Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saving Dot

Today, I had some unexpected free time that is just perfect for writing my weekly blog. Usually I start looking for my next topic as soon as the previous week's blog is done. If possible, I try to use a recent case at the clinic for inspiration. Weekends are good for taking my dogs for long walks and thinking of blog topics. Funny how long walks are good for thinking. Unfortunately I spent most of the weekend attending to my dinosaur of a computer at home so when this free time fell into my lap, I was literally without an idea. Fortunately Ashley, one of my vet assistants, came to my rescue when she said "Blog about Dot!". Perfect! I know Ashley liked the idea because Dot is a cute dog with a feel-good story that has a happy ending. I liked the idea because I get to brag about the staff at The Country Doctor which, if I haven't said it before, is the best staff on the planet.

Dot is a year and a half old beagle whose story starts the week before Christmas 2009. She snuck out of the house and went missing. She was found laying in a nearby field and was unable to walk. Her owner brought her to the clinic. Dot had a lot of road rash, a broken pelvis and a broken right front foot and it became quite obvious she had been hit by some sort of vehicle. Her broken pelvis was so severe that euthanasia was thought about. Dot's owner is a teenage boy and referral for orthopedic surgery was not an option. Even though there will be some arthritis in one hip, Dot showed an extreme will to live so she was sent home on cage rest, pain medication and antibiotics for her wounds.

A week or two later she started chewing on her injured front foot. Not just a little chewing. She actually chewed off one of her toes and did not want to stop there. She was not walking on the leg either. It didn't take long to realize she had nerve damage and had severe nerve pain in that leg. Amputation was the treatment needed to get rid of Dot's pain. Dot's owner kept her on pain medication and had her wear an Elizabethan Collar so that she could not chew anymore of her foot off while they were deciding what to do. But surgery is expensive and money does not grow on trees. It is a cold hard reality of veterinary medicine that the choice becomes one of letting an animal suffer or putting it to sleep even though, given enough money, the problem could be fixed. This is something that everyone who works in a veterinary clinic has to deal with on a daily basis. Whether veterinarian or veterinary technician or veterinary assistant, we all are in this line of work because we love animals. We empathize deeply with our clients. But if we did not charge for what we do, our veterinary practice would cease to exist. This is the reality.

I happened to be out of town at a family wedding when the plan to save Dot was concocted. The staff got together and decided that they would volunteer their time for Dot's surgery. Dr. Curie agreed to donate the drugs and supplies needed. I found out about the plan as I sat in a restaurant on the road with my family. Another vet assitant Christine called my cell phone to tell me about the plan. I was the last piece of the puzzle as I would be doing the surgery. My decision was easy. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she told me about Dot. Two days later, Dot had her leg amputation surgery in the evening after regular business hours were done. Katelyn, Christine and Carly assisted with surgery. Ashley drove to the clinic late at night to do a post-op check.

Did I ever tell you that the staff at Country Doctor is the best staff on the planet?

Oh how I wish we could do this all the time. As for me, I'd like to thank Dot for coming into my life. She is a reminder to give back to others from time to time. There is a song "Satisfied Mind" sung by Hal Ketchum and written by Tony Arata. I think this says it so well........

Don't think wealth is ever having all you want all to yourself
It is found when you are giving what you have to someone else
The only difference in the rich and the poor is a satisfied mind

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