Whole Dog Journal's Blog December 20, 2018

Thoughts from a UC Davis Veterinary Hospital Waiting Room

Posted at 11:26AM - Comments: (49)

Random thoughts from a university veterinary teaching hospital waiting room.*

If there is one thing that all of us who are in and around these buildings have in common, it’s that our animal companions are critically important to us, whether they are huge (like the Great Dane puppy I saw in the main receiving area five hours ago) or tiny (like the ancient, doddering Pomeranian wearing a cone who just hobbled out of another exam room in the ophthalmology department).

uc davis veterinary hospital

However, your purebred Springer Spaniel with the gleaming, show-worthy coat and condition is no more important than my scruffy, mange-recovering, mixed-breed shelter puppy. Thank goodness, we are all equals in the eyes of the dedicated vets, vet techs, vet students, and even the support staff at the front counter and answering the phones. These people exude compassion for every human and every non-human animal equally.

When you see a person carrying a dog bed wrapped in a blanket with just a dog’s nose sticking out, and the person has obviously been crying, don’t even think about asking a question or even saying anything in a consoling tone. Just smile and look away. No one wants to be observed or explain anything at a time like this.

No one who works in or visits this sector of the campus will walk past an animal without a smile, from the custodians to the vets to other pet owners.

uc davis veterinary hospital

There is no one kinder than a veterinary student. Period. They are equally interested, friendly, appreciative of the pets in their care, polite and sweet to owners, patient when taking even very long-winded histories, and earnest. They have thanked ME for caring about the shelter pups I’ve brought here. I’m old enough to be their mother, but every single one that I’ve cried in front of in the past week – and I think we are up to at least three or four, at this point – has been so compassionate and kind that it makes me cry again, just thinking about that.

It isn’t just well-heeled people visiting the veterinary oncology, ophthalmology, and other specialty departments that are in this building. I mean, it’s impossible to know for sure, but judging from the cars in the packed parking lot and the people I see waiting in the waiting rooms with me, we are from every socio-economic strata and racial background. If our pets need a specialist, they need a specialist. And so we are here, taking what inspiration we can from the posters about various veterinary success stories that line the walls and halls.

There is nothing so gloriously thrilling as an obviously healthy, thriving dog dancing out of a facility like this. Perhaps he was here only for a checkup, or maybe his treatments healed him. Either way, it makes all of our hearts glad to see him.

uc davis veterinary hospital

*I am back at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital [VMTH] at UC Davis, just a week after my last visit. Last week, I was here with a dying puppy. This week, I’m here for an emergency ophthalmology consult for another puppy from the same foster litter.

Not quite three weeks ago, the biggest, strongest pup in the litter suddenly developed a big swollen eye. My local veterinarian prescribed one course of treatment, and a week later, another, but the eye hasn’t responded. Since the origin of the problem is still a bit of a mystery (a scratch was suspected, but no actual injury to the surface of the eye was observed), he has started to suspect that the cause is not an injury but some other disorder. Hence, a higher-tech consultation.

The pup has been prescribed a whole new course of oral and topical medicines: gabapentin for pain, doxycycline in case it has been caused by a tick-borne disease or even leptospirosis, and, to reduce the dangerous fluid accumulation in the eye, a low-dose oral steroid, a saline ointment (to be applied six times a day) and an NSAID eye drop (to be applied four times a day). And we will recheck in a week.

uc davis veterinary hospital

You guys, this puppy is a champ. He’s so well behaved that people keep mistaking him for being very ill; after a few minutes of sniffing around and me rewarding him with little treats for staying on the little blanket I brought for him, he curls up in a ball and resigns himself to a few more boring hours. What amazing self-control for such a little guy!

However, given the practically hourly regimen of eye medications we’ve been dealing with in the past two weeks, he’s bonded to me very strongly. The ophthalmology intern took him into the back for about an hour, and I took the opportunity to go in search of a snack vending machine and a restroom. When I got back, I heard the puppy’s loud complaints (he is a howler) from a cage in a room a few doors away from the waiting room. As soon as the doctors were done with him and the intern saw that I was back, he was brought back to me and he settled back on his little blanket without any further fuss. He’s such a good boy!

