Archive for July, 2013

Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Orientation

Friday, July 12th, 2013

A few weeks ago a nice client brought a hurt Mallard duck to us.  Nebraska Wildlife Rehab came and got him and took care of him.  They are always doing nice things like that.

The good people of Nebraska Wildlife Rehab have helped me with countless bunnies and baby birds through the years, many of which I never see – I just direct kids right to their number or to my other Favorite Group, Nebraska Humane Society, which works closely with Nebraska Wildlife Rehab.

Sometimes all people need is the advice to let wild animals be, and I can and do provide THAT, but if they need anything else, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab is the best group to help.

So Jan and her family, Rae-Anne and her husband, Russ, Amanda and Abby and I all went to their Open House the other day.  Janie, Matt, Liam and Emma and Leda went too.  It was very fun.

Then Russ, Amanda and Abby and I went to the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Orientation which was led by Brittney on Saturday, July 6, 2013.  Mostly I wanted to hold a baby raccoon.  We did get to see them, so that was neat.  And Abby got some good pictures of them.

Also, the guy who used to deliver oxygen to the two Gentle Doctor locations I work at was there with his family.  If you know me, you know I love that sort of thing.  (Well, yeah, oxygen, but I meant, you know, connections.)  He is very nice and so is his wife, and so was the entire group – about a dozen – of would-be volunteers.

I don’t know What’s Next, but it is going to be fun to find out.

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Baby Raccoons!!

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The Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Center near Louisville Nebraska was donated in 2011 by Ash Grove Cement.  It is a very neat building!

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My ever-tolerant family!  They will always support the things I am excited about.  Which sometimes ends with them getting to see baby raccoons!

Areas in Which Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Needs Volunteers:

Animal Caretaking

Volunteering at the Center


Transporting Animals from Nebraska Humane Society to the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Center

Rapid Response – Picking Up Animals from other Locations as Needed – Like when they came to get Mr. Duck from Gentle Doctor

Newsletter Writing

Organizational Tasks

Building and Repairing Cages

Land on which to Transition and Release Animals

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The Church Garden

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

I’ve gotta throw in a pet picture here soon, or you’ll think I’ve moved on from veterinary stuff to gardens and books and stuff.  I haven’t.  I love it all!

For today, here are some pictures of our little garden plot in the community garden at Westwood Church.  We are letting a lot of things go to seed this year at home and at church in an attempt to eventually have self-sustaining gardens.  Except for Bright Lights Swiss Chard.  I don’t know how to do that one.  We’ll probably always buy a packet of those awesome little seeds.  Anyways, because we are letting a lot go to seed, this week the garden looks a bit scroungy.  Here are some pictures of right before that!


Radish and pea flowers


Close up of the radish flowers – we are growing three kinds of radish seeds.


Radish and pea plants with carrots next to them.


The whole plot.


The whole plot after the spinach started going crazy!


This is a box near ours – I thought their tulips were beautiful!

On a related note…gardening…I found the most amazing site.  We were at Karlie Knoepfler’s high school graduation sitting with some of our favorite Finches, Burton and Anita.  (Our other favorites are us, our family, gold – Iowa state bird! and Gouldian.)

ANYWAYS you know how there are some people you pray for and hope are doing well and kind of lose track of but hear now and then they might not be doing well and then you worry?  Oh, well sometimes that happens to me.

ANYWAYS, Burton Finch said that Andy Williams, who Russ and I volunteered for when he was the youth pastor at Westwood Church and his family have a farm, and Burton sent me a link to their website, and it is AWESOME.

Urbanna Farm

A normal blogger would have said something straight-forward like, “since this is a post about gardens, here is a neat garden-related link.”  I tried, I really did.  Andy, I am glad you and your family are well, I will miss your Mom at Westwood and your family farm is amazing!

Thank you Burton!

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When I Grow Up I Want to be a Super Hero

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

This year Angie let me design the annual Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital t-shirt for the Nebraska Humane Society Walk for the Animals.

My daughter Amanda did the editing and added the logo.

Here is a rough draft.  I will show you the final draft and t-shirt as soon as they exist!

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The Happiness Project – 5 Stars!

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Happiness Project


Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun


Gretchen Rubin

5 (Gold) Stars!


(Note to the author even though I read that you do not read reviews of your own work, and besides, I am a pretty small fish, but in case  you do read this…Reading this review may contribute slightly to your overall happiness.  I love this book, and I love your writing!)

I love this book!  I am currently reading it for the second time.  Then I am reading “Happier at Home,” also by Gretchen Rubin.  I also read Gretchen Rubin’s column “The Happiness Project” in Good Housekeeping.

