Archive for July, 2013

Camp Kindness, June 2013

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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The Thank You Economy

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The Thank You Economy


Gary Vaynerchuk

5 Stars!


I LOVE this book.  It is the first book I read on my iPad.  My brother Dave recommended it and helped me install it.  Thank you Dave Nelson!

In The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk discusses WHY and HOW to use social media to interact with clients and potential clients online.  I already agreed with WHY and loved learning more about HOW and also loved the so-not-me loud, intense, super high energy that the author maintained for the ENTIRE book.  VERY fun.

This is the kind of person I would love listening to for an entire evening as I sat in the back of a party absorbing information and excitement about a subject I love, in this case, online client interactions.  I am pretty sure I would be excited about any subject the author spoke or wrote about, random stuff I wouldn’t otherwise give a second thought, like…wine.  I read it twice.

My very favorite part of the book is near the beginning when Gary Vaynerchuk compares the relatively new realm of online communities to the Real Life communities our great-grandparents enjoyed.  “Social media has transformed our world into one great big small town, dominated, as all vibrant towns used to be, by the strength of relationships, the currency of caring, and the power of word of mouth.”  (The Thank You Economy, page 55)


Thank you sir, for a wonderful book.  Thank you for all the new directions to take my online activity and simultaneously a renewed focus.  Thank you for reminding me why I love social media so much.  I love tweeting and blogging, but even more than the means of communication, I love people.  As different as the author and I probably are, that is one thing we definitely have in common.

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Important KC CVC Info 2012

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I can’t believe it is almost time for the Kansas City Central Veterinary Conference again!  I can’t wait!  I am sad Dr. Nicol will not be making the trip from Australia this year, but excited to see Dr. Roark and (I hope!) Dr. Burcham again and the whole Veterinary Economics and dvm360 crew.  A bunch of coworker friends are coming to KC too, so that will be fun.

I have been saving notes from last year to use for blog posts, and figured I better get the posts I have planned done before the conference is here again!

Here is my contribution for today.  Linezolid is an antibiotic that is $115 PER PILL (+ 1 year inflation, I assume.)  I promise never to prescribe it to your pet.


I am posting this picture of my notes because – not to brag – I thought this was an EXTREMELY cute picture of a pill.

The doc at the top of my notes is Charles Stratton, MD.  He said, in discussing the problem of antibiotic resistance, “Dead bugs don’t mutate.”  The more you think about it, the more brilliant you will realize it is.

I don’t remember if I was drawing it from a picture of him or not, or honestly, what the main point of the talk was or who was talking.  Unfortunately, that happens a lot, and my notes tend to look like this.  I do have a fun time taking notes though.

And sometimes I write down brilliant random quotes.

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Frank and Joy go to Camp Kindness

Friday, July 26th, 2013

I was asked to speak at Camp Kindness, the kids’ day camp at Nebraska Humane Society, again this year.  That is always one of my favorite parts of the whole summer.

Russ, Abby and Amanda helped.  We brought Joy the Puppy.

The second of the two days my vet tech friend Allison and her awesome cat Frank came with us.  That made it even more fun – Thank you Allison!

Frank and Joy did great together again.  Here is their story.








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The Referral of a Lifetime – My List

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

When I moved to Omaha, I had lots of what I thought were great ideas to make my career extraordinary.  I was resisted and smashed at every turn, which I think made  me better at career building skills.  Now that I have been in a healthy environment long enough to heal, I feel like I can come back to some of those ideas.  In a good situation, who knows how great things could be.

One of the exercises I did after reading The Referral of a Lifetime was listing 100 clients.  At the time I figured if I had 100 (random number) supporters, I could have a very solid career, and that has been true.  How much more  now in an excellent envoronment.

About the list –

These are clients I like, even ones with different primary doctors.

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Any of them I would trust to any of the other 8 GDAH doctors in a heartbeat.  That is such an awesome feeling to have that team.

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They could come or go – this is just a list of clients that make me happy now – even some that don’t have pets right now or may not again.

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I don’t know if 100 is a good number, but it is a start.  (I just counted – I listed over 100 off the top of my head on my first draft and am adding people daily.)

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I am writing this list because it is easy to get discouraged, and remembering good clients is encouraging.

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I would also include our whole team on this list.

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GDAH is my career.  This list is a GDAH list.  If I die or retire, I would want everyone I care most about to stay at GDAH.

