I have a confession. My number one most absolute favorite thing to do as a veterinarian is to work for free.I suspect the majority of vets will tell you, the money thing is the worst part of the job. There is a constant level of stress in this profession associated with charging for our services.The majority of us are just a bunch of sensitive nerds who love animals and want to help them. However, that costs money, and just look at the bad Yelp reviews of almost any animal hospital: they are often from owners mad about their bill. We have to charge for what we do, in order to keep a roof over our heads, our staff paid, food in our families and pets bellies. We generally care very much about how you spend your money with us, we don’t want to waste it. We recommend what we think is necessary in order to diagnose and treat your pet. However, we have to strive to work within the budgetary constraints of each individual client, which is totally ok and part of the job, but can be tough to make sure the owner is happy and the pet receives the care it needs. That said, for me, veterinary medicine is so much more fun when I remove the financial stress from the equation, even if it’s just every now and then.
I’ve worked at AMCOP for 17 years now. I can think of about 3 or four other times that we have taken on a pro bono case (So don’t get any ideas! We’re not a rescue hospital. Mazie’s Mission is though, assuming you are partnered with a reputable rescue group). I’m totally on board with starting an AMCOP charity so that maybe we can do more pro bono cases, if there are any clients out there with experience in this who can point me in the right direction.
Today, someone surrendered to our hospital, a scrawny 5 month old pit bull puppy named Gambino. Something very bad happened to his leg, you could smell it when you walked into the exam room. The room was enveloped in the sickly sweet smell of necrotic flesh. His right paw from about the forearm down was about 3 times larger than it should have been. It looks like maybe something got wrapped around the leg and cut off his circulation to the paw, lacerating the skin all the way around the arm in the process. The paw was dead and infected. Meanwhile, this goofy puppy was just happily wagging his tail and trying to gnaw at his dead foot.
Gambino went to the treatment area for initial diagnostics and stabilization, quickly becoming the subject of adoration from he whole staff. Many, many photos were taken. This dog is a total sweetie pie.
So, with any luck, the plan is for Dr. Cook to amputate the leg tomorrow and neuter him. I am assisting. I love to do these surgeries, but she got first dibs because it was her case. Tonight he’s getting a bath, starting antibiotics and pain medicines, getting a good deworming, fluids, a warm meal and a soft bed.
Assuming the surgery goes well and he doesn’t come down with Parvo or Distemper (always a risk with stray puppies of unknown history). He will be up for adoption, but the wait list is already including several AMCoP employees.
So meet Gambino and I’ll keep you posted on how he does.
The following terrible pictures are super gross, beware: