Monday, April 14, 2014


When I ran my animal rescue, I became quite close to my veterinary.  Jim was a young vet and  with all my animals, I am pretty sure even with his generous discounts and freebies, I helped  put his son through vet school and made my retirement a bit more precarious.

He put strays back together for me stitching up wounds and putting pins in broken legs. He supplied medicines to cure mange and kill worms, while spaying  and neutering the whole herd.   Sometimes it was just he and I working on an emergency case after hours. 

Now I am the type that will handle a crisis quite well up to a point but I do have limitations.   If I see you screaming in pain with a finger cut off, I will find the finger,  staunch the bleeding, comfort you and drive quickly but carefully to the ER.

My limitation shows itself as soon as you are on a gurney and the professionals take over. Then I really need to look for a soft spot to land for the world starts to spin and I am in crash mode. I am limited to only being able to care for another being's safety if I am the only option.  I learned this time and again with the dogs.  

If I found a dog on the side of the road alive but with part of its stomach hanging out, I could make it easily as far as Jim's exam room. Then I would search out a spot on the floor and get there quickly while it was still voluntary. Those times I usually carried on my end of the conversation lying prone on the floor as he tended my rescues. Rarely was I helpful. My work was done. 

Jim was a neat story teller and was quick to poke fun at himself.  He would tell stories to distract my case of the queasies as he patched up the pooches. These are just two of the stories he told me while I was holding the floor down.

Jim owned a miniature Dachshund he called Hot Dog.  Hot Dog went everywhere with him and since a lot of his practice involved large animals, Hot Dog spent many a day on the open range.  He was a pip of a little dog with no fear and had a sense of adventure.

Once after a long grueling day of testing cows for Brucellosis, Jim and Hot Dog returned home to sink into a soft recliner.  As he sprawled to ease his weary back, Hot Dog jumped on him, ran up his chest and got in Jim's face.

The dog reeked which Jim hadn't noticed on the ride home as he was pretty ripe himself.  Exhausted but knowing  he couldn't live  with the stink, Jim threw Hot Dog in the tub and gave him a bath.

As he was toweling him off, Jim realized the dog still smelled repulsive.  He then opened the dog's mouth and realized that Hot Dog must have eaten something really disgusting and probably really dead.

He took the dog into the bathroom again and proceeded to brush Hot Dog's teeth.  Finally, the pup was presentable.  

It was later that night as he  prepared to go to bed that he realized in his fatigue, he had brushed Hot Dog's teeth with his own tooth brush. It was fuzzy teeth for the vet that night.


The second story happened while he was examining a small terrier on the table. He held the squirmy small dog close to him as he inserted the thermometer into its rectum.  He proceeded to ask the owner questions about the dog's symptoms while waiting.

He reached down to remove the thermometer but it was gone. At first he looked on the table and floor but it was nowhere.  Now sometimes an animal will  contract their anus and actually suck the thermometers into the rectum. (You just tried that didn't you?)  

In horror, he figured that must have happened though the dog was so little he wondered how it could have completely disappeared.  Nonchalantly he continued to question the owner while squeezing the anus hoping to feel it. Nothing.

His gentle probing of the abdomen produced nothing but an irritated terrier. Jim stood tall, sucked in a deep breath and prepared to inform Tiny's owner that he might to have to take aggressive means on their precious pooch to retrieve the thermometer.

While bracing for the  owner's horror, he stuck his hand in his lab coat and felt something wonderful. Evidently the pup had expelled the instrument and it had fallen soundlessly into Jim's pocket.

The owners never learned of Tiny's near disaster but Jim did learn to never let go of a thermometer ever again. 

I got the giggles much later when he was taking the temperature of one of my dogs and I noticed that the thermometer had a long purple string attached to it. The guy knew how to learn from error. 
Pretty sure my episodes on the floor were the subject of stories told to others to make them feel better about their own queasiness. That is OK, I'm glad to be of use.

Do you have a limitation and have you learned to  work around it??


  1. I enjoyed the vet stories, esp. the vanishing thermometer. With the string, he kinda made it into the thermometer tampon. Ha I bet every vet who has been long into the game has extensive stories to tell as animals are unpredictable. You are a brave one to deal with the blood and guts of accidents and the like.

  2. Oh what cute stories... Love the toothbrush one!!!! ha ha .... I love listening to good storytellers. They are SO talented...Jim sounded like a neat person.

    What a wonderful career working with animals must be. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that they didn't enjoy it... Just being able to help an animal when needed is so rewarding.


