Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's a Girl to Do? Charlie's Story...

Livin' the good life!

Now, let me tell you, I have some attitude. I’ve had to!  Things started a little rocky and well, here I am ready to compete in my first dog show.  Excited and nervous, all at the same time.  But, let me start at the beginning.

I was not planned.  But I was here with my seven siblings.  When we were old enough, all of my littermates were adopted. All but me.  I put on my best manners and loved up to anyone who would listen, but to no avail.  At last, a family took me home to live with them.  Life was good.  I had children to shower with all kinds of kisses!  But one day, my family forgot I was outside when they left the house.  It was a hot July day and I was snoozing in the only cool spot I could find, under the car.  I woke up with my legs in excruciating pain!  What happened!?  My legs were the victim of ‘tire poisoning’.  Run over in my own driveway.  My family rushed me to the Animal Clinic in Wilmore.  I was not afraid.  I had kisses to pass along to my girl who was crying as she hugged me.  How could I help her?  I tried wagging my tail and licking her tears. Then they left me. 

I did not know it then, but I was to start a new life with a new family.  The staff at the Animal Clinics of Wilmore and Equestrian Woods took me under their wing and vowed to fix me.  Severely injured, with no guarantee I could recover from five breaks in my legs and pelvis, I continued to keep my positive attitude, passing out kisses freely and never stopped waging my tail!

Three surgeries later, I was hobbled by a hip to toe cast and struggling to accomplish the routine of daily life.  I was young though, and my bones were still growing and healed quickly.  Since my recovery required close daily supervision, I began to spend weekends at Dr. Carl’s house.  My spirit never waivered and by November, I had ingratiated myself to Dr. Carl, but more importantly to my new dad. I knew it was a done deal when I took my first road trip to the beach.
Lazy dog day at my wonderful home!

My new life!  I’m told I am a very lucky little dog. My new name was Charlie Chip, after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Able to walk, run and jump after all I have been through!  I have two goldens to mother and four cats to herd.  Mom even takes me running at the farm with Chip, our horse.  I am a diligent chaser of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, and any bird wandering into my path.  But, I was missing my desire to help someone.  So, when clinic staffers participated in obedience classes, I enthusiastically signed on as Brandi’s partner!  Best Friends Obedience hosted us for six wonderful weeks of training and I had so much fun!  I graduated on the first try!  That is when Mom had her ‘aha’ moment and our training for Rally obedience began.  We have spent many hours training and our first show is next week.

Practicing my show face!

I am unique at the AKC sanctioned Bluegrass Classic dog show as this is only the second year that mixed breed dogs are able to compete.  That’s me, a mixed breed all American dog!  Bonnie, acting as my press agent, has me scheduled for four television appearances:  A local celebrity! Stay tuned for updates about our show ring experience.

One thing for sure, none of this would have been possible without every person who has touched my life.  I know now how blessed my life has been.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Horse Doctor!

Hi, everyone, Jordan here! Although many of you may not know me, I worked at Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods and Wilmore throughout high school and college. I’m in vet school now, and even though I want to be a horse vet after I graduate I still love working at the clinic on Saturdays.
As pet owners and caretakers, you all already know about the health problems a vet like Dr. Carl treats every day. I’ve spent the past summer working with an equine veterinarian, so I’m going to briefly tell you about a day in the life of a horse doctor!
The first stop of the day often involves ultrasounding mares to ensure that their pregnancies are progressing normally or to see when they are ready to visit the stallion. Some mares have trouble getting pregnant, so it’s a relief when the doctor finds a tiny fetus with a flickering heartbeat on the screen of the ultrasound machine.

The September thoroughbred yearling sales at Keeneland are fast approaching so it’s very important to keep the young horses at the peak of health and fitness. The veterinarian is often called to farms to suture lacerations, treat skin infections, radiograph hurt legs, and diagnose and treat various diseases. The yearlings entered in the sale must also have “survey” radiographs (over 30 films!) taken of their legs and joints. The x-rays will then be examined by veterinarians and prospective buyers for any problems in bone conformation.

Whether they are racehorses, polo ponies, or jumpers, horses may develop sore and inflamed joints and damaged cartilage as they age. One way to help keep these athletes comfortable and participating in their respective sports is by injecting the joints with medication to help relieve discomfort and improve joint function.

Though Lexington is the “horse capital of the world,” not all of our area equines are involved in racing, reproduction, and high-end competition. Many people keep horses for casual riding and their own enjoyment, and these horses need care just as your dogs and cats do. An equine vet frequently administers annual vaccinations, examines eye ulcers and stitches up lacerations, diagnoses allergies, takes x-rays of lame horses, and treats hoof abscesses and colic. While the patients may be 10 to 100 times larger than your average cat or dog, the goal of equine veterinary medicine is the same as that of companion animal medicine: to prevent illness, relieve suffering, and improve the quality of life of the wonderful animals around us!

Photo credits:
1.       Equine pregnancy ultrasound at 35 days:
2.       Keeneland September Sale:
4.       Carpal joint injection: