Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Cheer.

I'm hoping it is going to arrive soon.

To my dismay none of our clients were put off by the snow, depositing their various pets at the surgery door for routine operations and worse still, dental work. 

As usual we have been supplied with a never ending stream of shortbread and chocolates to numb the pain.

I am on call the eve of my birthday and am praying no-one expects me to brave the non gritted UK roads and ice in the early hours of the start of my 34th year.

Sparing a thought for the vet on call on Christmas day and the poor nurses who will be working the Christmas shifts, spending it on the surgery premises rather than at home with their families.  Let's hope there aren't too many Christmas pudding/chocolate intoxicated pets.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Chat up lines.

Wellington New Zealand, Jan 2007.

He(puffing his chest out): 'I'm the most important person in my town.'

Me (surprised): 'Really? Are you the Mayor?'

He (proudly): 'No I'm the vet!'

Me: 'Wow, that's such a great job!'  

He: 'Yeah, it lands me a lot of respect.'

Me : 'I bet it does, I am very impressed.'

He: 'So what do you do?'

Me (matter of fact): 'I'm a vet too.'

He: Silence.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


I spend almost thirty minutes on the phone advising Miss Small about Molly her cat at midnight and another 30 minutes at 2 am. 

After we admit Molly the next day for investigations Miss Small calls four times during the day to check on Molly's progress.

The next day she calls to see if it is OK for Molly to go outside again.

The day after that she calls to see when Molly needs to come and see me again and whether I think it is her fault that Molly got sick because she let her outside in the cold.

She loves Molly and she is very grateful for all my endeavors.

'Surely I can't be the only person like this?' She asks 'Please tell me you have come across someone even more neurotic about their pets than I am?' She pleads.

'Yes.' I reply. ' That would be me.'

Friday, 4 December 2009

Last Date.

After filling my date in on the mad menagerie that my Mother keeps, including the seven sex rampant tortoises, a cat and a fox at the bottom of the garden which she feeds every day, my date says:

'My mum used to put chilli powder in the garden to keep the cats out.'

Mean bitch.

Turns out it runs in the family.

He attempts to order very little food (in case I should make him pay) and as we split the bill (and then the tip) I decide I cant go out with the tight-arse spawn of a chilli sprinkling witch ever again.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The hardest Good bye.

'Be professional, be professional, be professional.' I say to myself as I drive through the rain to my destination.

It is time to say good bye to Josh.  He has been unwell for some weeks.

But this is no ordinary euthanasia because Josh belongs to a colleague and a friend.

He doesn't get out of his basket when I arrive and blood trickles from his nose, he wags his tail and I look into his big brown eyes, he is still a big handsome labrador but his body is tired.

I imagine how my colleague will feel tomorrow when she gets up and his basket is empty.  How hard it will be to come home for lunch to an empty house, his toy box undisturbed. He is the third member of their family and a huge part of their life.  She is a proud, strong woman who I have rarely seen upset and it breaks my heart to see her so vulnerable, the tears role silently down her cheeks as she strokes his head. 

I give the injection as we feed him his favourite treats, eventually he stops eating and his head slumps. 

'Thank you.' She says softly. 'That was really nice.' 

Being a vet involves the euthanasia of patients to alleviate suffering on an almost daily basis and for the most part I remain professional yet compassionate.  In circumstances such as these where I understand something of the bond between patient and owner it is impossible to remain so.

Euthanasia of a pet is not an easy decision for an owner to make, my mother had several sleepless nights before taking her own cat to the local vets.  The guilt and anxiety an owner can feel is not to be underestimated.

But it is also important to realise that however calm we may appear, the pressure we feel as vets to make this final act go as smoothly as possible is often immense.  At times it is impossible not to be moved to tears and it never gets any easier, however long you have been qualified. Afterall, we are only human.