OK, now that I’ve spent two very full days in NYC helping K-9 Down teach soldiers, cops, firefighters and paramedics how to put catheters in veins, bandage wounds and tube their bloating dogs …I’m tired…really tired.

I’ll be back at work in two hours after flying into Miami an hour ago and I’m wondering if I can somehow squeeze a nap in…after I finish this post, of course.

The course was fantastic, of course. But the program’s content was only the tip of the iceberg. The rest? Re-fueling my interest (and getting some new skills) in veterinary critical care, listening in on clinical conversations with veterinary specialists outside my normal realm, chatting with dog handlers and other first-responder personnel about how they care for their dogs…

So you know, spending a weekend with high-drive military guys is more than just visually stimulating. Some of these attendees are well beyond the average working dog handler in terms of their medical skills and knowledge.

Cross a Navy Seal with an Army medic then add a dog to the mix. You get the picture. Needless to say, the vets involved in teaching the course were learning a thing or two about applying critical care principles out in the field.

For example: Got no light? Grab a glow-stick (often used by military personnel for a variety of random after-dark functions). Need to place an IV catheter in this lightless environment? Break open the glow-stick and pour it onto the skin. It apparently helps highlight all the veins for your sticking pleasure. I can’t wait to try it out!

While that gem was the most dramatically illuminating example, I also learned how to place intra-osseous catheters (indwelling catheters placed inside the bones for pediatric and emergency procedures), I honed my bandaging skills (plenty of tips on how to keep them from slipping), my chest tube placement skills got a big boost and I was taught a new way to pass a gastric tube in a bloating dog.

I’m sure I can come up with a bunch more fun gee-whiz  moments courtesy of K-9 Down, but I’m slowly slipping into that post-lunch, pre-work  slumber. But I’ll make up for it—I promise to deliver more news on this front within the next few days.