My pets and sunset

Have you ever noticed how completely gorgeous the light is as the sun begins it’s descent into night? It is warm and beautiful and brings back memories of being a kid in the summertime, when you hoped for just a few more minutes of light so you could play outside just a little longer…

The windows in our living room face west and every evening as the sun begins to set, our animals strategically position themselves on the couch. Just like little kids, they try to collect every last drop of sunshine. I grabbed my camera and tried to capture the innate happiness that is sunset in the McArthur living room.

Mop

Even cats with one eye can appreciate a killer (even a not-so-killer) sunset.

Poe

Poe likes to snuggle into the cushions on the back of the couch. Preferably on top of a soft and fluffy blanket.

Pinecone

Pinecone usually curls up in her dog bed. Unfortunately for her on this evening, Chloe tried to curl up in the dog bed as well…

Big Fat Otis

You would think that a 24 pound cat has enough natural insulation that he would avoid warm things like sunset and fire. Not BFO… he gravitates towards both. He will find the smallest ray of sunshine and soak it in.

Milo

And then there is Milo… I think he lays in the sun only because he knows how good his orange fur looks in the warm glow of the sun. Here is another shot of Mr. Sunshine:

Milo, vertical with flare

The smile on his face says it all. And with that… good night.

Your Daily Pinecone

Begging for Food

Poor dog… if only her people loved her.

P.S. For any veterinary/ophthalmologist types reading this, do not be concerned that Pinecone has cataracts. It is just some funky light reflecting her left eye. Pinecone thanks you for your concern.

Quack!

Emergency veterinary medicine is an interesting job, mostly because you never know what may come through the door. A dog hit by car, a cat with an abscess, a goat attacked by a mountain lion (yes… this did actually come in to our clinic late one night). Today was a new one. An ambulance pulled up with two tiny passengers. The medics were posted at a nearby park when they noticed a resident cat stalking two baby ducklings. The medics observed the situation for a while and waited to see if the mama duck would return. After 45 minutes, the ducklings waddled up to the medics who then scooped up the babies and brought them to our clinic. Those poor medics must be deaf after all the high pitched screaming we did when those ducklings arrived. Can you blame us? I mean, look at these guys:

Waddling around the yard

I'll go this way, you go that way...

After a little bit of exploration, the ducklings settled down into a nice spot in which to take a nap:

This spot looks comfortable

Bookends

Sweet dreams little ducklings

I called Gary and asked him to bring some duck food. He arrived with Ella and the first thing that he said is “NO!” as in hell no, we are not taking those things home! Which is fine because Marsha has already claimed them. She was more than happy to show Miss Ella the babies. Which was a good thing since I was scared, yes, scared of the ducklings. I was worried they would peck my eyes out. Anyhow, Ella was super excited to meet the ducklings:

Marsha introducing Ella to her new duckies

Happy babies

After Ella left, the ducklings spent the early afternoon snacking and napping in the comfort of their private cage. It was really nice to hear the little quack-quacks all day long.

I didn’t think the day could get any better… but it did!

Bath time!

We love water!

You lookin' at me?

Duck races

Hi

Almost deep enough to swim

Shake your tail feathers

Flapping my nubs

Okay, so are they not the cutest? I must say that these ducklings totally made my day, if not my week. I didn’t get pictures of them waddling around behind their new mommy Marsha, or curling up next to her outside on the grass. Trust me, it was completely adorable!

Marsha, I envy you for taking these little guys home. Dare I say, you are one lucky duckling!

Introducing Pinecone

We have welcomed a new member to our family. We actually brought her home over 2 months ago, but there were a few hurdles that we needed to get over before I could officially introduce her to the world. We leapt over our last hurdle today, so without further adieu, I will tell you the story of Pinecone.

