Tuesday, 31 July 2007


For those of you who are wondering, this is Stephen Gerrard.

A few years back he probably would have been named 'Fluffy' but since the rise of celebrity there comes a new era in pet names. Other footballing favourites (particularly amongst rabbits) are Beckham, Rooney and Giggsy (Gascoigne is now redundant as is Shearer).

Girls prefer to call their pets Gucci and Prada.

My favourites would have to be the duos. Particularly common amongst cats because most people get two together. 'Ant and Dec' and the recently revived 'Starsky and Hutch'. The only problem here is that when one is inevitably run over the other sounds a bit stupid on its own.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

It's all in the history.

'What seems to be the problem with Rosie?' I ask as the spaniel is dragged into my room.

'Well she's just not right.' Says Mr Jones frowning.

'No she's not right.' Adds Mrs Jones.

'In what way?'

'Well she just isn't right.'

'How long has this been going on?' I ask, hoping a different approach may help.

'She wasn't right last Tuesday, then she was OK, but she's definitely not right today.'

My examination of Rosie reveals nothing, I take a blood sample and then an X-ray which reveals what I want to know.

Turns out in the end it was all in the history, a swab left behind after a previous surgery at another vets, now that was definitely not right.

Monday, 23 July 2007

How to kick a dog when it's down.

Sovereign housing contacted us six times today because they had great concerns regarding the condition of a dog belonging to an elderly flood victim resident in one of their houses.

The council had decided to intervene on his behalf because they had reports that the dog had been swimming in the dirty water.

A 'family friend' said she doubted the owner would be able to answer the mobile phone she had given him and I should just pop round.

When I got to the house the elderly man did not seem that elderly just fragile and slightly confused. The house was pitiful, in fact I doubt it was a nice place to live even when dry.

'She's fine.' He protested, 'I take her for all her check ups.' He was obviously affronted that we had been called out.

'You are right, she is fine.' I told him.

In fact the dog seemed pretty well for a thirteen year old German Shepherd, her arthritis even appeared improved following the impromptu physio session.

The owner had lost his carpets, many of his possessions, heating and electricity but he had not lost his dignity. I was cross that the woman from the council had even suggested that the dog was in a 'bad way' and that the owner was unable to bring him to the surgery. In reality he hadn't wanted to bring his dog, because he knew she was fine.

I phoned the lady at sovereign council.

'The dog's fine.' I told her. 'The owner is more than capable of looking after her, but who is going to look after him?' I asked her.

She had no reply.

What kind of a society do we live in when the welfare of a dog is considered above that of the owner?

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Redundant shoes.

Everyone owns a pair.

They are the glamorous heals you used to love to wear on special occasions that don't match anything in your wardrobe any more. You can't bring yourself to throw them away just in case you might need them again one day.

As I sat perched precariously on the sofa, baby changing bag bursting to my left, drool soaked muslin dangerously close to my right, I knew I was that pair of shoes.

I could talk with expertise on organic baby food, infant cranial osteopathy and baby yoga to every parent at the barbecue. Not because I need or want to know but because friends who once used to laugh at my jokes now no longer listen when I speak, almost to the point of embarrassment. I have learned that the only way I can hope to engage their attention is through child related conversation.

There are a few other childless, husband less friends there like me but they are pre-occupied with becoming like them.

I just want to be happy with my lot, but I can't because like all people I want to fit somewhere and the pain of being on the periphery is often unbearable.

Sometimes I wish they would just throw me away.

A boy of around five who I have never seen before tugs my trousers.

'Can I have more cake?' He asks me earnestly.

I have no idea why he thinks I am in charge.

'Yes.' I tell him and he smiles.

'In fact you can eat cake until you feel sick.' I bend down and whisper in his ear 'But don't tell mummy.'

If my friends insist on keeping a barely used pair of killer heals in their wardrobe, then they are just going to have to live with the consequences.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Noah's Ark.

Torrential rain caused havoc in the local village today.

It was therefore reassuring to know that we were prepared for the worst.

These sandbags (used to position animals for radiography) proved a formidable wall against the waters.

The office and coffee room are completely flooded.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

High Praise

On Sunday Mr Smithers brought his dog Rupert to the surgery.

He was frantic because he had been bitten by next door's dog (Mr Smithers, not Rupert although Rupert was the one who was wounded)

'Rupert needs an anaesthetic and some stitches, you will need to leave him with me.'

'So can it be done tomorrow?'

'No, we need to do it now.'

'Right, so will he die or anything?'

'Hopefully not.'

'Can I stay with him.'

'No you need to leave.'

'Will you call me when it's done?'


'So to clarify, you will call me?'




Rupert's minor operation was a success. The next day I had a message to phone the 'Big Boss'.

I was worried.

'Had a call from a Mr Smither's couldn't praise you enough.' The Big Boss tells me.

In a world devoid of appraisals, this made my day.

