person, and it can serve as a new and additional means of bonding with one another.  

Separation Anxiety on the Rise

Human interaction is an important part of dog development, and the experiences they acquire in their living environment—the stimuli or lack thereof—has implications on the development of anxiety disorders.
Separation anxiety in our pets is a product of our lifestyles. It’s becoming extremely common for people to work long hours while their pets stay at home. In creating Songs for Dogs And The People Who Love Them, we hope to provide a tool to treat and prevent separation anxiety.
Note: Much of the information provided is presented in a theoretical context, derived from research on the psychology of dogs. Research in the field of canine behavior remains relatively limited and unexplored. As Songs For Dogs becomes more widely utilized, we will track the application of the product and build upon its successes. 

Meet the Creators

- Taylor & Nala Brown
- Taylor & Nala Brown
“I believe that the full power of music’s effect on all of us and the full scope of how it relates to all living organisms still remains beyond our grasp. 
Hospitals, nursing homes and veterinary practices are starting to acknowledge that there are measurable improvements to the healing process when certain music is played for patients.
As we continue to make breakthroughs in our understanding of physics, nature and the inner workings of the universe, we find more and more reasons to believe that we, and everything around us, are connected. 
For all of us that have been greatly affected by the immense emotional power of music, I think it’s safe to speculate that there is something that exists within music that remains beyond our current understanding. 
At any rate, I think you and your best friend are going to love these songs. Thank you so much for your support!"

Risks and challenges

One of the challenges we’ve discovered is providing an easy and convenient way for people to play this music continuously throughout the day for their dog while they're away. We are currently in the development stages of a portable media player that’s easy to use and is designed to maximize a dog’s listening experience.
By providing your pledge and support in exchange for this album, you will help give us the means to pursue this endeavor and continue to make this music as beneficial for dogs as it possibly can be.
Again, thank you immensely for the support,
Taylor Brown
Songs For Dogs Founder
If you want to help pets please join me on It is free for all to use and determined to help pets around the world get better care from those who can help them.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Perception Can Be Everything

My pups, Charlie (left) and Jekyll (right).
Veterinary medicine isn't about making your pet pretty. Your vet sees your pets problem as a problem, and we vets like to fix problems. Pretty, well pretty is like frosting on a cake.. the cake is the meat of the dessert the frosting is just an extra decoration.

I am a girl, I like pretty, and like many girls I aspire to pretty. Vanity, well, its a luxury every girlie-girl embraces. Veterinary practice does not deliver vanity well. Even though I am a girl who likes pretty and is a bit vane, I fall tragically short of delivering pretty in practice. I need to do a much better job of sending my patients home both treated AND pretty.

I implore the staff all the time to remember that what is normal for us, (i.e. blood, urine, vomit, feces smeared everywhere and everything in between) is just a normal day in the life of a veterinary professional, BUT, these are not so NORMAL for the rest of society. Our clients, (well, most of them anyway) they want, expect, and like pretty. We need to be conscious of this.

Here's what I am talking about in case you don't recognize how poorly the vet delivers pretty. When we shave for a spay it should look like a nice even square box. Not some partial  job with razor burn and erratic incomplete area shaved down speckled tufts of hair. If your shave job looks like a hack job yielded by a blind military barber what does your client think you did on the inside of her beloved Fluffy?

How terribly guilty am I of this cosmetic oversight? Let me introduce the underbelly of my beloved Jekyll. Jekyll had a bump on his sternum that I discovered a few weeks ago. That bump was tickled, probed, pestered, pleaded with, cursed at, and, finally aspirated. Those little bits of cells were then sent to the lab on a slide. The small blemish on my floppy eared best friend came back as a suspected mast cell tumor. Yes, a tumor.. on my precious baby boy. The sequela to the bump having the nerve to show up on my dog was surgery by my hand. One of the most harrowing  aspects of being a vet, being the surgeon to the pets you love.