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You can’t have favorite clients professionally.  It is nice to have that freedom in a list.

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You are on my list.  Always.

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T Shirt Rough Draft #3

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The design for the 2013 Gentle Doctor T-shirt has been sent to the printer.

Miranda thought the pregnant doctor looked fat.

I made her post-partum.

Angie did not like the baby.

The t-shirt designer turned the baby into a cat.

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I didn’t like the cat.  Well, you know, I like every cat.  But I like my prego pic, and this was too many steps beyond it, so we are returning to a doc with her hands on her hips like Dr. Rock and Dr. Vet.

So now we wait to see What’s Next!

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Vet

The Referral of a Lifetime

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The Referral of a Lifetime


Tim Templeton

5 Stars!


Super cheesy. Very simple. Those are my second and third favorite things about this book.

My very favorite thing about this book is that it made me dream. Any book that can do that will hold my attention and be remembered.

This is not a sales book.

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I put off reading it because I thought it was and then put off reviewing it because I thought you would think that it was.

This is a book about creating and maintaining relationships in a business setting. It is told as a story and is a very fast read.

I jumped into this system with both feet when I first read the book in 2005. Has it been that long ago??

photo (55)This is a bookmark Abby gave me when I first got the book. It is a picture of me drawn when Abby was 3. I still use it in the same book. It really was that long ago!

I had recently moved back home to Nebraska from Colorado and a veterinary practice I loved. This system – a business built on relationships – seemed to be in place naturally at Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital because of the good men running the place. Perhaps they had actually worked really hard at it? Maybe.

I know Dad has built his whole career around relationships, and it does seem to come naturally to him. I grew up watching Dad work and still admire how he runs his business.

But here was a blueprint! I made my list of favorite clients (Yes, YOU are on it!) – a database as recommended by the author – and my brother Dave made really cute cards with his and Sara’s dog Riley and their cat Abaye whispering to each other. Inside the card says, “Thank you for the referral! Our business thrives because of the kind words of our clients.”  This was PERSONAL.

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Russ and I spent our own money sending clients to the movies as thank you gifts week after week as referrals poured in. I loved it!

I was met with resistance at every turn. I was told, “If I have to hear MY hospital, MY team or MY clients one more time, I think I am going to…” I didn’t hear the rest of the rant. I was thinking, “I meant ‘my’ like ‘my friends’ not like ‘my property.’ You can’t own people! And it’s not my hospital…” When I came back around, that rant was over and a new one had begun. I knew it was the beginning of the end, but the years of resistance training – haha – had been good for me. My beliefs had been affirmed, fire tested and solidified. Relational business was the only way I ever wanted to practice.

Last week, I pulled those thank you cards out of the back of my cabinet (Not MY cabinet, but you know, the one above the desk I use. Oh, yeah, I have issues.) Anyways, I sent the first card I have sent in years to a very kind vet school classmate – Brad Peterson – who had referred a friend to Gentle Doctor who had just moved from Iowa to Omaha. Brad knows my boss Dr. Pete Bashara and me, and recommended that his friend see either of us. I got to see Brad’s friend, who is very nice, and his very sweet dogs, and I remembered how fun that was to do on purpose.

Once again I am at a great practice – one where any doctor and any combination of the team you see is going to be great. Once again, I am celebrated and encouraged with all my quirks and weirdness.

This book has been an anchor as I try to find where exactly I fit best. Career-wise I have found it, and it is good to be back in a great place. It is time to put that resistance training to good use and get back to purposely practicing as I do best. Thank you Tim Templeton for writing this little book. I love it and have read through it several times. It has impacted my career, my outlook and helped form some of my most rewarding business relationships. I will always be grateful for all of that. I think I will read through the book one more time.

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How to Braid Onions

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

I harvested, dried and braided our yellow onions this past week.  Onion braiding is a very fun project, and much simpler than you would think!  If you would like to learn how to braid onions, I will walk you through it.  When you are done, you will have a very pretty onion arrangement that looks fancy but is actually very simple and a fun and convenient way to store onions.

Send me any questions and send me pictures of your finished products!

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Just say no to onions! Good girl Joy!

Make sure you dry and store your onions and garlic out of the reach of your dogs and cats!

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It took a full week in the sun to dry our onions.

Cover them or bring them inside if it is going to rain.

Otherwise, leave them out to dry so when you braid them there is no moisture in the tops to get gross later.