In fact, check out page 112 of June 2013’s Good Housekeeping in which an interview BY Gretchen Rubin WITH Susan Cain is printed.  You might die of happiness.  So maybe don’t read it.  If you do, be careful.

This book was a gift from one of my Real Life favorite women, my sister-in-law Cara.

The author took one year to focus on researching happiness and boosting the happiness in her own personal life.  She focused on one aspect of happiness every month.

It didn’t hurt that she also has – I assume, based  on her own descriptions – a sweet, sexy husband and two wonderful daughters.  “Me too!  I think I will like this book!” I thought.  I also love the cover.

When I read the book for the first time two years ago while we were on our Nelson family vacation in Colorado, I looked up at several points during my reading.  In the distance was a beautiful mountain range.  Next to me was my Mom, one of my favorite people in the whole world, and directly in front of me on the deck were my niece and nephew playing.  It was such a peaceful time, one of the best weeks I can remember.  But it SO clashed with how my life at home was going.

Benjamin Beaver

Benjamin Beaver was carved right into the logs of the cabin where we stayed…along with his footprints.

Every time I looked up from my book I would think “Life should not be this hard.  I should not be this stressed all the time.  Everything in my life is so good.  Well, except for work, but I love veterinary medicine.”  At the time, I only worked one day a week, and had for several years, but I hated it, and I was miserable the rest of the week too.

It wasn’t that being on vacation was more restful than Real Life.  It was just such a stark contrast to Real Life that I hadn’t realized how anxious I had been all of the time for a really long time.  I knew life would not always be a vacation in the mountains.  But I don’t need the mountains.  I don’t need vacation.  For me, my family and a good book are about all it takes to make me wildly happy most of the time.  And for that whole week, away from work, I was wildly happy again.

Two months later, I quit my job, started my dream job, and have been wildly happy…remember, my idea of “wild” is family, a good book and being mostly content most of the time – ha!…I have been wildly happy ever since.

I would like to think – in fact I KNOW – this book was a part of the kick in the butt that got me here.  I also know that life is a lot more complex than that.  Life circumstances, family support and my own decisions all helped lead me to where I am today – I promise if that major life change had blown up in my face, I would not ever blame a book or an author or even Life or family – I took some pretty big risks knowing I was deciding to take them!

That being said, “The Happiness Project” was part of the beginning of a new chapter of happiness for me.

THANK YOU Cara for the book.

THANK YOU Gretchen Rubin for writing it.

I LOVE this book and will be forever grateful for this part of that turning point.

And now, two years later, in a happy and stable career situation, and with life overall just really good again, I can read the book a second time from a healthier place and say “Some of these things would be really fun to try.”

And so I will.

The first time around, thinking of starting my own unique happiness project from scratch was just overwhelming.  Yes, because of Life, but also because I like boundaries, rules, lists of things to do.  An open-ended happiness project would not work for me.

I have decided this time around, I will do a year long happiness project, but go literally by the book, starting with Month 1, in which, for part of the month’s focus the author dealt with clutter.  This has always been a struggle for me, and always makes me happy when I have clutter under control, so I will start here and see where the year takes me.

May you always be surrounded with as wonderful of family and friends as I have, may you always have the courage (or insanity) it takes to make the Big Changes and little changes that need to be made, and may you have a book as good as this one  to inspire you and the down time to step back from Real Life and read it.

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Becky and Buck got married.

Monday, July 8th, 2013

My coworker and friend Becky who is a veterinary technician married Buck this past weekend.  Our coworker Trey, also a veterinary technician, was the officiant at the wedding.  The wedding was beautiful.

Congratulations Becky and Buck!  We are all so happy for you and wish you a continuing lifetime of happiness together.

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Signs of Wisconsin

Friday, July 5th, 2013

My favorite of all the signs I saw in Hayward. “I love you Grandpa Bob” by Charlie


Sign in the window at Sophie’s Dog Bakery and Boutique in Downtown Hayward:  “Pet Parking – Leave Your Pet Here While You Shop Locally.”  How sweet is that??


Also at Sophie’s Dog Bakery and Boutique:  “Attention All Dogs – If you see something you like, just pee on it.  Then Mom and Dad will have to buy it for you.”  Haha!  We should have this sign.  True story – If pets pee on toys, we wash them and use them for the boarding pets to play with.IMG_1510Sign at Northwoods Craft and Variety in Downtown Hayward – “Work hard and be nice.”
IMG_1516Sign at Walmart in Hayward – “We are proud to say that customers have had a safe shopping experience for 2 days.”

