Worst Day Ever

One day as a large animal veterinarian, (code for horse doctor), I responded to a call for a trailer accident with horses trapped in the trailer. The car pulling a trailer with 2 horses did not negotiate a hill ant this resulted in the trailer tipping over on its side. The fire department also responded. None of the young women in the car were injured, and the firemen and I successfully removed one of the horses with minimal injury from the trailer. The second horse was trapped. We tried everything to free the horse, but were unable to do so.

As I watched the horse struggle and being injured by the metal parts in the trailer, I made the decision that the only way we could get that horse out of that trailer was for me to use the field anesthesia I used so often to perform minor surgical procedures

First I would give a sedative, then follow with a short acting anesthetic. When used in the field, I was able to lay the horse on the ground, do my procedure, wait a short time, and then have the horse wake up and stand on their own. Easy-peasy most of the time.

So, I shared my plan to the firemen. They were on board. I administered my medication and, as expected, the horse stopped struggling, relaxed, and was sedated as planned. Since firemen arrive with water in their trucks, we sprayed water on the horse, the ramp of the trailer, and as much under the horse as we could. Then we – me and 6 strong men – pulled the horse free of the trailer.

It was great to have the horse free. One problem solved, but one just beginning. Being forced to recover this horse on the road presented some pretty significant challenges. There were ditches on the sides of this country road and, as I began to recover him, he tried to get up too soon. The short acting anesthesia is short acting, but it does need some time to clear the body and allow the horse to stand without being wobbly.

As the horse began to wake up sooner than able, he stumble and rolled. Off the road. Into the ditch. Then, he continued to try to get up too soon and continued to roll down the ditch and down a ravine and into the water at the bottom of the ravine. There was no way I could stop this because the horse weighs too much for a person to stop them. With the riders of the horse standing there watching me and all this, I kept thinking was ‘this just keeps getting better.’

I stood there speechless praying he would not break a leg or his neck. I knew he was an athlete, but this just kept getting worse. His rider and I jumped down into the ravine We stood on each side of him with ropes. I had her place a towel across his face to make him think he was sleeping in the hopes that he would just stop trying to walk until more of the medication wore off.

Finally he was steadier on this hooves. In his athletic jumping fashion, he hopped up the incline out of the ravine out of the ditch to the road level. He was still a little wobbly, but walking well enough to not endanger any of us handling him or himself. We found a nearby farm that allowed us to place the horse in a stall to repair the injuries he sustained in the accident. I spent two hours repairing his cuts and medicating him. He may not have been able to do his show jumping that day, but soon afterward he was back in saddle again- so to say.

I am thankful that all worked out in the end even though I was never more terrified in my life for all the events that happened this day.

Share your worst day ever with us.

Gale’s Story- What do our pets do while we are away?

This past weekend I went to see the movie”The Secret Life of Pets.” It was positively delightful. But it made me think about what my pets do all day. Oh it is easy to think all they do is sleep. But every time I pull in, there is Newman at the door waiting for me. Back in the day, when my daughter was small, she would receive a Christmas gift from the dog/ cat. Usually it was pajamas or slippers, but always something. One year, she asked me how the dog got out to go shoppi

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Gale Kovach's photo.

The Amazing Things They Do


When the recession hit several years ago, one Ohio friend and her husband sought employment in West Virginia. They decided to make it an adventure and traveled there in an RV with their two dogs.

They had an aged dog named Shelby. I had taken care of her as a veterinarian for many years. Now she was at the point in her long life that she slept most of the time and had slight difficulty getting up sometimes.

They also had a spry young little pup named Penny. Penny had enough energy for 5 dogs to tell the truth.

They were in West Virginia over the summer months and one day it was quite hot outside. Shelby was resting on a blanket in the RV when my friend saw Penny take hold of the water bowl with her paw and drag it across the floor to her friend, Shelby. Thoughtful for sure.

When they came back to their Ohio home, I visited one day to learn each day my friend came home from wherever she had been she would give both dogs treats. One day upon her arrival home, Penny met her at the door for her treat. After taking the treat, the pup ran into the other room but returned quickly looking for another treat.

My friend told Penny, ‘No, I gave you a treat, this one is for Shelby.’
When she went into the room where Shelby was, she discovered that Penny had unselfishly delivered the first treat she was given to her friend, Shelby. Penny did receive another treat and told what a very good girl she was.

It always amazes me how often I am surprised by the wonderful things dogs do.

Share a story with us about something your pet has done to surprise you!


4th of July! FIreworks

As a veterinarian, I have many clients share that their pets are frightened by fireworks. We are coming up on the holiday again! And, YES, fireworks.

My friends, Kathy and Harold, shared their story with me so I could share with you. They have had many dogs and have always known of the common issue of fear many dogs experience with the loud noise of fireworks.

They live in a Southwest suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, where their home sits in the direct path of the booming sounds and the flashing lights and the fizzles of fireworks. The entire light show can be seen from their living room.

So, when Sadie, their collie, was a puppy, they made it a point to help her with the noise and flashing lights of fireworks. They wisely sat with her during the entire fireworks display, pet her gently, and said, “Gooooood Sadie,” in soft soothing voices. As they gave her treats and made this a ‘happy’ and safe time, she became less and less fearful of the fireworks.

After many years, Sadie was able to sit in Kathy and Harold’s driveway as they all enjoyed the fun of the fireworks together. Their son commented on how calm she was during the display!

While this worked for Sadie, their neighbors chose to take their pet away during the fireworks. Since the neighbor was as close to the display as Kathy and Harold, he chose to avoid the event altogether because of the distress he noted in his dog. We are not sure where he takes his dog, but we know he is a thoughtful owner to the pet.

In addition, clients have told me thunder shirts have helped their pets endure fireworks as well as storm thunder and lightening. Others have chosen medications. However, you help, we hope it helps. Our pets need to know they are safe with us.

My little dog Fluffy just seems content to hide under the bed.

Share your secrets with us and all our readers, please!