A Good Vet : More Than a Good Doctor
One of the most important relationships a pet owner has is the one shared with their pets’ doctor.
When we got our first dog, Tramp, there were no vets south of the river until Dr. Darryl Holt of Animal House on Dover Road began seeing patients at a now-closed Hwy. 48 feed store. I was thrilled to have a vet closer to home, especially after getting to know Holt, one of the kindest vets I’ve ever met. When the store closed, I made the long trip to Animal House because I was so pleased with Holt’s caring touch.
Eventually, Animal House expanded, and Southside Veterinary Clinic, part of Gateway Animal Care Group, opened on Hwy. 48. As we added more pets to our pack, I got to know the wonderful new doctors there: Steve Hampton, Tab Spoonamore and Brad Herbeck.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous pet emergencies: Penny got snake bit; Peanut gobbled a rawhide treat without bothering to chew, blocked his intestines and spent several days at the clinic undergoing X-rays, IVs and observation; Zoe had a misunderstanding with Scooter and her tooth ended up embedded in her upper lip, to name just a few of our pet travails.
The vets always recommend the least invasive (and least expensive) procedures first. They never push, they always listen and they treat our pets with genuine affection and concern, as does the entire staff.
I also admire the way they help local animal rescues with discounted prices. I often show up with a needy animal, and they always go above and beyond.
The most memorable case was that of Data, a young, sweet, abandoned border collie. Data had a terrible limp, most likely from being hit by a car. He suffered multiple hip breaks that were never treated. The bones healed crookedly, obstructing his intestines and causing his stool to come out a flat ribbon.
I took Data in for vaccines, neutering and X-rays, which revealed the serious condition. Hampton said that because the injury was several months old, surgery would be dangerous and should be performed by a specialist. Going that route would cost thousands, something neither I nor the rescue could afford. Graciously, he offered to tackle the risky operation himself at a drastically reduced rate.
During surgery, a vet tech called. Hampton saw he’d have to get extremely close to vital organs, and Data could die. Did I want him to continue or close? If he closed, Data would live, but would require stool softeners his entire life and run the risk of constant intestinal blockages. I told them to continue if they thought they could help.
And help they did. Data recovered and today lives downtown with the owners of Rock ‘n’ Rocks, who adopted him through the Humane Society. You can barely discern his former injury. Data’s case was just one of many where the vets came to the rescue.
When a 14-year-old Tramp collapsed late one, I knew it was bad. Panicked, I called the emergency number, but the vet on call was from another clinic in the group, and I’d have to travel to Animal House. Knowing Tramp wouldn’t make it, I called Hampton at home, waking him up. He didn’t hesitate before telling me to bring Tramp to Southside.
Sadly, Tramp died on my lap in the car, the exact place she laid when we drove her home after adopting her from the Humane Society 12 years earlier.
I left Tramp to be cremated and asked Hampton to save a snip of her hair. When we picked up her remains, they were in a nice urn. A large snip of her tail hair was tied securely with a rubber band. A sympathy card arrived a few days later.
That’s what a good vet does: care for you along with your pets. Of course, it’s important that you are a good client. Care for your pets properly, see your vet regularly and listen to what he or she says.
Several local vets help rescues, and my hope is more will join them and also take the lead in helping to solve our community's severe animal problem. Instead of being against pet licensing because of disagreements over fee collection, I hope they’ll offer solutions—maybe banding together to host low-cost spay and neuter events in conjunction with the Humane Society’s program, as many vets do in other cities.
After all, they know best that the only way to control pet populations is to, as Bob Barker would say, “have your pet spayed and neutered.”
Share your vet stories--the good, the bad and the ugly! Above is a picture of Peanut after he came back from his eating-the-chewie ordeal. The bandage on his leg was where the IV was placed. Poor Little Man!
posted by Sandy at 7/09/2007 08:39:00 PM