Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Managing the herd...

I didn't sleep well last night.  The evening started off promising enough...  Anna went to sleep with little fuss around 8 pm.  Amanda and I got in a few games of a card game called Dominion.  I got to catch up on a little reading, and as I started to drift off, my cat Pinkie decided it was time to lay down the law by tormenting a dog that we are pet-sitting for a few days.  Not wanting to have to focus on a wound care protocol for either myself or the dog, I first had to convince Pinkie to chill out.  As I would reach to pull her out from under the dresser, the dog would approach with ignorant curiosity, and my wife then had to intervene.  Eventually separating the two, I figured Pinkie would be fine in the office for the night - perhaps she could enjoy the warmth of the network router.  Ten minutes later she began a mournful cry adjacent to our daughters room, so that plan was scratched.  Out came the baby gate, thinking that if we allow both dogs to sleep at the foot of our bed, the cats will see that we're fine and not have to follow thru on their assassination plans.  Since I didn't shut the hall closet door properly when I grabbed the gate, strange noises started up about five minutes later.  Miranda was free climbing thru the wrapping paper in search of some treats that we hide up high.  As Amanda went to fix that issue, I heard the thumping of Pinkie hurdling over the gate to hide up in our box springs beyond our reach.  At that point, everything becomes a blur as I drift in and out of consciousness keeping one ear open for the sounds of bloodshed.

Here are the nuts and bolts of our four-legged friends from last night...

Pinkie - "my cat".  The regulator.  If something alarming is going down, she wants to kill it.  The regurgitator.  Sometimes pees while standing up.

Miranda - "Amanda's cat".  Overheard me campaign against her adoption, and never forgave.  An extremely sensitive pregnancy test.  Eats ribbon.  Vomits ribbon.  Occasionally defecates ribbon.  Scavenges.  Escapes.

Lucy - our resident canine.  Multiple uncommon health disorders.  Herds cattle amazingly well.  Storm anxiety.  Loves other dogs, unless she is on a leash. 

Presley - the guest.  Fleas love her.  Digs.  Cannot see tomato plants.  Doesn't know that no means no, especially regarding licking people.  Always smells just a little funky.

Now the above may come across as negative, but they are realities, and we love them regardless.  Thank goodness, because if our warts were deterrents, I might be the loneliest of them all.  We adapt to the issues and don't demand change, but sometimes we do end up losing sleep.  This brings me to the point I have been working towards...

No one is perfect, and the same applies to the animals in our lives.  When we bring one of them into the fold, they certainly introduce a great deal of happiness, but at the same time we have to have realistic expectations.  Sometimes I'll be consulting with a client on a problem only to realize that they are wanting something that their particular cat just will not stand for.  In other instances, the root of an issue involves having one too many cats in a limited space or perhaps a collection of mismatched personalities.  As related above, it can be quite difficult to manage the herd...patience and understanding are key.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

About the move...

To be clear, the Cat Veterinary Clinic has not owned the property on West Alabama for a long time - rather, the two bungalows we operated out of were part of a lease agreement.  A few years back, we were informed that construction on a new development would start on West Alabama during 2013, and we started the difficult process of relocation. 

If I have any worries about the clinic, it would be the physical distance that we have had to move.  Beyond that point, I can think of no other aspect of our facility that does not greatly exceed our prior location.  When sitting down to design our new location, we approached the project with the perspective that if we had to make a change, it would be a change for the better.  Trading up, as they say.  

At our new location, we no longer have to ask clients to leave the exam room so that we can shoot x-rays in the adjacent closet.  Rather, we have a proper lead-lined room for advanced imaging tests.  We no longer have to examine a cat in one building, then pack them up in their carrier and transfer them to the other building for the next procedure.  We now have drop down oxygen to provide to cats in respiratory distress whether they are in an exam room, the x-ray room, or in a cage.   Cats needing critical care have their own quiet room away from the hustle of routine procedures.  Our surgical patients now recover in a space where a greater number of technicians can look over them.  We now have an isolation facility that is far away all other cats, has its own exhaust system, and provides sufficient workspace.  The list goes on and on... 

I have greatly enjoyed the charm of our previous facility, but utilizing a retrofitted space presented a number of limitations.  At our new facility on White Oak, we have created a space that provides an extremely high level of veterinary care for our patients.  I have never been more proud to work at the Cat Veterinary Clinic. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fatherhood - two years in...

Before our wedding, everyone told me of how things were going to change and how I needed to be prepared for this, that, and the other.  Given the obstacles I've moved past, I would smile and nod, thinking that the advice applied to everyone else but me.  Of course, they were right...marriage is a great thing, but one has to put a lot of effort into it to make sure all is well.  For me, the daily mantra has changed to "happy wife, happy life." 

I'm consistantly amazed at how one's perspective adjusts once you're in a new situation.  Just as marriage has puts certain things in a new light, fatherhood has as well.  Amanda and I are two years into this parenting adventure, and I cannot help but see my patient's issues in a new light.  On subjects such as weight management and oral home care, it's hard to urge folks along certain paths when the prospects of doing so with all I have going on seem so daunting.  If I had to radically re-think how I fed our animals at home tonight, I might just laugh myself silly.

I've been thinking quite a bit about a recent article I read.  The message was that humans have always looked at the countless stars in the night sky and not worried about the vast complexity before them.  If we can handle that, then why shouldn't we be prepared to navigate thru what seems like an increasingly complicated life.  Ultimately, we all have the capability to take on these challenges, but I think we have to cut ourselves some slack when there is only so much time in the day.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

American Association of Feline Practitioners

Two weekends ago, Amanda and I headed up to Seattle for a meeting through the American Association of Feline Practitioners that focused on on surgery and dermatology.  Going to these continuing education conferences can be tedious if a speaker isn't engaging or focuses on a subject that has minimal relevance on your daily caseload.  Of all the sessions I've attended since getting out of school, this one was the best that I've ever attended. 

My favorite lectures were run by a surgeon out of Colorado State University.  This was now the third time that I had spent a day listening to Dr. Howard Seim as he discussed proper technique during soft tissue surgery.  Once I got back to Houston, I had one surgery that I performed that week where I made three significant modifications to what I would have usually done.  Dr. Christensen later commented that the patient had the smoothest recovery she'd seen after that extensive of a procedure.  Our knowledge base and materials continue to advance, and as is the trend, we are updating some of our instrumentation and suture choices to deliver better and more consistent outcomes. 

On the day dedicated to dermatology, I was pleased to find that both of the speakers (Dr. Edmund Rosser of Michigan State University and Dr. Stephen White of UC Davis) made the time fly by.  They didn't reveal anything that I hadn't heard before, but I appreciate the opportunity to refresh my memory banks on a subject that can be drawn out over the course of months.  What I mean is, while some skin disease cases can be solved on the same day, others can prove quite difficult as certain tests have a long turn around time and very different issues can mimic one another.  2012 has also been a horrible year for fleas in Houston, and it was nice to get an update on the different tools available and the reality of their effectiveness.