“Caution:  Contents Hot.”  Great ice cream made on site at West Dairy in Downtown Hayward.


Cow-Shaped Cheese!  In Wisconsin!  Awesome.

Sign in the River Deck Restaurant at Lumberjack Village – “Think deeply; Speak gently; Love much; Laugh a lot; Work hard; Give freely and be kind.”

IMG_1841Hayward Wisconsin, we like how you think.

Happy Fourth!

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

3 years ago, our hairless dumbo rex rats, Fuzzy and Wuzzy,  won second place in a beauty contest.  Just kidding!  If it had been a beauty contest, it would have been FIRST place!

Three years ago, our Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats won second place in a national Fourth of July pet photo contest.  They placed after an adorable baby Bulldog, which I thought was very impressive!

Here are the pictures of Fuzzy and Wuzzy eating rat-sized watermelon slices in 2010.



Wuzzy (left) and Fuzzy (right).  Fuzzy wanted to know if Wuzzy’s watermelon was better.


Fuzzy – “Hey, move over so I can try your watermelon!”


Fuzzy decided Wuzzy’s watermelon WAS better.


Wuzzy continued munching her melon while Fuzzy checked out the camera.  Hello, Fuzzy!

Happy Fourth!!

You can read about Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats in the Wuzzy Chronicles of – Wuzzy Rat, Part 1 HERE and Wuzzy Rat, Part 2 HERE.

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Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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From “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Vet,” July 2012

Have a very happy Independence Day!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Five Stars!


I absolutely love this book.

Remember my sort of new rule?  Always judge a book by its cover.  The cover of this book is a beautiful, soft, cool grey.  It reminds me of our sweet little hairless rats, Fuzzy and Wuzzy.

Fuzzy Rat

I realize that authors do  not always choose their cover designs, and I realize that better people than I say NEVER judge a book by its cover, but perhaps some great mind chose this cover on purpose as a kindness to introverts who would be reading the book.  A beautiful soft cover (I imagine the cover designer thinking) would be comforting as we introverts sat in the corner and read our book about introverts as the world carried on around us.  (It was.)  My theory could be true, because…

According to the author, introverts are highly reactive – things in our environment affect us more starkly than they do others.

THAT was the first big point from the book that I have had to ponder.  I had always defined introversion as drawing strength from internal sources and extroversion as drawing strength from external sources.

Still true, I believe, and I believe the author would support that definition, but she also cited some very compelling research that supported the idea that introverts tend to react more  strongly to their environments than extroverts.  It makes sense.  Introverts often need peace, quiet, time to recharge.  Extroverts often need interaction, people, friends around.

Study of one…

  • I am easily overwhelmed in a crowd.
  • I want to punch the big screen TVs in our church lobby every time I see them.
  • I love music but need to either listen to music or concentrate on a project.
  • I close my eyes when I am talking to clients on the phone so I can focus more intently on exactly what their pets need.

I am an introvert, and I am highly reactive – very sensitive to what is in my environment.  It has been interesting to think of introversion/extroversion from that perspective.

Introverts are great.  We knew that, right?  We are people lovers, we are excellent leaders, we are often amazing speakers and we are thinkers.  Thank you for saying all of those kind things Susan Cain.  We knew that, and it is not always obvious to the world.  It is not like we are going to yell it on a street corner!  We are just going to continue loving people, leading, speaking, thinking and living our lives.

Extroverts are great too.  We knew that too!  They are some of our favorite people.  Without the “other half” we would not have a fun, exciting, balanced world.

Stretching beyond your comfort zone – as an introvert or an extrovert – may sometimes be beneficial when it involves something that is very important to you, but do not stretch yourself too far outside of your comfort zone, and do not be dishonest with yourself.  Be true to yourself and your strengths.  This is a HUGE relief to read after a lifetime of being told to step outside my comfort zone.  Don’t.  Unless you need to and then get back to where you are most comfortable, because you were created to be you, so be you.

If you are an introvert and you love what you do but it has extrovert requirements, find ways to recharge during the day for your own long term well-being and in order to continue to do your life’s work well.  Since reading the book the first time (I read it again to write this review, which made me want to read it a third time) I have made conscious changes in my work day in order to continue to have the energy to do what I love and need to do – work with my veterinary team and client families to protect and restore the health of pets.

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I get to work a half hour early whenever I can.  Not to work, just to sit.

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I chose a desk that faces the corner of the office.

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I spend much of my lunch and break time alone.

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I color between appointments.

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I took on much of the social media portion of the business because I love social media and because I believe in the company, but I have found as a wonderful side effect the ability to invest hours researching and creating, which is healing and restoring down time that balances well the rigors and emotions of the rest of the work day.

