My veterinary practice has been serving the neighbourhood of South Windsor for the last sixteen years. This means I have seen a lot of dogs and cats come through my doors. It also means I have been privileged to be a part of the entire lives of many of these animals. As veterinarians, we collect memories of the patients we see over the years. Some of those memories are of unique cases where we feel we performed our jobs brilliantly; some of the memories are of cases where we wish we had done something differently in hindsight. But most of all, our memories are of the unique personalities of our patients, and the owners who bring them in. There are hundreds of names I could put on this list but I thought I would list just a few of the patients who have a spot in my memory photo album.
Mac Duff. A Tabby cat who hated me from the moment he saw me but reserved this anger for my office and was otherwise the nicest cat in the world!
Miss Tee. The Cocker Spaniel with such terrible skin problems who still managed to wag her stumpy tail at me despite incredible discomfort.
Jazz. A Shih Tzu who managed to snort up a large piece of a branch into his nose. We used a special miniature camera to retrieve the offending plant material.
Ellie. A three pound Toy Poodle, one of my smallest canine patients, who put up with me squeezing her anal sacs for years and did not seem to harbor any ill feeling towards me.
Giselle. A dachshund with her abdominal blood vessels in the wrong place! I remember scratching my head when I saw them. She eventually had her problems rectified and lived a long happy life.
Marshmallow. A rabbit I trimmed the teeth on every month for years and years. He outlived all our predictions by five years.
Shredder. This cat managed to survive having worms burrow under his skin, urinary stones and severe liver disease. Even though he has been seeing me for fifteen years now, he still manages to roll onto his back for a belly rub every time he comes to see me.
Toby. Toby was a Basenji with a very unique genetic abnormality. He taught me a lot about some areas of medicine which I knew little about before treating Toby.
Athena. My technician’s dog that we resuscitated after she went into cardiac arrest (Athena, not the technician). She was clinically deceased for almost 15 minutes. We had to support her for a couple of days while we waited to see if she had suffered brain damage. Many specialists were concerned that she could not survive without major health implications. Fortunately she recovered fully after two days without any residual side effects!
Otis. A huge Akita who decided to twist his stomach around at the end of the day. Myself and his owners went to Walker Road Animal Hospital late in the evening to perform emergency surgery on Otis. He went on to live a great life.
Molly. Molly is a living testimony to the survival abilities of animals. At fourteen, Molly has exceeded her expected survival period by approximately seven years. Molly was diagnosed with spinal cord cancer in 2007 and given months to live. Obviously, nobody told Molly that.
Casey. Casey was a great Himalayan cat who decided to stop eating one day. Unfortunately this caused his liver to shut down. His owners fed Casey through a stomach tube for many weeks while he recovered. Thanks to the hard work of his owners, Casey lived, and ate on his own, for many years after this episode.
Taffy. This dog was hoisted onto a couple who had never owned a pet by their veterinarian son-in-law (guilty). Taffy was previously owned and needed a new home. She managed to turn that couple into dog lovers and excellent pet nurses. That same couple has recently had another pet- in- need put into their hands by this veterinarian. I am sure they will do an equally good job with this one.
There are so many other patients who have touched my life as well as their owner’s lives that I feel bad stopping my list at this point, but these are just a few of the thousands of patients and their owners who have made an impact not only in my career as a veterinarian but in my life. These animals make my job fun and are the reason I became a veterinarian in the first place.
Dr. Chris Chamandy