  3. Oh, the toothbrush story!! Patti, you are a great story teller yourself.

  4. You have had some amazing adventures in your life, Patti, and I'm happy that you're sharing them with your reading public. More, more!

  5. I,like you can handle a difficult/bloody incident long enough to get the human/animal help and then the adenaline rush is too much for me as well. Sweet Man I and I did lots of mission trips/choir trips with youth back in the day. On one particularly strange trip we went to a remote area of Utah to build a fence around a native american church so the goats would not eat the wooden structure. While waiting in the shade (it was over 100 that day) some kids got to messing with coke bottles of water and unfortunately two hands met mid splash and dash). One little girl opened the palm of her hand to the bone. SM and I wrapped a t shirt around her had and jumped into the van to take her to town which happened to be 90 miles in either direction. I made it to the town SM selected and into the nursing home (only medical) and after they took the girl from me I passed out on the floor. That was my longest holding it together. She was air lifted out and I went back to the remaining 34 teenagers in the middle of nowhere. Whew.

  6. I'm not proud of the fact that I find it difficult to look at people who have been severely burned. They don't deserve to see people repulsed by their appearance so I do my best to treat them like everyone else. I wish I didn't have this reaction.

  7. Wonderful stories, Patti! You remind me of an experience I had a long time ago. My very first jobs had been in doctor's offices. My mom was a medical office manager, so I pretty much grew up around that stuff. In the late 70s I took an administrative job in an office that also wanted me to do learn to do some medical assisting. I thought that I could manage it, so I gave it a try. I mostly did the check-in stuff: temperature, blood pressure, weight. One day the doc asked me to assist on a medical procedure. He was draining fluid from an elderly patient's knee. I almost passed out in the examining room, and I felt like I was going to throw up. The doc looked at me and said, "You better go lay down in the next room, you look like you're going to pass out." I never assisted again.

  8. I can not handle the sight of blood, especially my own. I have yet to be severely tested on this matter(knocking on wood as I type this).

  9. hahahah, funny Vet stories! I don't think yours is a limitation at all. You've brought your best dish to share at the party. That's how I see it. :-)
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  10. Oh Patti - I'm laughing out loud. Thanks! Your second story reminded me of when our pediatrician took one of our kid's temps rectally. When he pulled the thermometer out, it was transformed into a fudgecycle.

  11. First of all I want to thank you sweet Patti for helping all of the animals that you have helped. Loved the stories. The toothbrush sounds like something I might do in a rush. Loved the purple string on the thermometer. Bet he never lost another one. :)

    I have never yet felt squeamish after helping an animal. But 3 teenagers had an accident in front of me one night. I stopped to help them until the police and EMT's arrived. I did fine until I got home then I fell apart. Shook for hours and had felt week in the knees. I smelled blood for days.

    Hugs for you and nose kisses for sweet Minnie

  12. Manzi,
    Now that is funny. Hadn't thought of it that way but you are right.
    Thanks but I am not brave. If ANY one else is around, it is their job. I only step in if there is absolutely no other choice.

    He was and is a dandy. His son is now in service with him. I was so lucky to have him in my corner.

    Thanks. I only repeat what I have seen or heard. Jim's stories are almost word for word.

    It is such a pleasure for me to go over some of the fun times in my life. Thanks for reading.

    Linda W.
    Lady, you and I are cut from the same cloth. I know exactly how you felt.

    I suffer from pretty much the same thing. I feel tears come to my eyes and that is not great for them either.

    I can totally relate. It is one thing to rescue, it is another to assist. I lasted 3 days as a dental assistant for similar reasons.

    I sure hope that knocking on wood works for you. It is not a fun thing to be involved in.

    Su-siee Mac,
    Thank you so much for stopping by TNS and am so glad you enjoyed. I love that expression and may borrow it.

    Ok, now we are even for I am laughing out loud at that image. Thanks.

    Looks like you, Linda and I belong to the same club. We do pitch in as long as is necessary, then let it go.
    Thank you, the 15 years I did that were a blessing.

  13. I can see you sprawled out on the are too funny, girl!! I think your vet was a smart man to tie the thermometer so it wouldn't get sucked up...I'd surely not want to have to go in after one...LOL!! You are a kind soul to have helped so many animals.

  14. This was a fun post to read.
    I haven't dealt with many real emergencies, thankfully, and like you, if I am the one who must act, I can, but I have been know to faint over the sight of my own blood.