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I LOVE spending my days with my coworkers.  I LOVE spending time in exam rooms with clients.  I love meeting people, talking on the phone, consulting with experts.  All of this, as much as I love it, is as physically and emotionally draining for me as I imagine it is charging for an extrovert.  It is difficult to explain what a to-the-core people person I am when I need to spend time away from people in order to be with them again.  Even to me it sounds strange.

Susan Cain says it is not.

And for that – the validation of me as an individual – and the validation of introversion as a trait to be celebrated and nourished, I am most grateful.

Thank you Susan Cain.

AND thank you to Rebecca Tudor, veterinary surgical specialist, for introducing me to this wonderful book.

I think that whether you identify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert, you will enjoy reading this book, and it will stretch your thinking, in a good way, not in a beyond your comfort zone way.

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Happy Hide Under the Bed Day!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I love almost everything about Independence Day.


Almost.  I literally tear up every time I see, read about or hear about how rattled dogs become at this time of  year.


Some of it is straight out nervousness or fear – Dogs in general are very sensitive to sound and in general love routine.  This holiday is VERY loud and in Omaha follows an already loud storm season filled with pressure changes to which dogs are also very sensitive.  The loudness of fireworks is also unpredictable and random – which adds to the scariness for dogs.


Thank you Omaha for making the terrifying portion of the celebration legally longer than one day.  Think of the dogs when you pass legislation!!


Cats too become frightened – and much of this might apply to them, so take what you need and apply it to your poor scaredy cat too.  However, cats have been practicing all year for this time – if you have set up your home to be cat friendly – and I know you have – each cat has at least one high perch and one low hiding place to which to retreat if need be.


So that is noise fear.  Annoying, but manageable, yes?


Some dogs have noise phobia.  This is different.  Or maybe not.  It is more extreme.  It is the difference between someone preferring not to be around crowds or high in the air or ___ and a full blown shutting down crowd or height or ___ phobia.


Some dogs are not affected at all by the loud noises of storms and fireworks.  If that is your dog, now is the time to be thankful!  Some dogs – maybe most – are on a scale between unaffected and phobic – somewhat fearful of the noises associated with the holiday.


For those of you with dogs who ARE fearful this time of year, remember…

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You cannot ignore or scold your dog out of a phobia or use a phobic state as a training time or reason a dog out of a full on panic…You CAN and SHOULD love and comfort your dog through a hard time.

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You cannot start training, Thundershirts, music and medications on July 1 and expect them to be 100% effective…You CAN and SHOULD do all of these things anyways – at least the ones that seem to help.

Use the upcoming year to learn as much as you can so that next year storm season and Independence Day will at the worst be tolerable, and at best be boring or even enjoyable for you and your dogs.

You may already KNOW all the things, and it is just as good as it is going to be for  your dog.  Think how hard it would be if he or she did NOT have you!  You are doing a good job, and being near you and having you help them through firework season IS comforting.

Do not feel bad if you have not spent the past two months preparing for this week!  Dogs with phobias are often completely normal between episodes.  Often dogs with noise phobias have no panic attacks between July and July, thank goodness.

Here are some things that I hope will help NOW.  Feel free to add to the list!

Anti-anxiety medication – Call your vet and ask if this may be helpful for your pet.



DAP Spray – a calming pheromone spray for dogs – similar to Feliway for cats

Rescue Remedy

Calming music – I love Through a Dog’s Ear – Here is a free download from their website!

A quiet, safe, maybe dark place – a kennel, a small room, a comforting and familiar rug

Above all, keep your dog INSIDE or on a leash – July 4 is the number one day of the year for losing dogs.

Doggy ear muffs – Oh yeah, someone makes them.



More comfort


Puzzles, Kongs, toys

Here are links to things I have written before…with links to things OTHER PEOPLE have written before!

Scared on the Fourth of July

Getting Through the Fireworks

You know, there is nothing new under the sun…except when there is.  What I have learned this year that I did not know before is that using the month or two BEFORE you need a Thundershirt to work with your dog to associate it with happy times – called “coupling” – will make it tons more likely to be helpful, especially long term.  Thank you for that information Dr. Stokes!  I promise to remember that next May!

Thank you so much to friends Alicia Weiland and Janelle Van Riesen for letting me use these pictures of your beautiful pups!

Happy Fourth Everyone!  Let me know how all your brave and hoping-to-be-brave pets do!

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Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats never struggled with phobias. They were not so much brave as oblivious to anything that was not edible or a toy.