A Vet Shares Why These 5 Patients Hold a Special Place in Her Heart
Veterinarians are kind of like parents in that we get to feeling a little squeamish when it comes to picking favorites. Nah… we don’t really play that game, we tell ourselves. And yet, when asked point-blank whether I could name a few favorites, some inevitably came to mind. So much for politics.
Truth is, we all have favorites. Those who say they don’t are either inhumanly stoic or have a hard time with the definitions of certain words.
The Top of My List
Here’s my list, complete with rationale behind why they make the grade.
1. Anubis. I have this awesome feline patient, who has the best life ever. His family attends to his every desire. They buy him luxury beds, custom aromatherapy sessions, employ massage therapists and prepare immense smorgasbords to meet his every gustatory whim. He’s so preternaturally spoiled you would think he’d be a jerk. Yet he’s not. He’s Anubis. He’s the king. And he’s awesome.
How do I know this? Any kitty arriving with a urethral obstruction is normally pretty foul tempered. Now, Anubis wasn’t happy (far from it), but he did manage to put a pretty good face on. For days at a time.
I cannot explain this cat’s smooth take on life nor how he’s managed to have such a positive impact on me and everyone else who works with him. Let it suffice to say, however, that Anubis has a special way of looking at things that makes you want to be a cat in your next life.
2. Geordie. After spending his entire career in Afghanistan expertly sniffing out IEDs, this big lug of a retired military working dog is now the poster child for thunderstorm phobia.
Why do I adore him? Aside from the fact that he’s survived a full-length military career and thyroid cancer, I can’t help thinking that this mild-mannered Belgian Malinois epitomizes anything I’d ever want in a human or animal companion. All that and brains, too! What’s not to love?
Oh, and he reminds me of my two Malinois girls at home. What can I say? I have an extra-soft spot for Mals.
3. Ruby. You know you’re having a bad day when your canine housemate shakes you by the neck three days before New Year’s Eve, and the injuries keep you hospitalized until deep into February. This dog is home now, but she’ll always be with us. It was touch and go for a time, but she made it through with lots (and lots!) of patience.
Why is Ruby special? It’s probably because we all refused to give up. Long past the point where her owner could afford the treatments, we all collectively agreed that we’d pool our resources and keep Ruby going. The fact that she tolerated our ministrations and even came to enjoy living at our practice (despite the many discomforts) makes her a permanent part of our family.
4. Maggie. She started out as a flea-bitten, heartworm-ridden, mange-infested yellow Lab someone found abandoned in the Everglades. The finder said, “It’s too much for her. Put her to sleep.” We took her in and fixed her all up. She now lives right across the street from me in the best forever home ever. Great story, right?
5. Miranda. She’s a skinny old cat, who looks like hyperthyroidism is about to swallow her whole, but I can’t help adoring her.
Miranda’s somehow managed to survive the past year or two of her life with an aggressive skin cancer inside her ear. It’s not pretty, and despite the many baths and treatments, it persists. But as long as we keep it from getting out of control she seems comfortable enough… so we let her be.
Miranda doesn’t care. She lives what’s left of her lengthy life perched atop the insensate knees of her paraplegic owner. She’s a happy cat. I know, because I make plenty of hospice house calls to her bedside. What’s more, she keeps her owner alive. And this makes her among the most important patients I’ve ever had.
That’s my list!
Disclaimer: This list includes only the living. There are way more patients who might’ve made the list in years past but have passed on. I had to find some way of making the selection process easier!
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