Also, folks, he needs a name. I usually assign my foster pups a different colored collar for the few weeks they will be with me, and refer to them by the color of that collar. But this bunch has needed so much help, and since we want to make sure that the health conditions they are fighting as a result of their early abandonment and subsequent malnutrition (demodectic mange, wonky legs, and now this vexing eye issue) are completely resolved before we even try to find them forever homes, they are going to be with me for a good bit longer than usual. It’s well past time for a real name, even if it gets changed when he finally finds a home.

My friends keep calling this puppy Blue, both for his blue merle color and now, sadly, for his compromised eye, but that’s confusing, because he’s the puppy who has been wearing the yellow collar and coat. When the ophthalmologist asked about his name, I told her that he’s the yellow collar puppy, but my friends keep calling him Blue, and that I didn’t want to name him for a condition we were hoping to resolve. She laughed and said, “All my pets are named after the conditions that brought them to me!” When I, also laughing, asked her for an example, she said, “Well, for starters, my cat Ringo came to me with ringworm…”

Anyway, suggestions for a name would be gladly accepted.

As would donations for the medical bills that he and the other puppies have incurred. The donations that the shelter has received are what’s making all this medical care possible; we have done much more for these puppies than this open-admission shelter or I are usually able to do. And for that, I am so grateful. This is an extremely worthy bunch of pups, and I’m so glad that they are going to get a real chance in life, instead of being euthanized for severe but highly treatable conditions.

If you are so moved to make a year-end, tax-deductible gift, please go to northwestspca.organd click on “Donate.” You can specify that your donation be used for the medical care of the mange puppies. If there is any money left over by the time these guys are out the door, healthy, neutered, and microchipped, the money will go into the shelter’s medical fund to be used to help other special cases. And thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Comments (49)

Well, there's Bleu! or Champy! or what about Ol Yeller? with the yellow collar????

Posted by: TrainYourDog2 | December 25, 2018 10:17 AM    Report this comment

I love this little boy with all my heart and wish I could bring him home to Indiana to be our four rescue dogs' and three cats' kid brother. He inspired me to donate while crying my eyes out, and I so hope he'll be OK. As for a name, I vote for Luther, one of my favorites and one I don't often see.

Posted by: Caroline2018 | December 24, 2018 7:26 AM    Report this comment

You do a fantastic job. We adopted a dog here in Mexico our adopted country. Keep up the good work.....the puppy looks like 🐕 "Ojo" ( J pronounced like H in Spanish) eye in Spanish. Leise

Posted by: Leise | December 23, 2018 3:31 PM    Report this comment

or Tuffy or Trooper

Posted by: loloploz | December 23, 2018 1:54 PM    Report this comment

Odin is absolutely perfect💚

Posted by: gratefullee | December 23, 2018 1:49 PM    Report this comment

We take our 15 yr. old blue heeler, Gus, to Dr. David Canton in Vacaville. I believe he teaches ophthalmology at Davis. He always has students looking on in his office. Gus had both his lenses replaced about 6 years ago and has been on drops, etc. ever since. This sounds different for this little guy but you couldn't see a better doc than Canton. www.vet4eyes.com 707 449-8092.
I will also donate again. These little guys are a part of my heart. You are as well.

Posted by: kmajor | December 22, 2018 2:59 PM    Report this comment

Nancy you are our champ! Merry Christmas from my own rescued kids, Christy and new pup Ashe.

Posted by: Laikamom | December 22, 2018 11:19 AM    Report this comment

I love the name Sunny as it makes me smile when I see him. Bless you Nancy for all you do. Wish I was close enough to get my next pup from you!

Posted by: hairofthedog | December 22, 2018 11:14 AM    Report this comment


Posted by: wolfy420 | December 22, 2018 8:49 AM    Report this comment

PS. A check is in the mail. Merry Christmas!!

Posted by: Dogladie | December 22, 2018 7:47 AM    Report this comment

Nancy- you are both champs!! All of my dogs have had 2 or 3 syllable or word names, so why don't you call him Blue Champ? In my experience, they learn the whole thing and respond to it. When friends would call "Little Bear" "Bear", he'd ignore them. The same with "Shadow Man". "Shadow" was an insult to him.
Judith- don't call me "Judy"!

