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(Frozen) Cosmic Quote #77-3.0

“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.”–Jeff Valdez

Jeff Valdez obviously doesn’t know our dogs.  We can hardly get them to go outside to do their business when it snows.  Pull a sled? Hah! We used to have a nasty little Spitz named Miles.  The Spitz is also sometimes known as The American Eskimo Dog.  Miles was having none of it.  We literally had to pick him up and throw him outside when it snowed.  Dogs are smarter than you think.

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, #10: What the Cat (and Dogs) Dragged In.

“The trouble with a kitten is that it eventually becomes a cat.”–Ogden Nash

Pet doors are a wonderful thing.  They allow your pets the joy of repeatedly going in and out without having to constantly bug you to accommodate them.

Pet doors are an awful thing.  They allow all manner of unwanted vermin to come in (mostly) and out along with your pets.  Or in many cases, to be dragged in by your pets.  Here are some examples.

Awful thing example #1: While you expect cats and dogs to freely use the pet door, you don’t really think a pet chicken would use the pet door.   Think again.  We had one that did, and it not only came in the house quite unexpectedly, but it joined Cheryl in the shower.  That’s a horror story even Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have imagined.  Eat your heart out, Norman Bates.

Awful thing example #2: While our cats have frequently brought dead mice or chipmunks into the house and disemboweled them in the dining room (ick!), that is not the worst of it.  They bring live ones in and let them go.  The most notable example?  We had a living room full of guests for a tea for a local political candidate.  Just as the proceedings were about to begin, our cat, Velcro, dropped a live mouse by the side of a rather full couch.  The critter ran across the feet of about three people and hid under the coffee table as everyone scattered.  Cheryl caught it as the cat looked on with amusement.  The dogs were worthless.

Awful thing example #3:  While we are on the subject of the cat sitting back and watching in amusement as we and the dogs chased a live rodent, I present you with the case of the chipmunk in the laundry room.  Did you ever watch one of those Donald Duck cartoons where he tries to catch Chip and Dale?  Where he winds up destroying his house, his R.V., his camp site, or whatever?  It felt like we were in a Donald Duck cartoon.  The chipmunk was behind the washing machine.  The dogs went nuts;  but the chip was gone by the time we pulled the washing machine out from the wall.  By then, the chip was behind a pile of laundry.  Then it was in the pile of laundry.  Then it was behind the drier. Then it was under the washing machine.  The dogs were always one hiding place behind it.  Cheryl finally caught the thing–I swear she must have been a cat in a previous lifetime.   And our laundry room?  It looked like Donald Duck’s living room after a few minutes of chasing Chip and Dale.

Awful thing example #4:  This one takes the cake.  Cheryl and I were sitting in our home office late one evening, clicking away at our computers.  Why, it was the very room I am sitting in as I write this tale.   I glanced in back of me.  Our three dogs were all lying there contented to be in the same room with us.  And sitting right in the middle of them was what I, for a split second, took to be a rather large stuffed animal doggy toy.  For a split second.  But it wasn’t a toy. Good grief, it was a live possum, apparently playing possum!  We have no idea how it could have gotten in there without the dogs going nuts.  We can only guess that the one dog large enough to drag it in, must have done so.  Cheryl picked it up by the tail, dropped it outside the front door, and it sprung to life and dashed off.

Which finally brings us to Awful thing example #5: There is a rodent in this office, right now, as I write this post.  I saw it dash off the top of my desk and hide behind the file cabinet just as I walked in.  The fleeting glance I got of it was too brief to tell if it was a mouse or a chipmunk. But it has eluded me.  Don’t worry though, Cheryl will be home from the clinic with the dogs (they go to work with her every day.)  The dogs will, of course be useless, and the cat will sit back and watch in amusement as  Cheryl, as always, catches the thing.

Oh, and this one didn’t happen to us,  but Awful thing example#6, below, illustrates the further dangers of pet doors in the wild.  Stay safe, my friends.

 

Be sure to check out my new (second) blog, Seeking Delphi.

 

 

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New Feature: Tales of a Veterinary Spouse

Another oldie but goodie.  New stuff soon–I promise.

“The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.”–Will Rogers

Episode One: You called me for what??

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  I finally became inured, but she ruined my appetite many times.

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  She has ruined my appetite many times.  Image credit unknown.

I don’t know if a veterinarian is the best doctor in the world, but I do know this:  to survive thirty years of marriage to one, I may be the most patient spouse in the world.  The early years were the worst.  Why?  In two words: on call.  Thanks to a proliferation of 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics, she no longer gets those middle of the night wake-up calls.   But here are just two of the many gems she dealt with through the years.

Phone conversation Sunday afternoon late summer day

Panicked client: “Help! My dog can’t get up!”

Dr. Sackler:  “What’s happening.”

Panicked client: “My dog can’t get up.”

An effective restraint device?

An effective restraint device?

Dr. Sackler: “Well can you describe the situation?”

Panicked client: “I see my dog outside struggling to get up and he can’t get up.”

Dr. Sackler: “Well stay calm and go out there and take a closer look.”

The dog’s collar ID tag was caught in a slot between planks on the wood deck.

Phone conversation at 1 AM, Monday Morning

Ditzy client: “Dr. Sackler, I swallowed my dog’s heart worm pill, what should I do?”

Dr. Sackler: “Mrs. So-and-so, I can’t help you.  If your dog had swallowed your birth control pill, that I could help you with. But I can’t advise you on a human accidental dosing, you have to call your medical doctor.”

Ditzy client: “OH, It’s the middle of the night, I can’t bother my doctor!”

Dr. Sackler: “What am I, chopped liver?”  CLICK!!

The second story was so ridiculous, my daughter, who was in 9th grade at the time, wrote it up and submitted it to Readers Digest for their On The Job column.  They published it–sans the closing chopped liver line– and paid her $300.  Oh, and it also turned up a couple of years later on a page-a-day calendar created from that column.  Those were fifteen minutes of  fame my wife could have lived without.

That’s enough for now, but stay tuned.  These stories are just the tip of the iceberg–they get better.

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #6: Say what!?

“I got a big mouth.”–Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Note: This material is rated PG-13.  My wife should have realized that before she retold this story to a bunch of Catholic middle-schoolers at a career night.  Have you heard the phrase “he (or she) has a mouth that could make a sailor blush?”  Cheryl could make Larry Flint blush.

blah blah blahIt was the late night for office hours at the clinic–a Thursday to be specific.  It was a few minutes before 8 PM closing, and the doctor undoubtedly was tired and ready to go home.  But she had just come back from a seminar that focused on bonding new customers to the practice, and wouldn’t you know it, the last appointment of the day was a newbie.

The woman was in her mid 20’s or so, and the kitty she had just adopted was her first pet ever.  Despite the fatigue of a long day, Cheryl was determined to execute a perfect “bonding” experience.  She launched in her “new kitten” spiel,  and  all was going well for the first few minutes.  But then the office manager stuck her head in the exam room and interrupted.

“Pat D. is on the phone, Cheryl,” she reported matter-of-factly, “he wants to know if he can bring his dog in for a semen sample.”

“What?  You’re kidding me.  The lab has already picked up today and I am out of gas.  Tell him to bring the dog in tomorrow morning.”

So much for that, or so she thought, and immediately pushed the “kitten spiel” button and resumed the pitch.

But something had changed.  The customer seemed distracted, even a bit perturbed.

“How do you do that?” The young woman asked, two minutes into the resumed talk.

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you get a semen sample from a dog.”

Cheryl is never one to mince words or be diplomatically indirect under any circumstances.  At 8 PM after a 12 hour day of appointments, this was certainly not going to be an exception.   Making the appropriate gesture, she curtly replied, “hand job!”

Thinking that would be the last of it, she forgot about it and resumed the kitten spiel.  But the woman was still not paying attention, and two minutes later interrupted Cheryl again.

This really is how it's done.

This really is how it’s done.

“C’mon how do you really do it?’

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you really get a semen sample from a dog?’

“Well,” she replied impatiently, “really, you get a cup and you stimulate the dog manually and, well, I can show it to you in a text book if you want.”

