The Human-Animal Bond Page 4

On this page is my 2019 Christmas party speech to the staff of the FoxNest Veterinary Hospital 
our role in the wonderful drama of love between people and their pets.


How I got run over by a train and knocked unconscious


A few stories about Einstein and his dog


Those of you that help me in the surgery room have heard some of my stories.

About Martin Luther becoming a monk.

About Mr Gillette failing to sell his disposable razor blades although he ended up with a great fortune.

About how President Jackson introduced the Cherokee phrase “Okey Dokey” into the English language which later got shortened to “Okay” and then later still to “OK”

Stories about Edgar Allan Poe being an animal rescuer who died from a rabies bite. (or syphilis... the symptoms can be similar)

And stories about Einstein's wife making him pretend to smoke a pipe whenever the media took his picture because she thought it made him look smarter... more like an ivy league professor...don't you see?  
She'd say: “Albert, you look like a Jewish tailor when you smoke those awful cigars."

Here's an Einstein story you might not have heard:

When Einstein came to America in the 1930's, the President assigned him some secret service agents to protect him from Nazi agents and in later decades, during the cold war, he needed to be protected from Soviet agents. One of those agents, in addition to being his body guard, was also his driver whenever Einstein needed to go somewhere. One of the reasons Einstein needed a driver is because he never was able to pass his driver's test. He did really well on the written part of the test, but try as he might, he could never quite master parallel parking!

He wasn't all that coordinated on a bicycle either
Einstein was an interesting person. 

By the way, if you'd like an explanation of the theory of relativity, just ask my sweetie, Deb here. She doesn't smoke a pipe, but she did get A's in Physics!  And if you'd like an explanation about how Einstein said an object can be in two different places at the same time, just ask our brilliant young vet, Dr Adri. 
.... I'd tell you myself, but I don't have the time at the moment.

We can all agree that Einstein was a genius, but like almost all great people, he had a lot of flaws ... he especially had trouble with emotional and coping issues. He was terrible with relationships. He was socially awkward.  

He hated parties where he had to mingle and make chit chat.

He loved Cary Grant movies where Cary was so suave and always said just the right thing at just the right time when he was around beautiful women. Einstein didn't ever say the right thing at the right time when he was around women... he could barely speak at all. 

Let's face it, he was a mathematical genius but a social imbecile. In fact, he'd be an emotional wreck … maybe unable to function at all if it wasn't for his little buddy. ... a little terrier mutt named Chico Marx.

Who knows, maybe if it weren't for Chico's love and affection, maybe we'd still be living today without the benefits of the theory of relativity!!!  And maybe little Chico wouldn't have been around if it weren't for some caring veterinary clinic like ours keeping him healthy.  We'll get back to this theme in a minute. 

In these modern times, we'd call Chico a "therapy dog" or a "service animal".
Albert Einstein sometimes suffered from depression
The following is a staff Christmas speech I gave in December, 2019 about Albert Einstein, our veterinary practice, and the human animal bond.  People in the story include Dr Adriana Casagrande whom we all call Dr Adri, and Dr Jennifer Carter who gives us 1 day a week from her busy practice and life each Wednesday to spay and neuter shelter pets.  Other people mentioned in the story are members of our staff and my lovely sweetheart. 
Here's a picture of Professor Einstein with his family and beloved dog Chico Marx
Okey Dokey.

Merry Christmas everyone and happy new years.

It's been a pretty good year despite some set backs, and I look forward to a really great 2020. Everyone seems to be getting along nicely now, and at least for me, I still enjoy coming to work each day. I hope you do too.

What's in store for us in the coming year? Well, for one thing, Crystal's going to present us with a new baby. (Miss Crystal is in charge of the boarding dogs at our " Dogwood Inn") And we'll continue to give top notch, compassionate care to any of God's creatures who enter our doors. And with Janet's help and Bonnie's able management, we'll continue to find good homes for the canine and feline homeless.

And with a little luck, we'll soon have another great vet joining us soon.

Speaking of new vets, I'm delighted that Dr Jennifer Carter is here with us tonight.

She's an equine specialist and I'm about to tell you how cool that is.

You know, whenever someone asks what you do for a living, it's always a prideful pleasure to answer that you're a veterinarian or that you're a vet tech, vet assistant, or work at an animal clinic. It's pretty hard to top in coolness factor. With maybe the exception of astronaut or rocket scientist there's not many other professions as cool.

Here's a toast to all of us. We're cool. We keep companion animals healthy, and in turn these little creatures dispense love and acceptance and smiles to homes all over our community. And who knows.... maybe the little cat we saved yesterday will be the pet that provides emotional comfort to some struggling, as yet unknown genius living in Seneca, South Carolina who will end up saving us all from climate change or some other great problem tomorrow.

Speaking of cool. Some vets are cooler than others. Within our profession there is a hierarchy of coolness or status. 
Status that doesn't have anything to do with money. 
In fact, those vets working at the bottom of the cool pyramid often make the most money. 
They certainly have the best hours and benefits.

