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Ducks and Chickens, oh my!

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Growing up in a small town in England, we were lucky to have our own ducks and chickens.  We used to keep them at the bottom of the garden.  It was very common for people in our town to have their own ducks and chickens in their backyards.  We had a pond for the ducks, and a shed where we locked them all up for the night.  The chickens used to peck around all day, and the ducks would usually be sunning themselves after a dip in the pond.  They all lived together in harmony, a few feathers were ruffled over food occasionally, but that was all.

The chickens and ducks all had names and had their own personality.   The chickens were the regular brown laying hens and they would lay every morning.  My sister and I would rush down every morning to grab the eggs.  The ducks were Muscovy ducks. They didn’t quack like a regular duck, but they did waddle like a regular duck. They would hiss like a snake and bob their heads back and forth.  The ducks were great sitters and would sit forever if you didn’t remove the eggs.  We had a duck who sat on chicken eggs, and when the eggs hatched they followed her around like she was their mother.

They were pets, and we loved them.  They became very tame and we could pick them up and cuddle them.  We had one duck we named Tinkerbell and we were very fond of her.  She was mainly white and had such a sweet way about her.  I remember when she got old and became ill, we brought her into our house and nursed her till she passed.   She would get a warm mash every day, and we had soft blankets for her to rest her tired body.

I have very fond memories of our house and life in Ampthill.  My mum was a single mum raising two wild teenage girls.  The animals grounded us.  We not only had ducks and chickens, we had dogs and ponies too.  We were members of our local pony club and went to shows or events most weekends.

All our dogs came from the local SPCA, mutts, the Heinz 57’s, all great dogs.  We had one dog called Whisp, who came to us as a cruelty case. She had been left locked up in a shed; she was a walking skeleton, starving for not only food, but also for love.

Whisp was an amazing dog.  We fed her up, and she got lots of love. The one thing we could not train out of her was her gluttony.  She would jump on counter tops to steal food.  She once opened our fridge and ate the cooked Christmas turkey but left the stuffing mind you!

I remember all my friends would be going into town and buying all the newest fashions, I once asked my mum why we couldn’t go out and buy all the newest fads.  She turned and asked me if my friends had their own pony, or had all the animals we had.  I then realized that we were truly blessed and that I wouldn’t swap our animals for any new fashion item.

All hands and paws on deck!

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All hands and paws on deck!

It’s all about team work when working in a busy animal hospital.  Yes we all have our positions, but that doesn’t mean we don’t help when needed.   It can be the technicians answering calls, invoicing clients out, to us all trying to hold a fractious cat for a nail trim.

I myself love helping in the back as we call it, the treatment room, where all the action happens.  Animals are my passion, so I feel blessed to be able to work with them every day.  When I am asked to help hold, or hold off a vein while blood is taken, I do so with gusto.

My favorite is helping prep for surgery, from holding off a vein for a catheter to be placed, to holding their mouths open so the technician can incubate. I love watching the hustle and bustle of the team at work.  The flow and coordination is a beautiful thing to see.

I also love to make their beds ready for when surgery is done. I make them like I would a real bed, a soft thick blanket for them to lay on. I put a sheet, a blanket and another soft blanket to cover them. I also fold a towel to make a little pillow.  I roll back the top covers so they can be placed in their little spot and then covered up, all snug as a bug in a rug.

I feel privileged to work in a caring environment.  An environment, where I feel I make a difference every day.  To see a sick patient come in, and to see our team at work, their compassion, empathy and passion is a true gem to behold.  To see that patient go home, feeling so much better, and this is all in a day’s work.  Working with a great team is key, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces fit, and we at Brock Street Animal Hospital fit very well.

Saying goodbye!

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Saying goodbye!

Saying goodbye is never easy, and I and my colleagues have all experienced this emotional ride.  We know the pain and how hard it is to say goodbye to our best friends, our family member we call our pets.

My heart always breaks when we have a euthanasia, as I know the pain the family will feel and go through.  The pet is ready to leave, whether it’s an ongoing illness, or an old frail body that cannot get around without feeling pain.  We are the emotional ones, the ones that will feel the loss for months and even years to come.

