Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #5: Count the Cats!

“Dogs are my favorite people.”–Richard Dean Anderson

9c) Mark Anderson

(c) Mark Anderson

Bethany, CT is just a typical, quiet New England exurban town.  Now.  But some thirty years ago, when Cheryl started working there, it was still imbued with a certain quirky character hailing from its agrarian Yankee roots.  The vet she worked for was a lanky, laconic and formal kind of guy who actually wore a tie to work, even on the road for large animal barn calls.  If Dickens were alive in the 1980’s and living in New England,  he would have found all the persona inspiration he could ever need right there in Bethany.   This story hails from that era.

The client, Cathy X, was a groom at a local stable.  She was short, chubby, slovenly and smelled like her work.  It seems her dog, a massive Russian Wolfhound, was in distress, and she let Cheryl know about it the instant she walked in the clinic door.

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

“He’s got a twisted gut, I just know it.”

“What’s going on, Cathy?” My wife was a bit skeptical up front.

“Well…um…,” the exasperated woman could hardly get her words out, ” he’s  lethargic, not eating,  and his stomach is distended.”

Cheryl felt around and disagreed, it just didn’t feel like a torsion.  She thought it was just an upset stomach.  But the client persisted.

“Ok, Cathy, I’ll try a stomach tube and see what that yields.”

The idea here was simple, if the gut was twisted, the stomach tube would not pass.  In went the tube–all the way in.   Seek and ye shall find.   VARRROOOOM.   Almost immediately there arose a torrent of projectile vomiting.   But it was not just gunk.  It was black and white fur, followed by a completely intact trachea and set of lungs!


Momentary silence (while everyone in the office painfully held back laughter).

“Um, maybe not,” my wife protested, “these organs are way too big to be a cat.  And the smell…ugh.”

I assume by now you have figured it out.  If not, let’s just say it was a mistake worthy of Pepe Le Pew.

You now have permission to hold your nose pending my next smelly post.

Signature    @MarkSackler



  1. That is disgusting and amazing. What a story.

  2. Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    Now for something completely different…

  3. Great story! Glad it wasn’t one of her cats!

  4. Charles St.Clair says:

    Dogs aren’t always the brightest bulbs in the candelabra.
    My vet (well, actually I mean my dogs’ vet) wears a tie to work every day, always with some animal theme. He’s old-school, too, and one of the most caring people I’ve ever known.

    • But does he wear a tie on farm calls?

      Anyway, dogs certainly are gluttons for punishment when it comes to skunks. We’ve had two of our own that were “skunked” multiple times. They just never seem to learn–or maybe they don’t even care.

  5. This is hilarious. And so true.

  6. You know the more it stinks, the better a dog likes it! I am going to share this on FB especially for my friend who has a cat named FiFi LaFume. Glad it had a happy ending, I’m sure “Boris” felt much better!

  7. Mayra Moreno says:

    Very funny!. I didn’t know this one. You could write a book and maybe call it “Living with Cheryl” or something like that. You would sell all of them.

  8. I’m simply going to say “Ewwwwwww!”

  9. Jim Patchen says:

    Until I read this story, I loved the smell of “puppy breath”. You have taken that from me.

  10. Wow – what a story. Not sure even Ruby could top that!!!

  11. Now I am really hungry!!

  12. Ellica Sabo says:

    Good one, it just shows that anything can and does happen

  13. My only skunk story: When I was a little girl, my family was on a camping trip. My sister and I were asleep in a pup tent. My parents were sitting nearby at a picnic table. It was a hot night–the tent flaps were open. A skunk strolled into our campsite, then into our tent. It calmly walked around on our sleeping bodies, then strolled out of the tent and out of the campsite. My parents eventually started breathing again.

    • That reminds me of the time from my childhood. I was walking down the road about a few hundred yards from my parents suburban home. I waved at some neighbor kids playing in their driveway and then did a double-take. A skunk was walking rather calmly amongst them–they acknowledge it and just smiled and went back to playing. As it turns out, the animal was a de-scented pet. Don’t get any ideas though: keeping pet skunks is now illegal here in Connecticut as it is in the overwhelming majority of US states.

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