House calls are such a fun part of our practice. It’s always entertaining to me to get to see that side of people and to see their pets in their natural element. Way back in the early PRAH days, that is all Jen and I did….but now that our business is so busy, we have to squeeze them in when we can, and have a rotation on Fridays to get them in!
There are a few fun times that come to mind with house calls – the first wasn’t even the house call itself, but as we were driving down 563 on our way to a house call, right up the street from the practice, there was suddenly a black furry creature on the side of the road. I was with one of our techs, Nicole, and I remember exclaiming – was that….a pig???? I pulled a U-turn and sure enough, a big pot bellied pig was happily snuffling the grass on the side of the road. Perplexed, we got out of the car and approached her, and she happily snorted and trotted right up to us. Well, this is clearly a pet …we looked around and there was a farm in the distance down a long driveway, so we figured that was a good place to start.
I grabbed a leash and we started calling into the woods – Hello? Did someone lose a pig??? Sure enough, in the distance we hear, ‘Myrtle! Come ‘ere girl!’. So I yelled back – is Myrtle a pig by chance? She sure was, and after a good chuckle with her owner, she was safe and sound and we were on our way.
Another favorite time was the creepy mini basement ordeal. This time, it was myself and Bubbie on an adventure. It was a house call for vaccines and wellness exams for 3 cats, but when we got there, they had not been contained. So we spent about half an hour wandering around the house looking under beds and behind furniture – we found 2 of the cats, and the owner then directed us to the basement for the third, and then left us to our own devices. Ok ..this basement was accessed through a door that is about 3 feet tall, at best, and was filled with old furniture and pictures and all sorts of very old, very musty, nonsense. I vividly remember Bubbie and I looking at each other like, she can’t be serious? So we fumbled around in the near dark, looking for glowing eyes. We did eventually find her, and as I balanced on top of an old rotting chair, I was able to slide her out of the duct work she was hiding in and bundle her up in a towel so I could examine her.
It is actually surprising to me how often pets are not ready for our house calls and we find ourselves climbing around in basements, or sliding out beds, or using broom poles to gently coax out a scared cat from under something we can’t move! We have had our fair share with dogs too…especially ones who live on a farm, where we are traipsing through a field to find them.
The few times I have been talked into looking at a chicken or sheep too, have always been fun. Like the time I looked at some sheep with hair loss and scabs and frantically racked my brain until I remembered – sheep get keds! A type of lice that clears right up with some topical treatment! I was pretty proud of that one that I remembered, and that they got better!
And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not complaining…I actually find these situations to be delightful in an absurd way. It’s always refreshing to me to get a break from practice, and to get to chat with pet owners in a different space. In another life I think I could have rocked the large animal vet life...but I just love dogs too much to give them up on a daily basis. So I will settle for pleasant nonsense here and there, and the occasional chicken, or basement adventure.