The woman frowned and Cheryl resumed the kitten talk, but it was readily apparent that the client was still not satisfied with the answer.  In fact, she appeared downright angry. Within a couple of minutes, she abruptly changed the topic for a third and most emphatic time.

“You’re just goofing on me,” and by now she was almost yelling, “HOW DO YOU REALLY GET A SEMEN SAMPLE FROM A DOG?”

Cheryl had had enough.

“Look at it this way lady, I’m not gonna give him a blow job!”

That ended that.  Permanently.  She never saw that customer again, and to this day she reckons it was worth sacrificing one client just to have the story.

Oh, and she really did tell that story at a Catholic middle school career night.  The students loved it; the nuns were horrified. She never got asked back, and I’m guessing she thinks that was worth it as well.

If you enjoyed this story, just wait for the next Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, which will deal with extracting semen from a rather larger species.

Cheers.

Signature    On twitter @MarkSackler

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

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

9c) Mark Anderson www.andertoons.com

(c) Mark Anderson
http://www.andertoons.com

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!

“OH MY GOD!  I BETTER GO HOME AND COUNT THE CATS!”

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

wallpapers_pepe-le-pew_04_1024

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #4: No Hablo Inglés

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”–Robert Benchley

We  have a house full of animals.  At the present we have a very manageable three dogs, two horses and one cat.  OK, the horses are in the back yard, not the house.  You get the picture.  In the past we have had chickens, guinea hens, turkeys (both wild and domestic), rabbits, hedgehogs a rooster and a donkey.   I  had to put my foot down regarding the latter two.  I work from a home office.   The noises coming from our backyard wrecked havoc while I was on the phone making business calls.  It sounded like I was selling farm supplies out of a silo in Iowa.

OK, I knew there would be animals in my household.  I signed on for that.  But Cheryl doesn’t just collect animals.  She collects other veterinarians.  They come here; they live with us.  They stay for a few days, weeks, months, or in a couple of notable cases, years.   They come from all over the world:  from Venezuela…Columbia…Chile…Afghanistan…Turkey…The Philippines…all over.  If there were Martian veterinarians we would have housed one by now.   Just for variety, we also had a law student from Beijing.   Never mind how or why they have landed in our hacienda;   I could write an entire book on the characters that have lived with us.   But today, let’s talk about just one.   Dr. Gibson Fernandez.

mariachi-helps-to-speak-SpanishAh, Gibson.  He hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela where he is a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Zulia.  He did an internship at my wife’s veterinary hospital back in the late 1990’s and has been spending the month of August with us every year since.  He just happens to be be one of the most personable and likeable people you have ever met.  I swear, he has more friends in Connecticut, just from his one month a year,  than we do living here our whole lives.  The phone starts ringing days before he arrives.  “When is Gibson coming?” “Is Gibson there yet?” “Can Gibson come out and play?”

Gibson is smart, funny, affable and a loyal friend.  Everybody loves Gibson.  It seems he has but one small failing.

His English sucks.   Even after fifteen years of visits and an ESL course,  he still never fails to leave us in hysterics with his lingual gaffs.  You think Desi Arnaz sounded funny?  You ain’t heard nothing yet.  On his most recent visit the three of us were in the car when we crossed over one of Connecticut’s major rivers,  the Housatonic.

“Isn’t that the Titanic?” Gibson queried.

Sen͂or Gibson.

El Doctor Gibson.

We almost drove off the road laughing.   Here are three of his best gems from years gone by.

Scene #1:  A warm summer’s day.  Gibson comes in from the yard and proudly states, “I killed all of the Wops under the deck.”

We are presently paying the Irish mafia to protect him from the Italian mafia

Scene #2:  A balmy summer’s eve.  We are eating dinner out on the now Wop-free deck.  Gibson licks his lips as he devours the barbecue chicken I have just finished grilling and proclaims, “Mark is a good cock!”

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Gibson!!  That’s not a complement.  Well at least, not coming from you.

Scene #3: A typical day at my wife’s office.  Or rather, a typical Gibson visit day.   But as he and Cheryl are working up a case, the groomer is having a hard time in the next room with a rather hissy cat.

“Bad pussy! Bad pussy.”  The groomer scolds the feline.   Cheryl and Gibson hear this and Cheryl ignores it.  But Gibson immediately goes next door, picks up the cat, and begins examining its genitals.

“What are you doing?” Cheryl asks.

“Well,” Gibson says quite seriously, “Donna said it has a bad pussy!”

It’s OK.  We still love Gibson.  We love him the way Lucy loved Desi, bad English and all.

Signature@MarkSackler

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #3: Surgery, yes. Kitchen, no.

“Anybody who finds it easy to make money on the horses is probably in the dog food business.””–Franklin P. Jones

Mark's Spitz

Mark’s Spitz

My wife is a great surgeon.  You know how I can tell?  She is the one that is always asked to carve the Thanksgiving turkey.  We figure, if she can spay a dog or cat, she should be able to cut up a bird.

The one thing she is not generally asked to do is prepare the Thanksgiving dinner,  for reasons the following story will illustrate.

We had been married for three years, and were living in our first apartment after her graduation from veterinary school. It was just the two of us and our first dog, an affectionate and lively spitz named Doodlebug.

Cheryl was actually making some semblance of effort to be a wife as well as a vet.  One afternoon on her day off she decided to make brownies.  Dinner?  She made reservations; when  I got home from work, we went out.  The cooling brownies were left on the kitchen table sharing half of a large round serving plate with some store-bought chocolate chip cookies. (Keebler, Nabisco? Whatever.)    The table was, she thought, out of the dog’s reach, so the goodies were safe, and we left.

The table was out of the dog’s reach. BUT, the chair left slightly out from the table was within reach,  so that Doodlebug could jump up on that and then reach the plateful of fun.  She did.  And she ate every single one of those mass produced cookies and did not so much as sniff my wife’s brownies.  When we got home, there was the plate:  the cookies on one side were gone, crumbs and all.   The brownies were untouched.  My wife was devastated–and I laughed so hard it’s a miracle I did not crack three ribs.   Amazing.  Our dogs will eat just about anything, including cat poop, horse poop and their own poop.   What they won’t eat is Cheryl’s brownies.  Now you know why we eat out a lot.  Bon appetit!

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, Episode 2: It swallowed what?

“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”–Peter Steiner.

Dharma Sackler"I prefer horse poop."

Dharma Sackler
“I prefer horse poop.”

It was 8:30 AM on a Monday morning and my car’s FM radio was blaring the “oldies” station out of Hartford.  I was about to switch channels and look for some jazz, when the DJ’s voice blared out a challenge I simply could not resist.

“This morning, we are asking our listeners to call in and tell us what outrageous or funny things your dog has eaten or swallowed, and we’ll play back the best ones on the air.”

I never call radio stations.  Never.  Well, hardly ever.  This had to be an exception.  I am so getting on the air, I thought, I have a professional advantage.

I did, and the DJ had a field day with it.  Below are my three favorite “I can’t believe it ate the whole thing” stories. The first two were used on the air, the third one Cheryl contributed for this post.

1. Clean insides make great doggie colonoscopy prep.  The owner was panicked.  The dog ate an entire box of Brillo pads!  No kidding.  What to do?  Believe it or not, they were not toxic in the least to the mutt, and they were simply passed within a couple of days.  A freak occurrence, you say?  Well, my wife insists she has seen this at least twice.  Keep your Brillo pads safe–they are very afraid.

2 I now pronounce you dog and wife.  It was an emergency call on a Sunday evening: “My diamond engagement ring is missing,” the dog’s owner lamented, “I laid it on the table and it disappeared a few minutes later.  DoRING you think the dog could have swallowed it?”  Maybe.  My wife instructed the owner to bring the dog in Monday morning for an X-Ray.  There it was, square in the middle of its abdomen.  The extrication solution?  Choice A: megabucks for surgery.  Choice B: follow him around with a pooper scooper for the next few days.  They chose the latter and eventually got the ring back, stinky but none the worse for wear.   My daughter, ever on the uptake with this stuff, took the x-ray to school for the one of the greatest “show-and-tell” stories of all time.  Oh, and by the way, the dog was a schipperke, just like our little imp in the first image above.  Unfortunately, with ours, the horse poop caption is quite literally true.