I worked the day after Thanksgiving and had a dreadful day. I euthanized five animals during that awful shift and was feeling absolutely worthless. There was a French Bulldog sitting in the hospital, brought in the night before. She had apparently been hit by a car and some nice person brought her in. My most excellent colleague, Dr. Sarah Whitley, treated this dog for shock and the pain she was most certainly suffering. With no owners, Dr. Whitley was very limited as to what she could do to help this little dog. When I saw the Frenchie the next day, I figured that she would be shipped out to the appropriate animal care agency so she could hopefully be reunited with her family. If her owners didn’t come forward, she would likely be euthanized as she had some significant injuries that would be quite costly to fix. I didn’t think much about her on that awful day… I didn’t want to get attached to something that was going to just go away.

The next day I mentioned to Gary “hey, you want a French Bulldog?” to which I was expecting him to reply “we don’t need another animal… have you seen our house?”. To my surprise, he just stared at me, kinda blankly, which I translated to mean “I’ll think about it”. I jumped on the opportunity and called the clinic to see if anyone had claimed the dog yet. Nope, she was still sitting in the hospital, gorked on her pain meds. I asked Gary if he wanted to meet her and, again, stared back at me with a blank face. Taking the cue that he was still interested, I asked the staff to take some X-rays of her so we could see just how bad the damage was. It was bad. Her pelvis, femur and tibia were fractured. I could hear the “ca-ching” ringing in my ears, indicating just how expensive it would be to fix her. We strapped the girls into their car seats and drove down to the clinic to meet her. I opened the cage and Gary said “wow, she’s really ugly. She’ll fit right into our home”. I told him how much I figured it would be to fix her and he said “if we fix her, no camera for you”. I have been wanting to upgrade to a professional camera, but can’t justify the cost yet. Without hesitation, I determined we would be fixing this dog and taking her home. I mean, look at her, she is adorable!

The homeless Frenchie

I contacted my friend and classmate, the esteemed veterinary surgeon, Dr. JT Vida. I asked if he would look at the dog’s x-rays and see if there was something that he could do. He agreed to come in the next day and surgicate on her. Her “stray hold” was up, so I agreed to take financial responsibility for her. I was a little worried when both he and the radiologist conferred about how they haven’t seen such a fracture before. It is always worrisome when the experts are perplexed. But being the kick ass surgeon that he is, JT went in there and worked his magic. Would you like to see them in surgery? A quick warning: if you are squeamish about blood and broken bones, either close your eyes or suck it up because I’m about to show you.

Dr. Vida, most excellent surgeon

Here is Dr. Vida, working his surgical magic. Would you like to see what I asked him to fix?

Fractured femur

At the top of the photo, just below the set of retractors… do you see it? That white, sharp object that looks like a bone? Well, it is a bone. It is the top half of her femur. The other half is down in that bloody mess you see there. Want to see how he fixed it?

7 hole plate

I’m sure there is a fancy name for that piece of hardware, but it is a plate with 7 screws, spanning the fracture and holding the bones in place. JT has this really cool plate bender, so he was able to custom fit the plate to the contours of her bone. There is also a very large pin extending down the inside of her femur, to add some extra support. Next, he performed a femoral head osteotomy. Sorry, I don’t have any photos of that but trust me, it was way cool! He did not repair the pelvic fracture because it would heal on it’s own. But he did put a pin and a screw in her tibia, since the radiologist felt that it had a spiral fracture that involved the joint.

Pinning the tibia

Yup, that would be a pin sticking out of her lower leg. Don’t worry, Dr. Vida cut the end of it off.

It was an amazingly successful surgery. JT did an outstanding job at putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.  I don’t have words to eloquently or appropriately thank him for the ridiculously incredible work that he did. And “thank you” just doesn’t seem adequate. So whether you like it or not JT, you are getting free photographs for the rest of your life. And that includes wedding photos of your son, even if he doesn’t marry my daughter.

