How Veterinarians Manage to Take in the Neediest Creatures in the World
There’s something about veterinarians that I think makes us eminently lovable. For one thing, we have a knack of getting ourselves into trouble when it comes to our taking on the nastiest, neediest, sickest creatures we can find. I don’t know how we do it, but it seems we’re irresistibly drawn to the animals around us that are least likely to appeal to the average pet owner.
Of course, I know it’s not just us. I’ve met plenty of lovable crazies who always manage to find the dog wandering lost on the street, the kitten caught in the sewage drain, and the birds belly up under trees (indeed, many of these “crazies” are my clients). But in the case of veterinarians, it’s a little different: the train wrecks come to us.
Case in point: The new little darling someone brought in last week. Soaking wet, covered in mange, fleas and intestinal parasites aplenty, an angular limb deformity and eyes that point in opposite directions. Yes, this is what you get when you try to breed a pug to a beagle and things go very, very wrong:
So what was I supposed to to? Sure, most anyone can take him in and treat him kindly, but who else is going to be able to find a great surgeon to fix his legs (I happen to date one) and pay for all the expensive medications he needs to treat his ridiculous skin condition (which is now resolving nicely, thank you). That’s why Slumdog (yep, that’s what I named him) is now living with me.
So you know, veterinary school is where all this mania starts. Though most of us arrive fresh out of college (where pets were verbotten) with no pets to our name whatsoever, the next four years will see a slew of hard luck cases who’ll be making us silent offers we can’t refuse.
Our small apartments fill up with three-legged cats, congenital heart disease patients we couldn’t see euthanized (and finally convinced one of our surgery professors to fix), premature baby opossums who need special feedings, paralyzed dogs outfitted with K-9 Karts, etc...
It’s almost as if someone in the school administration were running a student contest on the most pitiful animal possible. Too bad there isn’t one...I think my “Slumdog” would make a nice entry, don’t you think?
Dr. Patty Khuly