Last weekend I went to Pittsburgh and hung out with my friend Tanya and her family, which was awesome. We spent several hours at the Pittsburgh zoo- that is a really nice zoo; if I lived in Pittsburgh I think I could happily go to the zoo every single weekend. There were baby beavers and baby river otters – both were adorable, but the beavers were probably the highlight of the visit. Two of the little beavers were swimming around while the mom was making a pile of sticks in front of the little nest with all the other babies in it. (I hesitate to call it a dam, because it was just a pile of sticks on top of a slab of concrete.) Then the mom went and collected the two little swimmers and put them back with their siblings. It was one of the top ten cutest things of all time. She grabbed them by the scruff and carried them with her little hands out in front. Too cute for words.
Though the past week had some nice highlights, this week was one of the worst weeks I can remember in a long time. It all started Monday morning when we called Animal Care and Control to see how the Mamma dog was doing, if she was responding to treatment, etc. When we called, we found out that Animal Care & Control had not taken the dog to the clinic to be treated as they had promised us they would. Instead, they gave the dog back to the “owners” (which they had specifically told us they would NOT do). The owners allegedly had an appointment for the dog to be seen at a vet, which is why AC&C released the dog to them. The owners were charged $20 for having an animal “at large”. AC&C also said that the owners do have to go to court about the abuse charges, but I really don’t think even that is true. I mean, what’s to stop these people from just taking the dog home and cancelling the appointment? Our office assistant at the clinic was furious, and made phone call after phone call until she finally talked to one of the head officers at AC&C. He said that he would personally check up on the dog to make sure she had been treated for the mastitis, and that they had plans to have her spayed, and if both of these were not done, they would reclaim the dog and the owners would not get her back. I, however, have lost all faith in the organization and I seriously doubt that any of this will happen. I’m pretty sure they were just feeding us a line to shut us up.
And it all went downhill from there. We had more euthanasia, patient deaths, and close calls this week than I think I have ever experienced since I started in the Vet Tech program. It was just depressing. The worst story of all, though, came on Friday. The day was incredibly busy. The schedule was pretty light in the morning, but people kept calling with emergency situations and we had three walk-ins, and three wildlife dropoffs, and the phones were ringing almost constantly on top of everything else, so we were way behind and didn’t even finish up with our last appointment until 30 minutes after we were supposed to close up and go home! We were an hour and a half late getting out of there because that’s how long it took us to get everything wrapped up.
But the last appointment of the day was the worst. A young man came from about an hour away with a rat that had insanely huge mammary tumors all over her body. He said it was his sister’s rat, and he didn’t know for sure how long it had been since the tumors appeared because the rat lived in his sister’s room, and when he saw the tumors, he brought her right into his hometown vet. By this point the tumors were so large and had spread so far that the vet said he didn’t feel comfortable doing the surgery and referred the guy to our clinic. It was obvious to me that the guy had become rather attached to the rat, because he kept talking about how smart she is, and how he wanted to do whatever he could for her. So the kid came in to see if our Dr. thought she could do the surgery. She said yes she could, but it would be a long surgery (and therefore expensive) because of the size and number of the tumors (there was one HUGE one on the right side, on in each armpit, one on the left side, and one on the belly which was wrapped around the rat’s “female parts” as the guy put it). She also explained that the tumors usually grow back once they’ve been removed, but there is a new drug that she would like to try on the rat after the surgery if the family was interested, but it is very expensive (almost $200 a month). The guy called his sister to explain the situation and see what she wanted to do; after he was done talking to her he said to go ahead and do the surgery, left the rat with us for the weekend so the surgery could be done right away Monday, and went home. Half an hour later he came back looking miserable and said “there’s been a change of plans”. I asked if he wanted to bring the rat home for the weekend, and he said “Yes and no. My sister doesn’t want to do the surgery.” Apparently the family had only allowed him to bring the rat to our clinic because they thought the tumors were inoperable and they were just humoring him. So they allowed this poor kid to get his hopes up about the surgery, and then yanked the rug out from under his feet. So now he basically has to watch this poor rat suffer until she can’t handle the tumors anymore and either dies or has to be euthanized. I felt so horrible for this guy- if I had the money, I would have paid for the surgery myself. I am so disgusted with his family that I was about ready to get in my car and drive to their house. What a horrible thing to do to someone! The poor guy was so upset, he sat in his car in our parking lot for 30 minutes before he finally drove away.
After we got home, Sarah came down with a terrible migraine so her husband Gabe drove her to the hospital to see if they could get something to help her out. While they were gone, the lady across the street backed into Gabe’s car. Seriously, like we hadn’t already been hit over the head repeatedly with the unlucky stick this week.
My externship is half over now – I have been here for 3 weeks, and I have 3 weeks left to go. I can’t believe it’s been that long! I have been learning a lot and been able to do some really fun things, but mostly I’m just very homesick. I miss my kids, I miss my parents, I miss my friends, I miss my dogs and cats, and most of all, I miss Ian. I am very tired of sleeping alone in this double-sized sofa bed. I could use a big hug. If Selby were here, she’d put her head in my lap to make me feel better. Lord Dormir would lay on my chest and purr. Sir Oliver would probably crawl under the blankets and curl up for a nap. Xerxes would follow me all over the house, lay down next to me, and keep the boogieman away. We have the telephone and skype, but it’s not the same. You just can’t send a hug and kiss through the internet, no matter how good your wifi connection is.
So in order to help with the lonliness, I did what any self-respecting Vet Tech would do. I got another pet. Don’t worry Mom, it’s only a little one. One of the women at the clinic adopted a hamster that turned out to be pregnant, so she had a bunch of little baby hamsters for adoption, and wouldn’t you know it, the one I liked best just happened to be available. So I asked Ian and he said I could bring it home, but he gets to name it. That’s only a small price to pay, I say – Ian named him Keano (after one of the players on his European football team). Isn’t he adorable? If you aren’t a hamster fan, I’d appreciate if you’d humor me and pretend that you agree 🙂 It is really nice to have a little warm fuzzy to come home to everyday again. I know that Sarah’s house is already full of warm fuzzies, but none of them are mine, so it’s really not the same. Stephen is thrilled of course, because Keano will be living in his room, and as he put it “I finally get to have a pet of my own!” He claims that he understands he will have to clean the cage and feed the hamster and all that stuff, but we will see how long it takes until the novelty wears off and he decides he doesn’t feel like cleaning smelling bedding out of the cage, or gets sick of Keano running on his little wheel in the middle of the night, or decides that hamsters aren’t as cool as dogs or cats. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for me because I have the cutest hamster in the world. 🙂 This hamster is extra specially perfect because I know exactly where he came from, and since we got him young he will probably be with us longer than the average pet store hamster (unfortunately hamsters are a notoriously short-lived species).
Another nice thing is that I finally started to feel comfortable in the clinic, and Sarah told me that the staff are really pleased with my work. I am getting a bit more responsibility and get to do more things around the office. I still have a lot to learn, obviously, and need lots more practice on some of the techniques, but it was really nice to hear that positive feedback because I really wasn’t sure how they felt about me.