Posted by: Dogladie | December 22, 2018 7:42 AM    Report this comment

Donation is sent- not to repeat the already repeated... you said it- Champ! Like so many others I have tearfully followed your long journey with these pups and so many others and am so grateful for all you do. You are an amazing person and inspiration- please continue to let us know how things progress.

Posted by: TerryBB | December 21, 2018 3:41 PM    Report this comment

I was going to say that you've already named him Champ, but see that others beat me to it!

Posted by: fenway | December 21, 2018 11:01 AM    Report this comment

I love Odin, provided by a previous commenter. It's unusual & it will have a hidden meaning.

Posted by: grc0520 | December 21, 2018 10:06 AM    Report this comment

I think you should name him Chance because that's what you gave him

Posted by: Ranorman | December 21, 2018 9:27 AM    Report this comment

Of course he's Champ! You said it yourself. Nothing wrong with Blue either, since that's what your friends are calling him.

Posted by: Briarpatch | December 21, 2018 7:17 AM    Report this comment

Why not name him Singer? I read a book about a very special dog named Singer. I think he might have been part hound. You can name the rest of the dogs starting with the letter "S" also. He looks very sweet! Who said you have to name dogs with people names or always used dog names, you can be creative, he deserves it!

Posted by: cPeanut | December 21, 2018 7:06 AM    Report this comment

A little off topic but we had a foster puppy whose eye looked like that & it never got better. We thought for sure she would join our pack of 5 foster fails - like who's gonna adopt a dog with one strange looking blind eye?

Of course a couple of months later a woman at one of our adoption events saw her & started crying. I thought she felt bad for the puppy until she said it was the spitting image of her dog that had died a few months earlier (minus the blind eye).

She adopted that dog & would bring her to the store where we held our events. She doted & loved on that dog so much...lol

So while I pray your pup recovers, if not, someone out there is waiting for that dog, eye issues or not...😊

Posted by: Scamp's mom | December 21, 2018 6:44 AM    Report this comment

You could name him Finn :) Thank you for your updates, and taking such good care of these special little ones.

Posted by: kkmitten | December 21, 2018 6:23 AM    Report this comment

I'm confused. You already have a name for him. It's written in your post above -- in italics even -- Champ. Oops. I'm just reading some earlier comments and see that I'm not the first, nor the only one, who already knows his name. Go get 'em Champ.

Posted by: Phoenix, NY | December 21, 2018 1:52 AM    Report this comment

Odin. I know you dont want to name him because of his eye, but the Norse god Odin sacrificed his eye to gain wisdom. I do hope his eye heals up soon.

Posted by: Kimber | December 20, 2018 10:24 PM    Report this comment

You have my permission to call him Louie Blue, which is the name of our little guy. He came to us named "Blue" by the breeder and trainer he lived with until he came to us at 5 months old. We wanted to add something special to just "Blue," and "Louie Blue" felt right. I look at your puppy, and I see another Louie Blue.

Posted by: SweetDoggie | December 20, 2018 10:01 PM    Report this comment

donation made. loved all the name choices, and now I add Trooper Blue or Lucky Blue or Champ Blue. Oh, Lucky Sunny too.

Posted by: gee | December 20, 2018 9:09 PM    Report this comment

Frank. It's good, straightforward, not cliche, and a good old fashioned name

Posted by: sammybarb | December 20, 2018 8:13 PM    Report this comment

Since people insist on calling your little trooper "Blue", why not compromise (in a way) and name him "Sky". I'm pleased to contribute to your mangy-puppy fund. Good luck with all of them!

Posted by: ajhil | December 20, 2018 7:54 PM    Report this comment

It's just wonderful what you do for these little guys! I think you should name him Blanket.

Posted by: lynnfrbs1 | December 20, 2018 7:43 PM    Report this comment

Merle for Merle Haggard since he sings

Posted by: KJO | December 20, 2018 7:05 PM    Report this comment

Lawrence, after T. E. Lawrence, who was one tough, smart, and loyal guy.

He also went through many extreme physical challenges.

Posted by: shelly50 | December 20, 2018 6:38 PM    Report this comment

I also like "Trooper". And I agree with you about the wonderful, compassionate treatment
we get at vet teaching hospitals. We spent many days and hours over two years at the oncology department at Colorado State University vet school and everyone we encountered was terrific.