3. This too shall not pass. The obvious  question, then, for Dr. Sackler, would be to identify the most outrageous thing a dog swallowed that could not pass.  What has she removed surgically that was almost beyond belief?

Answer: An entire rhododendron bush. Well, all the leaves and small stems, anyway.  It seems dogs can stomach Brillo Pads and diamond rings, but rhododendron is quite toxic.  I can’t imagine what that stuff looked like coming out of the dog’s gut.  Check that, I mean I won’t imagine.

Anybody out there have any good stories along these lines?  While I wait for responses, I’ll work on my next actual Millennium Conjecture.  Like that diamond ring, it seems to be lodged in my gut and will likely stay there until I can figure out how to pass it.

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New Feature: Tales of a Veterinary Spouse

“The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.”–Will Rogers

Episode One: You called me for what??

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  I finally became inured, but she ruined my appetite many times.

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  She has ruined my appetite many times.  Image credit unknown.

I don’t know if a veterinarian is the best doctor in the world, but I do know this:  to survive thirty years of marriage to one, I may be the most patient spouse in the world.  The early years were the worst.  Why?  In two words: on call.  Thanks to a proliferation of 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics, she no longer gets those middle of the night wake-up calls.   But here are just two of the many gems she dealt with through the years.

Phone conversation Sunday afternoon late summer day

Panicked client: “Help! My dog can’t get up!”

Dr. Sackler:  “What’s happening.”

Panicked client: “My dog can’t get up.”

An effective restraint device?

An effective restraint device?

Dr. Sackler: “Well can you describe the situation?”

Panicked client: “I see my dog outside struggling to get up and he can’t get up.”

Dr. Sackler: “Well stay calm and go out there and take a closer look.”

The dog’s collar ID tag was caught in a slot between planks on the wood deck.

Phone conversation at 1 AM, Monday Morning

Ditzy client: “Dr. Sackler, I swallowed my dog’s heart worm pill, what should I do?”

Dr. Sackler: “Mrs. So-and-so, I can’t help you.  If your dog had swallowed your birth control pill, that I could help you with. But I can’t advise you on a human accidental dosing, you have to call your medical doctor.”

Ditzy client: “OH, It’s the middle of the night, I can’t bother my doctor!”

Dr. Sackler: “What am I, chopped liver?”  CLICK!!

The second story was so ridiculous, my daughter, who was in 9th grade at the time, wrote it up and submitted it to Readers Digest for their On The Job column.  They published it–sans the closing chopped liver line– and paid her $300.  Oh, and it also turned up a couple of years later on a page-a-day calendar created from that column.  Those were fifteen minutes of  fame my wife could have lived without.

That’s enough for now, but stay tuned.  These stories are just the tip of the iceberg–they get better.

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Quantum Weirdness 105, Review: How to teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

        “I have a very good nose. I can sniff into extra dimensions. They’re full of evil squirrels. With goatees.”–

Chad Orzel’s dog, in How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog.

Chad Orzel is my kind of guy.  If it wasn’t for the fact that How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog was copyrighted in 2010, I would have sworn he had read my Law of Canine Chaos before writing the following.

Sound waves are pressure in the air.  When a dog barks, she forces air out through her mouth and sets up a vibrations that travel through the air in all directions.  When it reaches another dog, that sound wave cause vibrations in the second dog’s eardrums, which are turned into signals in the brain that are processed as sound, causing the second dog to bark,  producing more waves, until nearby humans get annoyed.  [emphasis mine]

Amen, brother.

But the point is, he explains and summarizes beautifully–and expands upon lucidly–all the points in my first four Quantum Weirdness posts.  He does so in a manner clear enough that, if you can’t understand it, at least your dog will.  Maybe the pooch can then explain it to you. Either way,  I recommend it highly.  Unfortunately, though,it seems to be out of print in the US.   It is available, mostly from the UK, from various resellers on ebay and barnesandnoble.com.  Orzel has also written How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog and How to Teach Physics to Your Dog.  Before you know it, those clever mutts will be running the LHC at CERN.  I doubt they will be looking for the Higgs Boson, though.

Copyright 1984, Chronicle Features

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