Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Band is Back Together #poignancyalert

The last 6 months have been rough and I am here to sadly let you know that Molly, the barking dynamo, has finally met her match and gone to the great beach in the sky.

She was the last of a group of animals I got about 15 years ago. Which was about the time of my divorce so you can imagine what Orlin, Molly, and Lance meant to me.

They got me through one of the roughest times of my life. And almost like dominoes they went down.

First Lance, then Orlin and now finally Molly.

As we know from my last post, I believe that Orlin sent that little Jasper puppy to me so that I had a playful companion when Molly finally needed to join him.

Orlin always was the bestest of boys like that.

Whenever I lose a pet, I always take comfort in the fact that I am sending them to a better place but for Molly that just wasn't enough. If you read my Twitter stream you know that she and I had a love/hate relationship.

We certainly loved each other, however her main goal in life was to be bad. She had her routine DOWN. Make a fake play for the litter box then dash for the bathroom trash and once Mommy has committed to the turn, run for the kitchen to see if anything got dropped during cooking.

She also orchestrated a gazillion break outs. Not to run away, but to go do the Lord's work in spreading the word about Spay & Neuter and adoption! Let's just say the "Home Again" microchip people knew me by name.

So I was torn after she passed. Was I sad? Was I relieved? Was I crazy for thinking that Molly didn't really want to go to better place. She thought down here was pretty stinking awesome.

Then I had a flash (I can only assume it was from Orlin) of Lance, Orlin and Molly totally hanging out together, with Molly in the lead, thinking up something naughty to do.

Yep, the band was back together... in heaven maybe, but still back together. We are calling them The Blonds. And they are rocking the house!

But with Molly's perchance to bark, I can only hope that angels come equipped with ear plugs!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Puppy Love


How could you not love them?

Well, except for all that pooping, and peeing, and yipping and biting. I mean besides that they are perfect.

And this little one has been perfect for me.

As most of you know, I was devastated after the loss of my beloved Orlin. He didn't have a lot of flash or bang going for him, he was the kind of dog that was like your favorite pair of jeans.

The whole family/pack went through the grieving process, but then one day you start to get that itch. That even though I was going to wait 6 months, I had the urge to head over to the shelter.

I talked myself out of it, but kept having this urge to go look. Strangely it wasn't to find a replacement for Orlin, but my heart hearkened back to a dog a room mate long ago had. His name was Jasper and he was Chi x Jack Russel. And even though he was a little goofy for me, Chief loved him. Princess loved him. Molly loved him.

I realized I wanted whatever new dog that came in to fill Jasper's place. But how to find a dog so uniquely silly yet restrained (so as not to hurt Chief)?

That night I was outside, looking at the stars, like Orlin used to love to do, and I asked.

I said out loud (thank goodness we don't have close neighbors) "Orlin, you need to give me a sign, buddy. Tell me what to do."

Then of course Princess and Molly got into a little scuffle and I didn't think about it until the next day I went to work and was putting my key into the lock when everyone shouted "Don't!"

"Why not?"

"Because I found a Chihuahua puppy and he's running around!"

Um, ya. He was Chief and Princess' color but if he had been a tri color, he would have looked just like that dog, Jasper.

I knew at the very least I had to foster him.

I got home with this new puppy (tentatively named Oliver by the tech that found him) and the other dogs were freaking out, barking, Princess snarling... What to do...

Then I flashed on LJ (the flame point kitten... see blog post here for more info :-)

If we could get Elvira to accept the kitten by calling him "Baby Lance" what about for a puppy?

So there I am, going "Look, it's Jasper!"

All the dogs cocked their heads. But he's the wrong color...

"Jasper got a dye job!"

Um... he's acting kind of weird.

"So did Jasper."

True, true.

I set him down and he has been little Jasper ever since. He even likes the name (he will kiss you furiously if you say "Jasper, Jasper, Jasper"). He even has a rap name... Jaspy "J"

I have no idea if we will be his forever home right now, but puppies. You can't live without and you sure as heck can't walk around the house in the dark without getting a little 'surprise' with them!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

D.O.G. the dog that defined my career!

And before we get into the story, I know D.O.G.'s parents would want me to tell you it is pronounced "D-O-Gee," NOT dog!

You see they found her on the front step one morning as a little tiny puppy. No one else around. No neighbors with Dachshunds. Just a D.O.G. the front porch. She got her name because my clients had a toddler and would spell D.O.G. in front of him so he wouldn't get too attached. Then when they decided to keep her, he shouted out, "Yeah! We get to keep D.O.G.!"

And she was the cutest, sweetest dog in the universe. She would run right up to you, wagging her tail..."Hi, I'm D.O.G. and I love you." Then plant a kiss on your nose.

But back to my career. I mean I knew I wanted to be a vet. They call people like me 'neo-natal veterinarians' since we pretty much knew in the womb we wanted to treat animals.

There are those teenage years when your mind wonders and you start looking at other options. Not very seriously of course, but still you are a teen, ya know?

It was during one of these periods when tragedy struck D.O.G. Her Mommy was holding her in her arms when a Labrador (yes, a Lab, shocking as that is) jumped up and attacked poor D.O.G.!

