Many years ago when I (Dr Lucinda) was still wet behind the ears as a relatively new vet, I was working in a busy 24x7x52 veterinary referral hospital. A friend of mine was a junior in the surgery department and was in the early stages of studying to become a specialist surgeon. We had big plans for our futures and were always ready to tackle the next big case!
One weekend a very distressed woman brought in a young cat that she'd found on the side of the road. It was a stray male, not yet castrated and without a microchip. He was in a bad way; too weak to lift his own head and struggling to draw breath. We suspected he'd been hit by a car but with no owner or animal welfare organisation willing to spend a lot of money to try and save him, his future looked hopeless.
He had ruptured his diaphragm and his liver had moved into his chest, which was making it very difficult for him to breathe; he needed surgery to correct the problem and because we had already named him Peanut (once you've named 'em, it's hard to forget 'em!), my friend and I decided to hatch a cunning plan for his care.
We went to the hospital's owners, showed them Peanut's x-rays, and pitched the heartwarming (and heartfelt!) idea that the difficult surgery would be a wonderful teaching opportunity for my colleague... of course under the caring, watchful eye of her mentor (i.e. one of the owners). We earnestly explained that the hospital could write off the surgery as an educational cost and we promised we would rehome the cat afterwards.
Well, being decent folk, they pretty quickly took the bait (sneaky devils that we were!) and once Peanut's condition stabilised after two nights in ICU, he went into surgery and... survived! In fact, he made a full recovery and was soon walking around his cage purring and asking for attention, almost like nothing had happened. He didn't even seem to notice we had removed his testicles at the same time!
So now we had to keep our word and find him a home (a fact the hospital manager kept reminding us of every morning after rounds). So I targeted an unsuspecting couple I knew and honed in on the one with the softer heart (of course!). Well, after this softy met the adorable Peanut, he was simply hooked and took him home that very afternoon.
Peanut is an old cat now but still lives happily in that home I practically suckered his owners into giving him.
The happy stories in animal welfare somehow make the sad ones a little easier to bear.
Love... and other stuff too
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