I'm talking about those vets who do important but unglamorous work for government and industry; the meat inspectors, the bureaucrats, and the veterinary scientists who work at corporate laboratories dissecting rats and mice making sure our medicines are safe and effective.

A little higher on the cool scale are those well paid vets that specialize in poultry and swine and work for agricultural co-ops.

At the very top of the cool pyramid, the pinnacle of cool, are the zoo vets. Not only is the job cool, but they get to drive around in open air range rovers and wear safari outfits
Just below zoo vets on the cool scale are equine vets. ... Like our Dr Carter.

And among equine vets, the coolest of all are those who specialize in reproduction.... Like Dr Carter.

In addition to intricate procedures of pregnancy testing, of transferring embryos, and the explosive excitement of equine mating, she gets to deliver lots of baby foals. And there's not many feelings more special than being a part of the high risk miracle of bringing a new life into the world
Although she gets to deliver a lot of babies each Spring, we small animal vets might argue that unlike horse vets, we deliver 7-12 babies at a time. And all year long.

Farm vets are pretty high up on the cool pyramid. Although in reality it's actually a filthy dirty, exhausting, and dangerous business.

Say, did I ever tell you the story about how when I was a senior veterinary student, I was run over by a train, and after being knocked unconscious for a few moments, I just got up and went about my business?

This story "ain't no bull".     Well, maybe a little:
Here's what happened: I was on an externship up in northern Wisconsin on an Indian reservation working with a farm vet and we were running a bunch of heifers through a head gate chute.

The veterinarian was working the tail end doing pregnancy checks and I was working the front end looking for bad teeth and tongue sores, checking for pink eye, and punching in plastic ear tags impregnated with slow release fly repellents... a new invention in the 80's.  Any young cow that wasn't pregnant or had a health problem was culled out and would go to market.

At any rate, as we got to the last of the heifers, the vet told me I needed to collect some blood from the bull who was out in the bull pasture.

The bull's name was Choo Choo. Get it?  

Choo Choo... like a locomotive... as in train.

Helping me was a Chippewa farm hand nicked named "Tiny", who, as you might have guessed, wasn't tiny at all. He wore size 16 boots and weighed about 300 lbs. Tiny was a gentle giant, and very nice, but it was quickly obvious that Tiny was mentally handicapped.  But he was smart enough to warn me not to go into Choo Choo's pasture.

1500 lb Choo Choo was very territorial about anybody being in his pasture.

Well if you're thinking that this young, hot shot -almost a vet- told Tiny, "don't worry, I'm a professional, and I know what I'm doing around livestock” and entered that pasture equipped with nothing but a rope and a vacutainer 

... you ...would... be... wrong.

What I did was let Tiny go into that pasture … which he did, shaking a bucket of sweet feed and guess what... Choo Choo came up to us tame as a poodle.

So... I was telling a little white lie when I told you I got run over by a train, or even a bull named Choo Choo, ... but I did get knocked unconscious.

What happened was I stuck that vacutainer in Choo Choo's jugular vein and I guess he thought he got bit by a horse fly, because he sort of flicked his big head around out of that feed bucket and caught me right under the chin.

I was out cold for a couple of minutes and when I came to, Tiny was looking at me with a silly grin. And I'm pretty sure Choo Choo was looking at me with a silly grin too.  And guess what? … the vacutainer was still sticking out of Choo Choo's neck , so I got up, told Tiny I just needed a little nap after treating all those heifers, and finished getting my blood samples

Listen, it might be really cool to be a zoo vet or a horse vet, but when it comes to inner satisfaction, it's hard to beat being in a busy small animal practice.  A lot of our patients are wacky goof balls and more than a few of our clients are very interesting to say the least, but every day, each of us ... as a team... are working at keeping the human animal bond healthy and alive.   And as you know, our days can be emotional roller coasters; one minute we'll all be in the back having a good laugh over the antics of our patients or clients and the next moment, shedding a tear for some poor creature or hugging a crying person who just lost their best friend. 

Almost all humans are emotional wrecks to one degree or another, and sometimes the best therapy doesn't come in a bottle or a $200 an hour therapist... sometimes what helps the most comes from the companionship of a faithful dog, a rambunctious puppy, or a purring cat rubbing up against your leg.

It's very satisfying indeed to help these pets who are so important to the emotional well being of so many people. And for the role each of you play in this wonderful drama of cross species love, I thank you.

I think Einstein would agree...what we do is important... 

We're all here celebrating the birthday of Jesus, and I think he would also agree that what we're doing is important; it's called caring for others... and I'm very proud of each and every one of us.

Once again, Merry Christmas to all and Thank you, thank you, thank you.
                                                         The Human Animal Bond Page 1       Page 2         Page 3     

                                               This is page 4 of my stories and comments about the wonderful bond between humans and animals.