We knew it would happen sooner or later, we had to take a couple of the dogs to the vet. Tracy, our 15 year old poodle, has a strange growth on one of her paws. Zoe, our maltese-bishon mix, has been obsessively chewing her feet since we arrived. So, off to the vet we go! We took them to see Miss Sheila. She came highly recommended as a wonderful and knowledgeable veterinarian, with a caveat regarding her preference for animals over people.
The taxi took us to her home where she also runs her practice. Her yard is overgrown with beautiful flowering bushes and plants and she has taken in at least three mutt “street” dogs. The dogs were well behaved, she obviously spends quite a lot of time working with them. Zoe, usually up for meeting any friends, was a bit put off by one of the dogs–a bit of a temperamental creature so she decided it was not a day to be making friends and determinedly stayed in my arms or on the table.
Both Tracy and Zoe liked Miss Sheila. She has a soothing and slow way about her when dealing with the dogs to which they responded well. Her interaction with us was a bit more direct and while not uncomfortable, we understood who was in charge. Miss Sheila is also a naturalist at heart and does not care for those who dock tails, clip ears, etc. When we told her the dogs take Comfortis for flea and tick control, she was taken aback a bit and gave a little speech on not giving the dogs poison if they aren’t experiencing an issue. For the itching Zoe was displaying on her feet she recommended getting her on Omega 3’s and a cream for her toes which she recommended applying before her meals as she is less likely to lick it off. When looking at Tracy’s growth, she stated she had seen something like it about a year prior on another animal. She had surgically removed it and attempted to send samples off to a lab see what it was but the results were inconclusive. Looking at the growth, she snatched up a pair of wire cutters from her desk and clipped the end off as if it were a toe nail. She stated we could keep it short, but not so short that we get to the root as the growth is fed by blood and it would be alright to leave it alone as long as it does not grow and Tracy leaves it be.
Now, you may have noticed I said, “wire cutters,” earlier when Miss Rachel trimmed the growth so you probably have an idea that this is not the typical veterinarian’s office you find in the US. As a matter of fact, there was no light, save that coming in naturally through the windows and door. At one point, we had to take one of the dogs nearer the door so she could get a better look. There was no antiseptic smell and I am fairly certain the wire cutters were not sterile, or was little else. The room was not tidy but it was not filthy either, rather obviously lived in by a human and her animal companions.
When entering Miss Sheila’s, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dim. The exam table stands inside the door about 10 feet and off to the left a bit. Miss Sheila’s desk is just past the exam table and covered with papers, tools, medicine boxes, various paraphernalia, veterinarian resource books, with a computer and printer appearing to have been added to the jumble in the distant past. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed the area behind the desk is a catch all area leading into the home’s tidy kitchen. Directly across from the exam table is a wall with her diploma from Colorado State University and a cross stitch of her name and degree obviously done quite some time ago, probably as a gift upon her graduation. We will have to ask about it at our next visit. Against the wall shared with the door is a desk/hutch again covered with various tools and papers regarding the veterinarian trade. Miss Sheila also recommended all the dogs receive heart worm preventative which she dispensed orally to each dog using the same syringe and pulling the medication from a large box of liquid preventative on the hutch. There are many, many mosquitos here which are known to infect dogs with heart worm. As my grandma used to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure–and I’m pretty sure Miss Sheila would agree!