I won't go into the details but D.O.G was horribly injured. Mommy ran her in and we promptly did surgery, but let me tell you there were complications and we were not at all sure D.O.G. was going to make it.

While she was recovering from anesthesia, I held D.O.G. in my arms and prayed as hard as I could that she would make it.

Still groggy and in so much pain I can't imagine, D.O.G. looked up, and said with her eyes "I'm D.O.G. and I love you." Then she kissed me.

Whatever doubt I may have had about my career evaporated. I knew in that singular moment that I wanted to be just like my mentor. I wanted to be the person that Mommies and Daddies ran to when everything seemed lost and, at the very least, try to save their precious babies.

D.O.G. did great. She never looked back from that surgery and recovered faster than any of us could have guessed. She wasn't even afraid of Labradors!

So thank you D.O.G. for making sure I stayed the course. I hope I have lived up to both my mentor's and your standards.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mind Control... It's not just Chief!

I knew Chihuahuas were manipulative, and I thought Chief particularly gifted with his mind control.

You know, the times when I was walking across the room, telling him that he couldn't control me with his mind only to realize that I was taking him outside just as he had asked! Those mind control powers.

But I met another Chihuahua with possibly even greater powers.


She was so cute and sweet in the room. She had a broken tooth that we needed to fix, but besides that everything was great!

Except I kept forgetting to write down her orders! My poor tech kept saying...

"Dr. McCray didn't you want to give Gazpacho an antibiotic injection."

Why, yes, of course!

Then two minutes later... "Weren't we going to do a heartworm test?"

Why, yes, of course we need to!

This went on and on. Everything I had said I wanted to do in the room, whisked away from my mind.

I apologized to the Gazpacho's mom. "I am not usually forgetful like this! I am so sorry!"

"Oh, don't worry about it. Gazpacho has incredible mind control powers!"

Both my tech and I started to laugh. We talked about Chief's mind powers all the time.

Once I knew what I was dealing with, I combat Gazpacho's hazing of my memory. As hard as she tried though, she still got all the medicine she needed!

Now I know to guard myself (and have my tech take PLENTY of notes) whenever Gazpacho's around.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Frick & Frack

For the New Year, I thought I would tell you a tale of... two mutts.

Who knew they would possibly save one of my client's life?

You see my client had lost her cat and had decided to not to replace her beloved feline. She and her husband were retired and really looking forward to traveling.

They had dreamed for decades about heading to Europe, Alaska, Costa Rica. The further away, the better. They wanted to stay for weeks at a time, really immersing themselves in the culture.

When she came back to pick up her kitty's ashes we said what we both thought would be our final good-bye.

Um... ya... until later that day.

My client went to spread her cat's ashes at a nearby beach when she heard whimpering from some bushes. There were two tiny puppies! They were skinny, filthy and starving!

Our course she rushed them to me.

And oh boy did they have a LOT of health problems, but oh boy were they cute!!! They were some kind of poodle, Jack Russell, Heinz 57 kind of puppy. All fluffy on the head and all wirey everywhere else with little short noses but long ears.

I started to go over our option but didn't even get humane society out of my mouth when she said she would take full responsibility and at the least foster the pups until they were adoptable.

For once, I actually thought this client meant it. I mean, I had been hearing for years about these elaborate vacations. They had brochures. They had travel insurance already purchased. They were serious. I fully expected to find those pups another forever home.

So my client went home with the two pups and about twelve different medications (and several cans of food). But every day was a new problem... with both of them.

Seriously it as if these two pups shared one body. If one sneezed, the other one sneezed. If one stopped eating, the other stopped eating. They walked in step. They played exactly the same. They came whenever the other was called.

So you can see how easy it was to name them Frick & Frack.

Then days turned into weeks.

These pups needed a LOT of care and attention but my client's first big trip to China was coming up. They had scant days before they had to decide to cancel the trip and eat the cost of the trip (the insurance covered a lot of contingencies but not super cute but fragile pups) or find the pups a new home.

My client's husband then started feeling a little ringing in his ears. He playfully blamed it on the pups constant yipping. But they saw it as a perfect opportunity to have him checked by the doctor. Maybe if he had an ear infection they would have a medical reason to cancel the trip and have it covered by the insurance.

Well thank goodness he went to the doctor. That ringing wasn't an infection, but a tumor on the bones in his ear!

Luckily it was caught early enough that they were able to do surgery to save not only his life but his hearing as well!

If it hadn't been for those pups and both of them wanting to stay home to care for them, my client may have ended up in a foreign country needing delicate, intricate microscopic cancer surgery! The doctors even said had it gone on much longer it could have broken through into this brain cavity!

So yes, Frick and Frack (who recovered as well as their owner did) possibly saved his life!

And even better yet, after the surgery and radiation therapy, my clients decided they still wanted to travel! But this time in an RV.

Now they and Frick & Frack cruise around the country getting to know our country's culture inside and out.

I get post cards from them several times a year. Each time with Frick and Frack sitting side by side next my client and her husband with a national monument as a backdrop.

They could not look any happier.

Life seldom turns out how you plan it (even decades in advance) but it feels like when you let animals into your heart, it turns out just fine! :-)