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Once your onions are dry, gently clean the outsides of them with your hands to remove the dirt and any very dry outer layers.

You do not want to remove too much skin, but just enough to make the onion bulbs shiny and pretty.

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Pull or trim most of the roots off the bottoms of the onions.

Line three onions up on a flat surface with the tops facing you.

Now you are ready to braid!

If you can braid a rope or a pony tail, you can braid onions!

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Cross the onion top from the left into the middle of the other two onion tops.

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Cross the onion top from the right into the middle.

Set another onion next to the onion on the right.

Cross the onion top from the left along with the other top(s) on the left into the middle.

Set another onion next to the onion on the left.

Cross the onion top from the right  along with the other top(s) on the right into the middle.

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Repeat with rest of the onions until they are all connected.

When you are out of onions, continue to braid the tops till you cannot add more braid.  Tie the end in a single knot or tie the top together with a piece of rope.

Hang your finished onion braid on a hook in the kitchen!

When you need an onion, gently pull or trim one off.


Don’t include tiny, bruised or otherwise damaged onions.  Discard those or put them in a bowl to use first because they will not last as long.

Pull each twist of the onion tops as tight as you can.

If it seems the onion tops are not distributed evenly into three cords, you can move tops to another group.

Unlike with braiding rope or hair, the braid doesn’t have to be pretty, so don’t worry so  much about that.  When you are done, the other side with the onion bulbs will be the part that shows, and it will be beautiful!

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Done! I hung the finished braid on a hook in our kitchen. A saner person would have made two shorter (lighter!) braids that would be less likely to fall!  So far, so good though!





T Shirt, First Draft

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

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Confessions of a Surgeon

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Confessions of a Surgeon

The Good, the Bad and the Complicated…Life Behind the O.R. Doors

by Paul A. Ruggieri, M.D.

5 Stars!


Dr. Ruggieri is a human doctor – a general surgeon.  I found everything he said about his training and career fascinating.

As veterinarians, our training roughly parallels the training of M.D.’s until after veterinary/medical school.  Then we are let loose on the world and M.D.’s continue their training with internships, residencies and often further training.  A “finished” M.D. more resembles a veterinary specialist than a veterinary general practitioner.

Even so, as a general veterinary practitioner who does surgery, I related to some of the scary/exciting/rewarding tales of O.R. events, to the struggles of client communication, to how every surgery shapes you as a doctor, to the bonding with families and the grief over loss.

We deal with pets, also family members, but Dr. Ruggieri deals with people, human family members – spouses of several decades, children, grandparents…  I cannot imagine the gravity of having a human life in my hands, and often wonder how much more stressful it would be and if I would have had the fortitude to train and practice on that level.  I do not think that I would.

If by some chance I DID have the fortitude, and I got through the YEARS of training and YEARS of experience, and ended up in the surgery Dr. Ruggieri described in one of his first tellings (I will not describe it here – Some of you put your sandwich down and glare at me if I say “cat abscess.”  Geez.)  ANYWAYS, I think even if I could have and did reach that point, I would not say, “I just bought these shoes!”  I would say, “I think I am going to  be a writer!” and walk out of the O.R. and never look back.

This book is not gross.  (That story was, but it was also fascinating).

Subjects I barely have to consider – lawsuits, health insurance (MUCH different and more straight forward in the veterinary world!), following cases for years – loom around every case for Dr. Ruggieri.  The stress has to be wearing, but it seems as though the author balances the salary, the unique brand of excitement and career satisfaction inherent in being a surgeon and the chance to save lives with those very real, very prominent challenges.

Dr. Ruggieri is a highly trained, exceptional surgeon, but he is also filled with compassion.  I have trouble not calling a puppy by name as I spay her.  He has trouble not seeing a patient in pre-term crisis as a Mom of a grown family years down the road.  But he goes into surgical mode, gloves up and saves lives.  Daily.  Just reading it exhausted me.  And the stories are SO good.

Omaha has two veterinary surgical specialists, both excellent.  I scrub in on every surgery of Dr. Merkley’s that I can.  I read every surgical report Dr. Thoesen sends over.  I LOVE being around surgery.  I LOVE having completed a cool surgery.  I do not love being in surgery.  So for me, this book was perfect.  I could be in the O.R., imagine I was handing over gauze sponges, and be right in the middle of every case.

I think as a medical professional, or even more as a lay person – you will love this book.