Jekyll's incisions, 12 days post-op.
I shaved him.. look at how retched that is.
Based on the presumptive diagnosis I knew I had to be very aggressive and get clean clear margins. I was so worried about removing Jekyll's cancer that I didn't care what it would look like after. I also had a large area of skin, fat, and muscle to remove, right on his sternum. The sternum is the area he sleeps on, the widest part of his chest, and I had to close the area after I removed the masses. I went into his surgery worried about getting all of his cancer removed and how it was going to heal if I had enough skin left over. So, you see, the shaving just serves the purpose of access.. I didn't care if it looked ugly. Ugly and  cancer-free is faaar better then pretty with cancer.

Jekyll's incision, 18 days post-op.

I had a dachshund show up last week for an odd looking infection on his neck. The client was worried about a possible bug bite that they had been trying to manage for a few days. The infection had begun as a small tiny speck and now was a half dollar sized red swollen painful mass. We did what we always do, we carried that pup to the treatment area for a firm hold to shave the area so we could see what was going on, probe away, and decide if further treatment was warranted.

Well turns out his parents were not to happy when we returned him missing half of the fur on his chest. Thanks to the shave that infection healed within two days, but, we heard about "over shaving" and the great dismay it caused for the weeks that it took to grow back. Never mind that the "shaved area was not even, centered, or shapely." (I agree that it was all of those things).

Charlie and Jekyll.
They had a long day playing,, can't you tell?
How can an ugly shave cause such stress to a pet parent?

Here is an example I got recently via Pawbly; A user asked this question;

"Unsure about operation quality due to buttons on ear after operation

My dog went for an operation on his ear and came back with his ear full of buttons that looks terrible, it doesn't look very professional or normal. I am not sure if this is safe for my dog because he seems very uncomfortable and the ear looks very messy and irritated.

Here is my answer;

I am assuming that you are talking about a surgical repair for an ear hematoma (aural hematoma)? There are many methods used to fix this, and yes, buttons, stents, and even plastic sheets are some of them. If your dog is in pain, or if the ear is still swollen I recommend that you  return to the vet. If you are concerned about the appearance of the ear I would also encourage you to go back to your vet and express your concerns. We vets are almost blind to physical appearance. We are focused on fixing a problem in a real-life cost effective way (because people get very upset if they think we are charging too much money), so we forget that some clients are more concerned about appearance and less concerned about cost effective treatment options.

I need to be more observant of the work I send home. I sweat every single surgery, procedure and patients care I am responsible for.. but, I am a mom too.. My kids, and everyone else's, represent my work in public. I can't send my heart and soul home to someone who questions the reality that I lose sleep with worry and  proudly wear my heart on my sleeve now can I?

Me and my kids.
Winter storm Jonas, January 23, 2016.
Please join me on if you have a pet question, or pet expertise of any kind that you could share with other pet parents. Pawbly is free to use and open to anyone.

If you would like to meet Jekyll or Charlie you can find them (and me) at Jarrettsville Vet in bucolic Harford County Maryland.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Free Boarding To Any Pet In Need

Little Miss Pink
Seems I get stuck in the worst of the season every single year. In Spring, (which just so happens to be my favorite season), as the flowers start to speckle the stark world with color exalted by the choir of peepers singing their ballads rejoicing in their arrival, I get mournful of the impending litters of unwanted kittens flurrying upon the clinic. Springtime brings a phone ringing incessantly requesting we take yet another litter without any mention of spaying/neutering the parents so that perhaps someday we might solve this problem. It is the dichotomy of worrying about those less fortunate and the meekness of biology pitted against the forces of nature.

In Winter I don't just deck the halls and spread Joy to the World, I worry and harp monotonously about the pets being left outside as the thermometer plummets to below freezing. I pass by homes who have dogs chained outside next to some shabby excuse for a shelter 24/7 and curse quietly at the heartless humans inside all warm and toasty. I do, I get incensed. I call Animal Control, I knock on doors, I act a fool. What other option do I have?