I just wonder what Mr Smithers would have thought had he known of Rupert's post-anaesthetic escape from his kennel and unsupervised tour of the practise, finally discovered munching on custard creams in the practise manager's office.

Thankfully I know the Big Boss would have found it hilarious.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Class Divide.

Yesterday Lady X brought her dog to the surgery. The surgery was busy so she was forced to sit next to a family of four who had approximately one front tooth between them and an abundance of string vests. Their dog a glossy looking, slightly neurotic German Shepherd.

Lady X clutched her toothless, fourteen year old flea ridden terrier.

'Can I come back later?' Lady X asked when she was annoyed that she was not put at the front of the waiting list.

I wanted to say 'that would be a good idea because I am sure none of the other people in the waiting room would like their animals to catch fleas from yours.'

But instead I told her she should wait.

After all if they could put up with her dog's halitosis, surely she could tolerate theirs.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Good technique.

Two elderly ladies Vera and Iris, brought their puppies to be vaccinated today.

Iris was busy telling Vera 'It is essential to be relaxed with your puppy, Vera.'

'I'm a nurse, I know these things.' She confessed to me. 'If you are relaxed then the puppy will be relaxed and won't be so startled at the injection, I pride myself on always having been good at giving children painless injections.' She smiled.

The puppy didn't notice the injection I gave it one little bit. I suspect this had much to do with the large handful of dog biscuits I gave it whilst I administered the vaccine, rather than the good karma Iris was exuding.

'What wonderful technique you have!' Proclaimed Iris.

'I prefer to call it cunning.' I told her.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

New Tricks.

'Why have you decided to join the rowing club?' John the novice coach asks me.

My answer: ' I love being outdoors and active and have always wanted to row.'

Real answer: 'Because all my friends are married with children and I am a sad lonely Muppet who wants to meet a tall man who looks good in Lycra.'

Myself and another potential novice called Lucy are shown round the club by Katy who has been on the team for six months. I am pleased to note that Katy and Lucy are even shorter than me. (I am 5ft 3 and was concerned I might be mistaken for a cox.)

'Training starts 6.15pm on Thursdays, I know that might be a problem for you.' Katy tells me.

' I finish work at 6.30 pm on Thursdays, I'll try to get here as soon as I can.' I reply.

'Can't you clock off early?' Asks Lucy. I sense she is appalled at my lack of commitment and is trying to outdo me before we have even joined.

My answer : 'No, I am a vet.'

What I wanted to say : ' Listen you little bitch in the pin stripe suit with the big arse, I don't do flexi time because I am a 'professional', so you can cut the "I'm more committed than you" game.'

We try the rowing machines, Lucy wants to know why I am able to make my machine go faster than hers. She does weights and goes to the gym about fifty times a week and obviously feels that because I am slim and blonde I will be a weakling. Could it possibly be that I am better than her?

Katy tells Lucy that it is probably because I have longer legs.

For the first time in my life someone has told me I have long legs, I savour the moment.

'I think I might just be a real asset to your team.' I tell Katy.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Back to School.

The last three days have been tough.

I find it hard not to get disheartened when a patient fails to get better, particularly when I have made every effort but the diagnosis remains beyond my grasp.

I have also been juggling broken pets with visits to classrooms full of small children (this mornings preschool class thought they were all dogs, it felt like I was in a busy waiting room full of them barking at me.)

Yesterdays visit was very different. A class of ten year olds.

When I arrived the teacher was calling the register.

'Good afternoon Amy.' The teacher chanted.

'od.......ater,' Amy replied. But Amy could not articulate herself and continued to stutter.

Meanwhile Dennis started to scream and a weary looking classroom assistant removed him rather forcefully from the room.

Tanya was given a syringe full of medicine and Hailey refused to sit down on her chair.

These were not normal children.

I was very, very nervous. I had never encountered a child with autism, never mind a room full of them.

Initially they were wary too, staring at me like I was an object rather than a person.

Robert declared that he wanted to cut the head off the stuffed dog I had brought with me.

I ploughed on regardless, using the children as my assistants we performed a pretend operation on the toy dog they had named 'Harry'.

Amy was overjoyed at being given the task of taking Harry's pulse. Tony who was 'relatively normal', excelled in the role as veterinary surgeon although I was nervous at his handling of my surgical scissors. Tania beamed and hugged Harry with delight when he survived the anaesthetic and soon they were clamouring round me, eager to learn more and to each have a turn on the 'skeletoscope' .

'You will come again won't you?' Asked Amy in a perfectly clear voice.

'Of course I will.' I smiled.

I realise now that even when something appears broken beyond repair it's important to never give up hope. If you do, you might miss something wonderful.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Climate Change

Every year this happens.

Tonnes of hair shed by canines and felines around the world.

For those clients who do not possess a Dyson this creates a problem, which subsequently becomes my problem.

They want me to tell them how to stop it.

'Is it hormones?' They ask.

