It’s Sunday morning and I’m all alone at the hospital. I’ve got phone calls to make, two stable liver kitties to medicate and fine-tune, my colleague’s Presa canario to babysit while he’s out of town (all 160 pounds of him) and then I’ve got these kittens…all these smelly kittens…

It looks like I’ll be getting my hands dirty again today.

My two colleagues (the ones who own the hospital) they like to come in on alternating Sunday mornings to clean the cages and take care of cases. I’m usually there, too, dealing with my own hospitalized cases (if I haven’t shipped them to the e-clinic for the weekend) and usually pitching in on the cleaning (because I feel guilty watching these two retirement-aged guys stooping to clean out crap from the nether-corners of cages).

So you know, most hospitals have kennel staff to do the Sunday clean-ups. We don’t. Why do they insist on doing this on Sundays? I’m not sure. I used to think they were just cheap. After all, why pay someone for something that’s pretty easy to do on your own? But now that we’re a three-person place, the work is considerably more time-consuming. And yet they still do it.

Today they’re both out of town and I’m cleaning up for the three of us. It’s no fun. It’s not that I’m funny about getting down into the muck of what I do—I’m not. In fact, I’m usually the one to clean the rooms between appointments while the techs sort out the bloodwork and read the fecals and file the X-rays, etc.

And why not? I can pick up s--- and mop the floors with the best of them. If it makes things run smoother in this small place I’ll do it. I’ve been doing it here since I was ten years old so it’s not as if I’m averse to the drill.

But on a Sunday? The last thing I want to do on a Sunday morning is bathe a batch of malodorous kittens after they’ve enjoyed a foul romp through their own fecal material. Plus, I’ve got the Presa’s copious drool all over my bare legs, which is now drying to a sticky sheen I’ll probably end up sporting at Starbuck’s after this.

And my liver kitties? They’re quietly recovering. Crouched behind litterboxes with fluid tubing snaked into the mass of towels they’re hiding under, all I see is their little Cheshire eyes staring out at me. At least they’ve got the sense to stay clean.

It’s not exactly brunch at the Ritz this Sunday morning, but it’s better than hiding under blankets being useful to no one. And that’s probably why my two colleagues engage in this Sisyphean task, week after week. Because when it’s all done and the Starbucks is steaming in the car’s cup-holder, I actually feel pretty good.

But right now…blech…the pasty kittens are calling…