Turns out there are options. I haven't yet figured out how to convince people to see the light and become compassionate, or even lawful (yes, there are laws about adequate housing for pets), BUT, I can provide options. I have a boarding kennel that sits largely empty for January and February. Why not offer free boarding to those who need it? We also host TNR's and provide pro bono spays and neuters. Every little bit helps every other little life. It's nice to have options, and it might just save my hypertension and animosity to some of mankind.

So that's what I did. A little bit of Facebook marketing and for Winter Storm Jonas we had four people take us up on our offer.

Jonas.. or at least the name we have given so far..
Little Miss Pink came to us via a phone call from a woman who was living in her car. She was homeless and parking at a 24 hour gas station to use their bathroom as a cleaning area and warming station at night. She couldn't go to a shelter because she couldn't take her dog. Now I don't dare to reduce this to a simple answer to a complicated issue, but, freezing to death in a car while 2 feet of snow is falling is unacceptable. After 3 phone calls we found her a shelter and a short and long term boarding plan for companion Miss Pink. It takes a leap of faith and a little effort. Little Miss Pink has been examined, vaccinated and turns out is about the sweetest girl you could ever hope to meet.

Jonas the neutered, cat who is not microchipped has been hanging around a clients home for weeks. He was brought to us for his county mandated week long quarantine after being reported as "found" to the local animal shelter. The family who brought him to us wants to adopt him after his "holding period" is up. As luck to faith would have it Jonas is an affable gentle boy who loves the busy bustle of the clinic. He too has been vaccinated and will be microchipped. He will have a home to call his forever. Until then, the hotel Jarrettsville Vet halfway house is warm, cozy and I hope an example of what a community can do in times of need.

Jinx. A TNR kitty who lives primarily outside.
Her caretaker was worried the storm would be too much so she stayed inside with us.

Maybe its time to change my pessimistic outlook? Maybe the seasons are a changing for the better?

Coal, an outdoor cat who stays on a clients porch for shelter.
JVC provided a better spot for the exceptionally treacherous weather. 

Coal and Jinx are lucky to have loving caretakers to watch over them. We are happy to help our clients who extend their love to those pets in our community who need a little more assistance to get through the tough days of the year.

There are numerous people who help JVC in our efforts to help others. With the incredibly generous support of the clients, friends, and staff of JVC the Good Samaritan Fund makes the lives of pets in need better. The donations are used for goods only (the staff volunteers their time and talents). It is a collaboration of many to save the lives of those who need it most.. I am grateful beyond words for the love and support we receive every single day.

Related blogs;
Freezing Pets and a Vacancy. Providing warm beds to those who need them.

Frozen Fury. The plight of outdoor pets in severe weather.

Chained Dogs

Levi's Luck

If you would like to make a difference in a pets life please join the small army of volunteers who help people with pets in need. We are A free Q & A site dedicated to empowering people so they can take better care of their pets. We educate, inspire and assist pet lovers all around the world. Best of all we are free to use!

If you have a pet in need and you are in the Northern Baltimore area please come visit me and the wonderful staff at Jarrettsville Vet in Harford County, Maryland.

The beagle has lost his fascination with the cold stuff.

Winter Storm Jonas starts to settle in.. My pup Jekyll sticks close to dad.

Our pups wait for the snow to stop.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Complacency of Not Taking Charge AND Protecting Your Staff. How angry clients cost your practice.

This is my pup Jekyll. 

Not unlike many of my clients, my pup is truly the apple of my eye and the flutter in my heart. I love him to pieces. He is wearing his pink wrap vest because he just had two masses removed. He is my kid and also on occasion, my patient. The little bump I removed started quietly and casually enough looking just like a little fatty tumor, on his sternum. I waited, it persisted, and after three weeks when it still didn't take the hint and depart, I poked it with a needle to send some cells to the lab for cytological identification. It certainly "felt" to my fingertips like it would be a fatty tumor (what we call a lipoma). But, as soon as I stuck it, my fingers felt betrayed! I poked that mass and felt "grit!" UGH! This wasn't going to be a lipoma I told myself. This little bubble bastard meant business. Lucky for Jekyll I take no prisoners when it comes to health care! 

