All in a days work

You never know what a spay/neuter clinic day will bring. It is always busy, always gratifying, and sometimes surprising. Which is what it was at our most recent clinic – surprising. Let me set the backdrop for you – we work with an amazing veterinarian, Dr. Sara White, to offer low-cost spay/neuter clinics in our county twice a month. Dr. White runs her own non-profit, Spay ASAP, and her mission is to end pet overpopulation in the state of Vermont. Not only is she an incredibly skilled surgeon, she is a cat whisperer and a true humanitarian.

Which is why we were so grateful it was her hand wielding the surgical instruments last week – skill and compassion were exactly what we needed. It had been a challenging clinic already – six very large dogs were up first for surgery, which meant the team started on the cats in the early afternoon – much later than usual. We had also had to reschedule this clinic thanks to (non-event) Storm Juno, which meant Dr. White did not have her trusty sidekick with her, veterinary technician, Jen.

I love to stick my head in the conference room on spay/neuter day, and not just because my sweetie volunteers to help vaccinate, clean ears, trim nails and help animals come out from under the anesthesia. But also because it is fun to watch this well-oiled machine perform one of the most important services we offer – low cost spay neuter. On a busy day, we will spay and neuter over 40 animals.

I knew something was off when I checked in on the clinic. Typically, every one of the team, staff and volunteers, is busy, moving, occupied, sometimes barely keeping up with the flow of animals coming from the surgery table. But the only one engrossed in a task was Dr. White.

“What’s up?” I asked.

I’m going to spare you too much detail here, but Keri, one of our veterinary technicians and our most senior staff person (13 years at WCHS!) explained that the cat on the surgery table, Zoey, had experienced a rare problem, a rupture of the uterus. It appeared that this had happened any-where from three days to a week before.

Suffice it to say, it was a mess in there and there was, of course, widespread infection, and this kitty was lucky to be alive… and lucky to have come into our clinic… and lucky to have Dr. White be her surgeon. Even if Zoey had ended up at the world’s best veterinary clinic, this would have been a very expensive surgery, and the decision to euthanize Zoey rather than spend thousands on her might very well have been the outcome. Not every pet owner can spend that kind of money to save their pet in this kind of unexpected emergency situation.

But Dr. White just quietly went to work repairing the damage, while the team watched and waited. It set the clinic back a good hour while Dr. White took care of Zoey, but everyone was invested in a successful outcome and willing to stay late to get the job done and get to the other animals waiting for surgery. Volunteers and staff who typically are cleaning up at 3 p.m. were still working at 5. But there was no complaining, just a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in a job well done, in another life saved.

Just another reason to love my job and the wonderful people I get to work with.

Category: Annie's Blog