  15. Ha! Love my vet and our stories that will go to our graves… Our horse thermometer (giant one, that!) always had a string tied to it that was then tied to something on the horse. The new digital thermometers for smaller pets have a wide end that helps keep it from, er, disappearing…

    Great post, Patti.

  16. I am so proud to know you, my dear animal rescuer who tells the best stories. I wish there were many more of you in each town and village! Loved the stories of your vet, and the wonderful comments people left you. I can manage in a pinch and have much the same reactions as you afterwards, if maybe not quite so extreme. :-)

  17. Good morning Patty
    I have really missed you. What a great post and so glad I did not miss it.
    Like you I am usually in full drive when need be but later not do good. I fear though that the older I get I may not be the same in an emergency and i hope I don't have to put it to the test.
    I have been a lazy blogger for a whe now wish I could change that.
    Hope your having a wonderful week

  18. Loved these stories! I never knew about the thermometer being able to get sucked up where it doesn't belong! Smart man to tie a string to it. And kudos to you for saving and helping so many animals!!

  19. Terri,
    Retrieval would be a challenge wouldn't it:)) I really became familiar with his ceiling tiles.
    Thank you. It was something I couldn't not do.

    Linda R.
    Me too about my own blood if there is someone around to take care of me. Other wise, I might make it to the ER.

    Ha,ha, horses are notorious for that.
    I noticed that the last time I took Mighty in. Smart move on the manufacturer's part. Probably vet requested.

    Thank you. It was a work of love. Every town has them and they all need help. They are almost always no kill facilities.

    So good to hear from you again. Hope you get back in the groove. You are too good a blogger to quit.

    Thanks. It is one of those jobs that someone has to do. Jim had a bunch of stories. I hope he writes a book.

  20. You do tell the best stories. Your vet sounds like a great guy. You are really a special person in the way you have rescued so many dogs. That being said, I think my limitations would be in that very area. I could never do what you have done starting with rescuing dogs, cats, or other animals. Maybe it because I was not raised around animals. I certainly could not pick up a bloody injured animal, unless it was my own. Then, I would do whatever it took to get the poor thing help. I love my dogs, but I only have one at a time. I also have great help with my dogs from my husband. He would do whatever it took to save one of our dogs too if there was a need.

  21. I worked for a vet for several years, but already knew about the ring thermometer thing, from being in the cattle business. The vets I worked for had some terrific stories. Have you read any Baxter Black? Blood & guts don't bother me, I go into this kind of extremely calm but let's gett'r fixed mode.

  22. I am feeling a very good book here somewhere. Tales of Rescue Tails

  23. Great stories, Patti. I think I'm in the same category. Help when needed and then get out of the way for the professionals...;)

  24. Sally,
    Thanks. Yes my Jim was a special guy but so is your Jim. You really found a wonderful fellow there.

    Ha,ha now why am I not the least bit surprised.
    Haven't read any Baxter Black. I will check it out. Thanks.

    Grannie Annie,
    I told him years ago he should write a book. Look what it did for James Herriot.

    Hey, why not. It is above our pay grade anyway:))

  25. Oh Patti, I loved those stories, reminded me of James Herriott, LOL I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day and a Happy Easter. Hugs, Chris

  26. You are such a great story teller! I loved this and so wish I could have had a dog/cat rescue. I think that is the only limitation in my life that I regret. I really wish I could have had that up here. I have to be satisfied with all the dogs and cats we rescued and kept as our pets.

  27. Those two stories will be hard to forget, the toothbrush and the disappearing thermometer. Gross and funny. Thanks for sharing them.

  28. Fun - I went to the doc a few weeks back and the nurse passed something across my forehead and that was all there was to it. I am so glad I am not a dog.

  29. Reminded me of James Herriott too. I read those books over and over.

    I wish I were a little less cool. I did CPR in January to save my husband's life and I still haven't cried. Maybe I could just throw up or pass out and be done with it.

  30. Chris,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and following. I will check out your blog also. Yep, he reminded me of James Herriott also with his willingness to tell unglamorous stories on himself.

    Thank you. It was my dream since I was a child and my mother read me Black Beauty which made me cry. I swore then as a 6 year old to someday have a place where animals no longer had to suffer.

    Ha,ha sometimes gross can be funny. The way Jim told it, it was.

    They still don't have those for animals. Must be all that fur. Aren't we lucky?

    Linda Myers,
    I too loved Herriott, have all his books and can reread anytime. I loved that man. He set the bar high.
    Stay the way you are. It was wonderful how you jumped to your hubbies rescue. I'd rather cool you to flaky me any day in an emergency.