Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Which I Have a "Puppy Day"

For those of you not in the know, I got a new job.  Today marks my completion of the first, tumultuous week.  I'm a vet technician, which basically means I'm a nurse for animals in an exotic animal hospital in San Francisco.  I work 11 hour shifts, 4 days a week.  Add commuting, and you've got yourself a 13 hour work day.  It's long, is what I'm trying to say.  I am, quite literally, on my feet all day long.  Taking temperatures from fractious cats.

Side note: "fractious" has become one of my new favorite words.  It's a nice medical sounding word for basically saying, "That cat is an asshole!"

I've assisted in drawing blood, I get all the vaccinations ready, watch surgery and tooth cleanings, and all kinds of other small jobs that are beyond fascinating to Yours Truly.  Then again, I was also that kid who would stay in to watch surgeries on the Discovery Channel, and I still never pass up the opportunity to watch some program on parasites.  Man, that botfly is disgusting!

All in all, it's wonderful and exhausting.  Euthanasias are something I don't think I'll ever get used to.  You should know, pet owners, that once we've gotten the job done in a calm manner and done the best for you and your pet, we then collapse in back and pass boxes of tissues around.  It's not easy.  Not for anybody.

Yesterday was my last day of the first week, and also the first day there were NO euthanasias, making it kind of awesome.  In fact, I called it "Puppy Day," since ever patient was under 15 weeks, and little wiggly creatures.  Every one of them is happy to take all kinds of shots, if you'll just let them kiss you.
My favorite was a 10 week old Irish Wolfhound.  That calm temperament, those sweet eyes, it was hard not to just sit with him and sniff that puppy smell all day.  His mother came with him, as company, and I got an eyeful of just what this pet owner was in store for.  The mother was over 160 pounds!
160 pounds of dog!  She could reach the shelf where we keep the treats, and as my feet were pinned under her, I was more than happy to allow it.

Rounding the day off were Burmese Mountain Dog twins.  2 years old, full of energy and hair, and not at all happy to be at the dreaded vet's.  They were in for anal gland expression.  If you don't know what that is, count yourself lucky.  Very, very lucky.  The smell will linger, either in my clothes or memory, till my last days.