Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Trivia

courtesy of

I’ve met some interesting people and seen some interesting things in the 22 years I’ve been working in veterinary practices. A lot of them are too short to justify a whole blog entry, so I decided to put a few into a trivia-style blog. Some things are just too strange to not pass along…

  1. I once broke into a vet clinic when I was a teenager… to walk the dogs on a Thanksgiving morning. I didn’t have a key, and the person who had the key and was supposed to help me was over an hour late. I had to scale a wall to access the door to the kennels. All the dogs got their Thanksgiving treats, and I got home in time for Thanksgiving Lunch with my family. And my co-worker?  She showed up just as I was walking the last dog.

  1. I worked at a clinic that had one of America’s few female serial killers as a client. Her name was Audrey Marie Hilley, and she was from Anniston, Alabama. Her nickname was The Black Widow. She even bounced a check at the clinic. They didn’t pursue her for payment… I wonder why… If you want to know more about her, Wiki has a pretty good article:

  1. Have you ever ultrasounded a llama to see if it was pregnant while it spat on you repeatedly in protest?  I have.

  1. Scared Straight: I have seen one rabid animal. It was a bat found climbing up a screen door to someone’s back porch in the middle of the day.  I didn’t take the appropriate precautions for my personal safety when I sent the sample to the State for testing. This was a bad decision on my part, because I wound up having to list myself as a “potentially exposed” individual with the State of Alabama Department of Public Health. That led to a significant amount of paperwork.  I was 17 years old.  I’ve never taken a potentially rabid animal lightly since.

  1. Just after Branchville Animal Hospital opened, I had a very nice lady bring me a snake to identify. It was in her basement, and she and a neighbor had captured it in a 20-ounce drink bottle. You should have seen her face when I told her it was poisonous. I have no idea how they got it into the bottle without getting bitten.

  1. My worst on-the-job injury was a bite not from a dog or a cat, but from a gerbil named Zippy.  It was awful and I might have to write a whole blog about it later.

If any of you guys want to hear more about the incidents I wrote about this time, drop me a line and let me know. Thanks, everybody, and have a safe Halloween!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Current Events - October 2011

I decided to postpone the promised horse blog to do a “current events” blog. It’s been an unusual week around here… pretty memorable.

Monday of this week, I neutered a rat. Yes, a pet rat. It was something I’ve never done before, and wouldn’t have agreed to it except that:
  1. A staffer here asked me to do it, and
  2. We had a sincere but brief conversation about anesthetic risk with small rodents a few days before I did it (I also made her promise not to tell her daughter about the new pet rat until after the surgery & recovery).

We have the benefit of having a couple of techs on staff that have had some experience dealing with more unusual pets. One of them ran anesthesia for me while I did the surgery as fast as possible to get Dudley awake ASAP. It went off without a hitch, but I have to admit I was sweating bullets the whole time.

On Tuesday, someone “donated” an injured bird to us. As best we can figure, it’s a Rail of some sort- a spindly-legged marsh bird. It was addled at first, and was therefore easy to deal with. As we fed it and it came back to its senses, it began to act like you would expect any wild creature to act: It tried to kill the people working with it. Thank goodness, its abilities in that area are somewhat limited by the fact that it weighs about 2 ounces. Here’s a picture of him before he turned into the avian version of The Incredible Hulk:

After almost a full day of rehab here at the clinic, the bird is destined for a local wildlife rescue group.  I think he’ll enjoy having a new group of folks to thrash.

Finally, we took in some boarders yesterday that are a little out of the norm for us. Here’s a picture of the crew:

I have to say that I think this is fun. I grew up on a poultry farm with tens of thousands of chickens at a time, so eight is a different ballgame entirely. They’ll be with us until next week until their owners get back into town. Until then, I’ll be entertained by the occasional “peep” mixed in with the barking from the kennels.

I’ve talked before about not knowing exactly what you’ll be doing every morning when you go into work as a veterinarian. This week has proven that variety is the spice of life- it’s been a blast.