Jekyll getting prepped for his mass removal surgery.

When his back met the surgery table there were two little bubbles. With a reluctant and anxious hands I cut them out. He did fine trough his surgery (thanks to the powers above) versus I needed a big glass of wine. His histopath biopsies came back as a mast cell tumor, the other a lipoma. And so begins the stress filled life of being a mom to a kid who you have to do surgery on, monitor post-op, and worry about every little bump that arises on his body. Yes, I worry, he is MY KID!

Being a parent is a responsibility I hold with paramount importance. My emotional attachment to my pup compels me to get up an hour before I have to, allowing him to go for an early morning run. His floppy ear, wagging dancing butt happy dance, long velvet ears (even when slightly smelly) and happy toothy grin are all enough to convince me to sneak tidbits under the table, life him into bed at night, and buy cars that allow multiple four legged passengers. We bought our home specifically so that there was ample room to do intense dirt sniffing, wildlife viewing and long runs without any chance of neighbors, cars, or obstruction. Our dog devotion is complete and unapologetic. I am an over worried, over doting and somewhat tightly wound mom.

My husband and Jekyll's brother, Charleston, after a long day.

Does this deep affection blur my ability to act like a rational human being with other human beings?. Well, I hope not, but then I see it happen  every day in practice. Clients are either so emotionally invested they get overwhelmed and can't process their emotions. While others are just plain old angry that they have to pay for goods and services. Every experienced vet will attest to people arguing that they shouldn't be help financially responsible because the "cat was a stray," or, "we are vets and therefore public servants."

No matter how hard you try to elude them there are rude, belligerent and offensively awful people along the road of life. Out on the street, in public we each have a choice in how we elect to deal with them. Say, for example, that guy being rude to the waitress at the table next to you, you can choose to sit idly and ignore it. Or, you can apologize to the waitress for him. Or, you can get up and tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. Sure, you can use your voice and help others, or, you can permit the cancer to spread. Complacency is acceptance.

An injured, malnourished and sick rescue dog seeks help at our clinic.
Veterinary medicine is a service based industry. (Seems many of us forget to fill-in that bubble on the application to veterinary school). For those of us who entered veterinary medicine "because we prefer pets to people" it can be a harsh reality check when you face the daunting task of building a successful career when you lack social skills. For many vets it is the single reason they chose to leave practice. It is the people who kill you, never the pets.

At my practice there are a few ground rules. One of them is that we do not treat each other or anybody else badly, and in return the same is expected. If someone is upset we apologize, try to resolve, and if this doesn't work you call for back up. Either myself, the vet on duty, or the hospital administrator will come to the rescue. If that doesn't work the police will come and escort them out. In some cases we agree to disagree and I will provide a nicely worded letter about how "we have failed to meet their expectations and that their pet will be better served elsewhere." Vets as a general population have to get better at this. Our clients leave us all the time.

Where is bad behavior in the clinic at its worst? To the front desk and the technicians. Rarely do the reprehensible clients direct it at the vets. (That's somewhat disturbing). Now I know my clinic is not alone in this dilemma. I also know that many (waay tooo many) practice owners, managers, by standers, sit by and let the shit get slung at anyone as long as it isn't at them. That my friends is the real problem here. Why do people let other people treat them so terribly? How can a job that pays $10 to $16 dollars an hour be worth that? And if your boss doesn't have your back who will? The customer can always be right, but they cannot ever be belligerent, abusive, or even tolerated. Even if your heart is being broken, or your wallet being hit.

As part of one of my many 2016 New Years resolutions I am walking away from the battles I cannot win and I am going to keep trying to make the world a little better for the people who can't stand up to a bully.

And as a new year faces us I wondered how many people had jotted down "world peace", "be happier", etc.? Surely a few of us? I decided that if I was audacious enough to wish the same it was time to both live it and expect it. Not so easy when I have myself and a clinic full of others, along with the communities extended family within my sphere of influence.