I brought the sad little doggie home and nestled her into her crate, to which she would be confined for the next 8 weeks while she recovered from surgery. Chloe looked at the dog and immediately fell in love. Gary asked her “what would you like to name her?” to which she instantly replied “Pinecone!”. Not the first name that comes to mind when naming a dog, but oddly enough, it seemed to fit. Gary wanted to name her Nikon, after the camera that I forfeited in exchange for this dog. I don’t know about you, but I think Pinecone is a waaaay cooler name than Nikon. Anyhow, Chloe and Pinecone have become BFFs, and Chloe has loved accompanying Pinecone outside for her supervised outings. She also has been very helpful with giving Pinecone her pain medication. It has been really sweet to watch the two of them together.

Good doggie!

Enjoying a little sun

This was Pinecone’s first time outside since her surgery. I think the sun and fresh air made her feel so much better.

Now I must confess: nothing in my veterinary training prepared me for the enormous undertaking that is rehabilitating an injured animal. As a veterinarian, I give orders as far as what medications to give, what type of nursing care is to be done… all of which is carried out by my staff or by the owners once they are home. I don’t think that I have ever had a case this intensive, even in vet school. Caring for Pinecone has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have realized just how difficult it is, physically, emotionally, financially, to provide care for this little creature. It has forced me into the position of client, rather than doctor. And I am thankful for that because I has reminded me why I became a veterinarian: to help animals. Because on the other side of all the pain and work that went into rehabilitating this dog comes the satisfaction of knowing that I helped her. While I didn’t resuscitate her on her first night or put her bones back together, I knew the right people to call. And the joy that comes from seeing this dog recover into a happy, thriving member of our family is absolutely priceless.

Pinecone, sporting some bling

Enjoying a chewy

Begging for food

Pinecone still isn’t normal: her hair hasn’t grown back and she walks with a little skip in her step. But she is happy. She is thriving. And she is alive to snort and drool to her little heart’s content. And that, my friends, is all I need.

Welcome to our family, Pinecone!

Look at What I Did!

Tangible proof that the curse is broken:

Puppy from my C-section

 

The puppy on the left did not require my assistance. Her sister, however, was just a wee bit too big to come out on her own. Pretty cute, huh?

Snug as a bug

 

Today, life is good.

 

Abby the Otterhound

Ever seen an Otterhound? Prior to last week, I hadn’t either. Nor had I ever heard of one. 

Until I met Abby, an adorable and lovable Otterhound puppy who stole my heart. I was so smitten with her, I had to excuse myself from the exam room so I could grab my camera. Fortunately, Abby’s parents were kind and patient and let me click away.

Smile!

Smile!

Hi

Hi

Please stop taking my picture...

Please stop taking my picture...

Abby

Abby

The Otterhound is an old British breed and there are fewer than 1000 Otterhounds worldwide. I feel honored to have met one of these spectacular creatures.

Thank you Abby for coming in to see me the other day I hope to see you again soon!

Gross, but cool

I saw this laying on my deck the other day. My reactions were the following: EEEEEEEEK!!! That is SOOOOO gross! Wait… it’s kinda cool. I’d better grab my camera.

Here is what I saw:

Lizard skin

Lizard skin

Initially, I thought this was a lizard that my Boston Terrier had tortured and killed. When I went to pick it up and dispose of it’s little remains, I realized that this was just the shed of a lizard. And it appeared to be intact… the whole thing from nose to tail.

Lizard shed... the hind legs

Lizard shed... the hind legs

I’m talkin’ all the way down to it’s tiny little toes.

See the eyes?

See the eyes?

There are even holes from the eyes… freaky, huh? I knew that lizards shed their skins, but I had no idea they could do it in one entire piece. Yes, I realize that I am a veterinarian and I should know these things. But reptiles gross me out. The only reason I got so close to this was because it was just the shell of a reptile. Had this been a little carcass, I would have run off screaming like my 2 year old daughter.

Good thing it blew away before Gary got home to see it… he probably would have put it on my dinner plate or left it on my pillow. And I am just not man enough to handle that.