'No it's nature.' I reply.

'Didn't happen last year.' They retort.

'We can test hormone levels, it will cost fifty pounds.' I tell them.

'I don't think it's hormones.' They continue 'What else could it be?'

So the questioning continues for quite some time......until now.

'Terrible thing this global warming.' I ponder seriously as if I am letting them in on a government secret. 'Vast increase in animals moulting all round the world' I frown.

A complete fabrication on my part.

But they love it, nodding in complete and utter agreement. They leave my room swiftly, completely satisfied with my explanation.

Global warming is the new 'cool' and they simply can't wait to tell people about my theory at their next dinner party.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Fire! Fire!

The fire safety inspector arrived today.

Lord knows what he must
have been thinking....

If there is a fire, at least we won't be banging our heads on the way out.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Change of Career? ( Part Two )

I realise now I was aiming a little too high with an alternative career in medicine.

Sometimes it's better to just stick with something you know.

After reading the following advertisement in the Veterinary Times this week a career as a veterinary nurse just got a whole lot more appealing.

I have only one question,

'Would I have to wear a uniform like Super Nanny?'

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Change of Career? ( Part one )

Approximately every two years I feel a great sense of guilt about repaying my debt to society.

Today my prospectus from St George's postgraduate medical school finally arrived. Two months after I requested it and six weeks after I had overcome my guilt (little wonder there is such a shortage of doctors the NHS is forced to take on suicide bombers.)

During my period of guilt I would often look at old people in the supermarket and ask myself the question, 'Could I examine you naked?'

Then one day Mr Cox, a heavily overweight client of mine, who suffers with diabetes and arthritis puffs his way into my room with Ted, his equally overweight Springer Spaniel.

Mr Cox always sits down on the chair and Ted always insists on sitting deep between Mr Cox' bulging thighs.

As I am examining Ted's prostate, my head uncomfortably positioned on a level with Mr Cox' expansive groin, the question,

'Whose prostate would I rather be feeling?' Pops into my head.

This morning the prospectus went straight in the bin.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Short Straws.

There are two types of people in life,

1) Those that choose the fast queue.

2) Those that choose the slow one.

Similarly, there are two types of vet,

1) Those that always manage to choose the cute puppies and kittens from the waiting list.

2) Those that are savaged time and time again.

I guess I'll always be standing in the wrong queue.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Doctor Who ?

When a doctor brings their pet to the surgery, I find it is essential to try to differentiate exactly what sort of doctor I am dealing with.

In other words are they,

A) Any old numpty with a PHD.

In my experience these are the ones who are most likely to insist on being called 'Doctor'.
They are also most likely to have performed a dreaded internet search on their pet's condition prior to consultation. They will question every aspect of my clinical judgement.


B) A real live medical doctor whose pet has most likely been sick for about six months before they could be bothered to bring it to the surgery. Despite this they will also insist on questioning every aspect of my clinical judgement.

Early differentiation is essential because when group A) question my clinical judgment, I will be irritated and start using long scientific words in order to confuse them, however anyone in group B) is likely to cause me to break into a cold sweat and perform an internet search of my own.

This morning there was a Doctor on the waiting list. He drew my attention to a pustule on his dogs face.

'Probably just pyoderma.' I told him.

'What's that?' He asked.

Definately Group A.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Nobby's Nuts.

This box was duly delivered on Monday.

Contained within, one dishevelled, displaced, racing pigeon, found by a member of the public.

The owner (who lives in Essex, some way away) was contacted via the birds ring number and was unwilling to play for his train ticket home via a pigeon courier.

We have called him Robert. He has been fed top quality bird food for three days. The nurses have been restless for his release because he has been throwing his faeces and food about in a messy fashion.

We released him yesterday.

He returned to us today, much to the dismay of our senior equine surgeon, who wanted to know,
'Why there was a f*cking pigeon perched on top of the autoclave in the washroom, crapping all over his f*cking surgical instruments?!?'

I can only conclude that Robert must now be homing back to the surgery, having popped in by the back door.

He is currently in hiding in our cattery, we are preparing for another release date.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The Dark Side.

Otherwise known as our equine department.

We share the same facilities and eqipment.

We do not share the same regard for the preservation of these facilities and equipment.

This month the equine department have broken:

1) Our bronchoscope (£2000) because they shut the end in a door.
2) The light source for the arthroscope (£2000). It got kicked by a horse.
3) The blood gas analyser (£1000) because they are fuckwits.
4) Two nurses (priceless). Both badly bitten by a vicious Thoroughbred mare.

Yesterday they broke our glucometer and a drip pump.

I let them off on this occasion but only because the patient was cute,

When I saw this note pinned to the back door of the practice by the equine head nurse,

My one thought was,

'She'll be lucky.'

(For those of you who are curious, an 'emasculator' is exactly that.)

Monday, 2 July 2007

Am I Bovered?

Some days it's hard to be a practice manager.