I posted this plea on Facebook a few weeks ago after having yet another heart to heart with a client who was yelling profanities at a receptionist (because they had wanted their prescription "filled NOW! and were not going to wait for a vet to fill it).

Personal plea from Dr. Magnifico;
How many of us made a New Years resolution to be happier? (Hopefully a few of us). 
Over the last few days I have had to personally call out a few clients for being rude and inexcusably angry to the staff here at JVC. 
The staff here are all people who take care of your pets with love, compassion, and often at pay scales that are not adequate for the grief they have to tolerate. 
Please remember to be nice to those who provide your pets care and please know that none of us should tolerate abusive behavior to any living being. We are all in this together. 
And PS we never forget..

I received a multitude of accolades from people who identified with the bad behavior being tolerated. I also noted that we lost three "friends" to our Facebook page after this post.

Sadly, some of our hardest clients are some of our most devoted pet parents. I get it, I am a little whacky about my pet health care too. I just don't permit profanity vomit on the staff.

If anyone ever asks my how Jarrettsville became so successful I very openly and honestly admit that it is because of the amazing people that work there. We have assembled a team of compassionate, intelligent, generous people who are as devoted to pets as I am. We also pay them well, and protect them every step of the way. This job is hard but being intimidated, dismissed, or treated poorly defeats our purpose of helping others. That is my job; to maintain our purpose and protect my staff, patients, and clients. 

Jarrettsville Vet also has the most inspiring clients. They help us with cases that no one else would go near. Cases like Dunkin, Olivia, Ruby (photo with me above), and our newest member of the Good Samaritan Fund, Miss Pink (her story to follow soon). Being emotionally connected to our pets makes us human. Treating each other humanely is the how we serve our pets in the spirit of the unconditional love they so willingly convey back to us.

Pet care is a team effort. Maintaining a healthy and happy team is how we promote a productive and effective team. Please remember that all of us have a responsibility in this.

If you would like to come meet the best clinic on the planet please bring your happy self by anytime. If you would like to follow me I am on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or you can ask me any free pet question at

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Freezing Pets and a Vacancy. Providing warm beds to those who need them.

It is January here in Maryland. The coldest month of the year. Lately it seems every Facebook post I see is of a frozen pet found somewhere in my area. It is heartbreaking, infuriating, and unacceptable.

Jarrettsville Vet Winter edition

Perhaps it is my entrepreneurial spirit, my over whelming compulsion to help more pets in more corners of the world, or my unwaivering refusal to not help those pets in my community, BUT, there is a problem and I want to find a solution.

Snuggling in the kennel with my good friend Wendy

Here are some statistics for Baltimore;
  • There are estimates of somewhere between 30,000 to 36,000 homes that are empty. 
  • These are primarily privately owned
  • The empty homes represent about 16% of all of the homes. 
  • We also have about 3,000 people each day in need of a place to sleep at night. 
How can these realities exist independently and not provide an answer to the obvious problem? It seems so simple. Ask any 4 year old how this problem can be solved and the answer is elementary. Just give the people who need it a place that is already empty.

At Jarrettsville Vet we have a boarding facility that sits largely empty during these coldest months. After the Christmas/New Years vacationing families return back home our boarding facility is largely empty. So, why not provide  the obvious?

Starting immediately Jarrettsville Vet will provide a warm bed and a nutritious meal to any pet in need for the months of January and February. All you have to do is call and ask. If we have room your pet is welcome, and yes, of course, it is free.

With the incredibly generous support of our friends and supporters of the Good Samaritan Fund we will provide food, shelter, and basic veterinary care (if needed) to any pet in our community in need.

If you would like to help we will be collecting donations, bedding, straw bales, and even cat enclosures (see how to make them here), and even providing literature to help move these pets inside please join me here. Or stop by Jarrettsville Vet and share your support.

Related blogs;
Frozen Fury and the Plight of Outdoor Pets and Severe Weather.

Chained Dogs

If you want to join a group  of devoted pet people please stop by It is free to use and open to anyone who cares about helping pets around the world.

Find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice too.