Posted by: cfc1949 | December 20, 2018 6:23 PM    Report this comment

I think you named him already in your article, Champ.
Bless you for all you do.

Posted by: dkgogs | December 20, 2018 6:01 PM    Report this comment

I just donated to the mange puppies. And I don't know why, but your little guy looks like a Rufus to me. Thanks for all you do. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: jae | December 20, 2018 5:37 PM    Report this comment

Sounds like a good name would be Trooper, sounds like he has been really good for everything he has been through.

Posted by: Beaglelover | December 20, 2018 5:29 PM    Report this comment

My 11-year-old and I have been following your journey with these pups, a true act of selflessness that is a model for all of us. He suggests naming the pup Bentley.

Posted by: Whimsleysfamily | December 20, 2018 5:20 PM    Report this comment

I like all the names (and agree with all the comments) , but I have to say, he's Lucky!

Posted by: pl | December 20, 2018 5:08 PM    Report this comment

I just donated $250 from Canada. Bless you for all you do for all the animals :)
I'd name him Leo - since he has the heart of a lion.
Merry Christmas!!!

Posted by: Kristi B | December 20, 2018 5:08 PM    Report this comment

Foster? Seems appropriate. I had a Foster once. Amazing dog. Sweet disposition and hell-bent on finding balls we'd given up as lost. He loved me desperately, as I him.

Posted by: bonniebmv | December 20, 2018 5:04 PM    Report this comment

I second the name Sunny, for his warm disposition and yellow coat (I thought of it before seeing another reader's same suggestion). Sending him healing waves of light, and a big thank you for your efforts.

Posted by: Yonder17 | December 20, 2018 4:56 PM    Report this comment

Im going to try to send something for all your angelic work. I also wanted you to know Coccidiomycosis (Valley Fever) can cause eye issues, as occurred with my dog. I realize valley fever usually only occurs in certain areas, but all hot areas can be in the soil (fungus), not knowing exactly where these puppies came from. Bless you with all the return care and love you provide.

Posted by: RozW | December 20, 2018 4:35 PM    Report this comment

Donation is on its way, a small one now but I'll try to scrape together something bigger by the end of the year. Thanks both for your good work (with these pups and beyond) and for writing about your experiences. I have a friend who did some animal recovery work in Paradise, and from talking with her know that I can't begin to imagine how tough that work is.

Please keep writing about the "mange pups"!

Posted by: Peter Shirley | December 20, 2018 4:27 PM    Report this comment

You said he howls. Ive always thought puppy howls sound like singing. Hence, Warbler might be my name for him. Hes soooo aforable. Bless you for all the live you give all your babies.

Posted by: Lulukay | December 20, 2018 4:18 PM    Report this comment

Mange puppy donation on its way. Hang in there. You truly are doing everything you can do. Bless you and those pups.

Posted by: maryvw | December 20, 2018 3:54 PM    Report this comment

he is a fighter, he is a blue merle so wot about "Soldier Blue" after the very old song sung by Buffy St.Marie- you could shorten it to Blue or Soldier as you like! give the little sweetie a kiss from me. x

Posted by: gill Horalek | December 20, 2018 3:54 PM    Report this comment

I just sent a donation, and the little guy looks like a Trevar to me.

Posted by: SEN | December 20, 2018 3:43 PM    Report this comment

You said it: Champ!

Posted by: MaryMcC | December 20, 2018 3:32 PM    Report this comment

id name him Trooper

Posted by: llf | December 20, 2018 3:26 PM    Report this comment

My brother had a similarly colored dog that was quite large and nice. His name was Indigo. I always thought that was a great name!

Posted by: ChrissyLiss | December 20, 2018 3:24 PM    Report this comment

Just sent a donation as suggested "for the mange puppies". Thank you for all that you do.
I like "Sunny" for his disposition and it would make sense with the yellow coat. It was also the name of one of my favorite dogs, who has passed.
Good luck and keep posting updates!

Posted by: joyful | December 20, 2018 3:22 PM    Report this comment

Willy Wonka, in honor of his wonky legs. Whatever you name him, you're an angel to care for him and his siblings.

Posted by: klsklg | December 20, 2018 3:22 PM    Report this comment

He looks like a Jethro to me.

Posted by: DreamWeaver | December 20, 2018 3:10 PM    Report this comment

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