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Written by leading veterinarians to provide you with the information you need to care for your pets.

The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.

E is for Empty

I’ve lamented to you before, dear readers, about the condition of my vet truck. One of its eccentricities is a gas gauge that does not work. To gauge my fuel level, I go by odometer alone: I have two tanks and I know I can get about 200 miles from both tanks before I need to fill up. I’m not sure how much over 200 I can go. I’ve pushed it once — and lost.

But for every "Got stuck on the highway with my dad on a Saturday afternoon running to an emergency" story, there’s a silver lining. Here is mine.

It was a Saturday. My parents were in town. I was on-call. Never a good situation to begin with, as I would always prefer to hang out with my favorite people without the stress of the phone ringing, but some days you’re the bug (or on-call vet) and other days you’re the windshield (the free-as-a-bird not on-call vet). So it goes.

Anyway, that particular Saturday was crazy as I was getting emergency call after emergency call and ended up out all day. However, my dad volunteered to go with me (I have found that parents get a kick out of riding with their children who are vets). First we started with a coughing cow, then a goat not eating, then a horse with laminitis. As we were then heading up north to yet another call, in the back of my mind I knew something was amiss. No, we hadn’t had lunch yet, and yes, I had a bunch of clients to call back and some invoices to fill out. But yet there was something else …

And then on a downhill on a fairly busy local two-lane highway, the truck conked out and suddenly I remembered: In my rush to get from call to call, I pushed my gas tank beyond its limit of 200 miles and we were out of gas.

Marching down the shoulder of the highway in my coveralls with Dad in tow, I took out my GPS and found a gas station about two miles down the road. Not wanting to think if they were open, or sold gas tanks, or the fact that we then had to walk back to the truck, I was quickly turning sour at the whole world.

When we were no more than 100 feet down the road from the abandoned, lifeless truck, a horn beeped behind us. Then it beeped again. As I was about to give this person the one-finger salute, the car pulled up along side of us and a woman asked me politely, "Are you a vet?"

After I answered her question in the affirmative, she said, "Well, get in! We love to help vets!"

Incredulous, I looked at Dad and then down at my manure-covered boots and coveralls. The truth was I really and truly wanted nothing more than to hop into this stranger’s car at that very moment. And so we got in.

Thankfully the gas station down the road had gas tanks. So we filled up and were driven back to the abandoned truck. As Dad was filling the tank for me the woman asked if I practiced on large animals, because she had a goat. I said, "Why yes, I know a little something about goats," and the next thing you know, I’ve just made an appointment for vaccines and a hoof trim at this lady’s farm. How’s that for networking!?

I don’t really know the moral to this story. In fact, it doesn’t seem to have one and maybe even sends the wrong message that goes something like: If you are rushed and try to push things too far, you get rewarded with new business opportunities. Sort of sounds like a misleading and malevolent fortune cookie, doesn’t it?

Let’s just say I haven’t been tempted to repeat the experiment to see if I get the same results twice.

Dr. Anna O’Brien

Image: zphoto / via Shutterstock

Comments  7

Leave Comment
  • Daily Vet Blog
    06/28/2012 01:51pm

    Hey there, really like the subjects in the Daily Vet, very helpful.

    The physical layout of the blog on the internet appears a single column and that makes it really really long.
    It must be a setting on my machine, but no clue what that might be, you?



  • 06/29/2012 02:10pm

    Which browser are you using to view the Internet? Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari?

  • 06/29/2012 04:38pm

    I am using Internet Explorer.

  • Re:
    06/29/2012 05:14pm

    This is what I would try. I found a site that describes how to reset some of the options in IE. I would not reset the whole thing, since that would remove all of my preferences, like passwords, history, security, but would try option 2.

    Scroll down toward the bottom of the page and read the instructions for option 2, which is "Reset Advanced Settings." This way you are not losing essential information, you are just resetting all of the browser settings. However, do read the instructions from the top of the page, too, so that you know what not to do.

    How To Reset Internet Explorer 9 To Its Default Settings

    I am guessing that this will work whether you are using 9 or another version of IE.

    I know that in the (not too distant) past I have fooled around with settings on my computer (and camera and phone, etc.) and made things all wonky and had to reset to original settings.

    Let me know if it worked for you.

  • Always ...
    06/28/2012 08:22pm

    ... as in I always love your blog posts, Dr. O'Brien! They always either make me smile, or make me say, "Wow! That was fascinating!"

    So glad you're here on PetMD!!

  • Ridealongs
    06/28/2012 11:38pm

    "I have found that parents get a kick out of riding with their children who are vets."

    I think riding along (or hanging out at the clinic) with a vet would be a wonderful treat and a great way to spend a day.

    On one Saturday appointment, I was greeted by the vet, the tech and two charming pre-teen girls. "A Day At The Vet Clinic" had been an auction item at a school fundraiser. The girls must have been counseled to just watch and not interact with the clients, because my Winston just LOVED children and badly wanted them to pet him. It took some convincing, but Winston finally got his hugs from the girls and everyone was happy.

    This is great a suggestion to those readers who might be able to offer an auction item like this for a fundraiser. If you're nervous about youngsters, I'll bet there are adults who would find this fun, too.

  • Silver Linings
    07/01/2012 03:27am

    Loved the story! There's always a silver lining. I'm waiting for mine as I lost my job two weeks ago. How I wish I could dedicate 100% of my time to new nonprofit www.pawsitivelyhumane.org But I'm not sitting around waiting. I'm on this computer 10+hours networking, sending resumes... If anyone knows of a job where I could write, blog, do SEO/Social media for them even part-time or freelance please let me know. And I love nonprofits for animals!

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