I have been headed in to work later in the mornings, since we haven’t been as busy. On my drive, I try to take a moment to experience nature to counteract the daily stress.  I work to notice fragrant lilacs.  I see redbuds budding. I seek out the white and pink dogwoods in full open bract. (The showy ‘petals’ are a modified leaf surrounding a cluster of tiny yellow flowers.) Less showy, but mulberry, maple and oaks are also in full bloom.  If beautiful trees and blooms were not enough of a hint, baby bunnies and birds have started to show up for wildlife rehab. There is no doubt, it is spring!

There are some wildlife young that need to come in for treatment, but many do not.  A bunny that is cut needs care, but mowing over the nest alone is not a reason to bring them in.  Put a milk crate over the disturbed nest and the mom will come back.  In the wild, she only feeds them once a day.  Likewise for baby birds, make an artificial nest out of a small plastic tub.  Put drain holes in the bottom and nail it as high as possible in a tree and put the baby birds in it. Mom and/or dad will come back and feed them.  If they are hurt, we are here. If they are not, leave them be. Pro tip: if they are quiet, they are not in danger.  Many orphans do not make it in rehab; for most, the chances are best with their parent’s help.

Social distancing, curbside and split teams are taking a toll on us.  I am working longer hours and my team is working harder.  After the end of the day Tuesday, I worked a bit at my desk after the staff left to get a few things done, but mostly to process the day and relax a bit before I headed home.  As I headed into the kennel to get my dog, Whiskey, I noticed for the six-hundredth time how poorly the paint had held up on the kennel floors.  I know the contractor was rushed to get us into the building, but the kennel run flooring looked chipped by the time it was 6 months old.  I had wanted to shut down the kennels and replace it this January and February, but we were too busy.

Roxy continues intensive care on oxygen for viral pneumonia. Ranger will start chemotherapy.  Avery needed another enema. Bella had a urinary tract infection. The cooper’s hawk that Mike and I used to see when we were hawking was hit by a car and has a fractured pelvis. All of these are necessary cases.

That night, it dawned on me!  We are actively turning people away. That means we are not busy right now.  In between cases, we can now fix the floors!  The next morning, I put Rusty in charge and sent him to the best mason man that I know.  I’m sure Chuck was surprised to get a call from Rusty.  Chuck didn’t want to do the job, but told Rusty how to do it.  M’Kinzy said that she wanted to paint murals in the hotel rooms. Brandon and Brian had pressure washed the kennels and said they wanted to paint the walls in the runs also. Rusty took Brandon on a parts run and they came back with some sort of concrete cleaner, paint, and supplies.  Suddenly there were several projects in the works. Brandon and Brian have been painting since.

Monty is a beautiful seal point cat with severe dehydration.  Blood work and radiographs don’t tell us a lot, but he needs IV fluids.  On fluids, he looks better.  His parents can call, but they cannot visit.  He will be with us throughout the weekend. Without treatment, he could have died.  At very least, he would have had significant organ damage.

M’Kinzy has learned some wicked artistic skills at the theater portion of her college program.  She has taped off a section of the safari motel room and is painting an African savanna.  She only asked for five colors of paint and has the dry savanna and blue sky with a tree and an elephant.  Josh has been helping with that project also.

Buddy is not the typical parvo case.  Maybe his parents have caught it sooner than most, but his test is a strong positive.  He will be on IV fluids and antibiotics and care for a few days. His owners were extremely grateful that we were essential and available to save Buddy.

Early after the teams split up, team B put up the new cabinets in the practice manager nook.  Debbie had worked on getting office supplies put up when Erika started organizing.  As Erika got a file cabinet emptied, she decided it didn’t need to be there any more.  In moving it out, she found the floor had not been waxed under it and was discolored.  She then decided that we should move out the cabinets, desk, file cabinets, copier and lateral files.  After this spewed into treatment area 1, Rusty helped with stripping the floors to be waxed.  I’m not sure how Erika will decide to put everything back in, but there will be a bit of overdue shredding.

In between triage calls, Lindsay and Katie have been working on updating charts.  Everyone will be helping as other projects are completed, but every file will be checked for accuracy and the summary updated.  Sometimes when it is busy, it is hard to keep the summary up to date.  Now we have time. We will also be pulling the charts of clients that we have not seen in the past couple of years.  These will be moved to the less accessible file cabinets.

Becka had the first two kittens four days before we saw her. They were both dead, but there were two more inside her.  At this point, it is an emergency surgery.  A dead, macerated kitten was lodged in the birth canal. The diseased uterus ruptured and nastiness spilled into the abdomen.  Lots of flushing and antibiotics to clean up the surgery site.  Nobody would question the emergency nature of this surgery. As it was, she remained on IV fluids and antibiotics for two more days before she was ready to go home.

The team as a whole is working on cross training.  Before the separation into teams, team members had areas that they did best at.  We talked about cross training and worked to improve it, but really when it was hectic and a bill needed put in, Lindsay or Stephanie did it. Erika would do all the outpatient invoices.  Now I have had to put in some of my own bills, but Katie and Rusty are learning supercodes and protocols. Likewise Stephanie and Rusty did most of the dental cleaning and surgery monitoring, but now Katie, Lindsay and Erika have stepped up to learn more.   Josh has moved up to become a decent holder although I am called more often to hold now that my team is divided. 

Lloyd was not a happy cat.  With only a brief exam, I could tell there was significant swelling around the tail.  The owners were sure that she had not been out, but this is a common area for love bites.  Cat mating includes cat bites and fighting tom cats try to castrate their foe. Because we would have to have Lloyd under anesthesia, we got permission for a spay also.  She had a large and probably painful cyst on her right ovary.  After the abdominal surgery, we lanced the large abscess and cleaned it up.  

I have used this time to fill out no less than four applications for the stimulus loans and then changed banks. (Still waiting, but hopeful.)  Even this weekend, I will come back to complete a Schedule C that is needed but not due for months.  The project that I want to get started on is developing our electronic library.  I want to get an electronic brochure, web based new client forms, email handouts and explainer videos.

Being essential means some things are familiar and many are different. In the morning as I drive to work, I love the colors of the dogwoods, redbuds, and budding trees. I work hard to appreciate the beauty of nature.  At work, I love to see the spring cleaning and projects and work on the urgencies and emergencies.