I know it’s been over a year since I lost one of my babies, yes I say babies, as that’s how I feel about my dogs.  Miss Twinny was my shadow, my Velcro dog, my sweet precious baby.  She had come into my life 6 years previously, a rescue from a terrible situation.  She and her partner Fluff had been rescued from a shelter in South Korea. They came to me not knowing how to live in a home, not knowing how to do stairs, or use the backyard.  It was a battle, but so worth it, they had come such a long way to find love, and they found it at my house.

Miss Twinny used to gaze at me from across the room, I would often look up to her soft round eyes gazing at me.  She would follow me everywhere, and I used to joke she would follow me to the end of the earth to just be near me.

Miss Twinny got very ill, very quickly and with the help of bloodwork, we were able to determine that she needed an ultrasound, and then a visit to a specialist.  Miss Twinny had an adrenal mass, and there was a chance if she had surgery that they could remove the mass.  She was booked for her surgery on a Friday morning, I said my goodbyes as I looked at her frightened little face in the hospital in Toronto. She was worried, as she was unsure of her surroundings.  I trusted the staff and Doctors there and knew she was in good hands.

Miss Twinny unfortunately went into respiratory distress the morning of her surgery, I got the call and was able to make it in time for her to crawl into my arms. I was told there was nothing that could be done and that I should say my goodbyes.  That goodbye was so hard, but she did manage to crawl into my arms and look at me for the very last time with her soft round eyes as I said my goodbye.

The grey muzzles!

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The grey muzzles!

I for one love the oldies, the grey muzzled sweeties that frequent our veterinary hospital.

As we get older, and we all do, we take the steps to help maintain our health for as long as possible. Whether that is through regular fitness activities, and a proper diet that keeps us healthy and fit. However, people are not the only ones who have to make certain changes and adjustments as they grow older. Our pets too require the types of needs and attention that many humans go through, such as maintaining a healthy diet, following a regular exercise routine and keeping up with annual veterinary exams.

In fact, due to improvements made in pet nutrition and supplements, along with the development of many medications which fight against common pet diseases, the life expectancy of household pets has doubled in the past fifty years.  Understanding the common symptoms and signs that come with the pet aging process cannot only help you to take steps towards improving your pet’s quality of life,  it can also prepare you for what is ahead in the senior years.

Yearly exams are so important, especially as our sweet seniors age.  This is when any concerns or health issues can be caught early.  We at Brock Street Animal Hospital love helping our Oldies but Goldies as we call them.

I know myself, that jumping out of bed isn’t as easy as it was 10 years ago, sometimes I have to roll…hey, that’s another story to tell.

Oh, and November is Adopt a Senior month, so if you’re thinking of adding a new member, consider a sweet grey muzzle.


It’s all about the smile !

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I decided last Friday to smile all day, which included smiling when I was on the phone and greeting clients and patients coming in.

Now, to be honest being Friday was an incentive to smile more, but I actually felt I made a difference that day.  As a receptionist in a busy Veterinary Hospital   we are the first to interact with our clients.   The one’s that set the mood, the feel of our hospital.  I am always polite and cheerful, but last Friday I was rocking it.  I felt not only good about myself, but good about everyone around me, it’s contagious.

I had a spring in my step, if I could have I would have danced to the music playing on the radio, and maybe I will tomorrow.  I also thought of the sad people, the angry people and felt sorry for them, I thought to myself, I hope they can smile soon and feel better.

I had also spent a good part of my day researching blogging, and I know that added more excitement to my day.  I am so looking forward to getting this set up, and myself and Hayley for sure will be writing our hearts out.

Our hospital can be an emotional roller coaster at times, and I am going to make an extra effort to stay upbeat and smile.  I know it will help me, and I hope it will help my colleagues and our clients.  Being sincere is important, and I can truly say that I am.  When I smile at you or laugh with you, I mean it!

This world is sad enough, let’s all make it better by smiling, it will change how you look at things.

I am smiling now, as I just wrote my first blog, and I do believe I rocked it!