Posts Tagged ‘Gentle Doctor’

Max the Cat Loses Weight

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Max the Cat is our 16 year old kitty.

The Incredible Max the Cat

I may have mentioned before what an incredible cat he is.

Max was in for his wellness care the other day.  He had lost ANOTHER pound.  He used to be twelve pounds.  Now he is 6.6 pounds.  This most recent pound was lost in the past nine months.  At Max’s age, that’s scary fast to lose weight that is not lost on purpose.

A sixteen year old cat losing weight with no explanation on examination, urinalysis or blood work is a strong suspect for cancer hiding somewhere.  Look at me being objective and doctor-y about my own cat.  I can (usually) do it when needed.

I called Dr. Krapfl, who does ultrasounds for most of Omaha and whom I work with at Gentle Doctor (one of my many favorite things about Gentle Doctor – blog post idea – write THAT list).  “No rush…” I said calmly.  (Calm AND objective!  You know this can’t last through the whole case.  This is MAX!)  What Dr. Krapfl heard was “my cat”…”16″…”weight loss” and within SECONDS (a couple days) Max was upside down with his tummy shaved having his first abdominal ultrasound/cancer search – me praying for no cancer and Dr. Krapfl probably praying I would not cry.

I’d Love to Go to Work with You, But I am Washing My Ankle. Sorry.

In those couple days between weighing Max and reviewing his lab work and his ultrasound, I went through all the possible emotions associated with all the possible outcomes.

I diagnosed a ten year old (SO YOUNG) cat who was feeling great, eating great and losing weight with probable intestinal lymphoma, and bawled.  You are right, I would have bawled anyways.  But he is six years younger than Max!

At the doctors’ meeting, we discussed the most recent AVMA euthanasia guidelines.  Every time someone said “euthanasia,” I sniffled.

I tried to dwell on the fact that Max has been too skinny for almost a decade…and the 25 year old cat I once knew…and how great Max felt…and I spent the time I was not sleeping at night petting Max, and telling him things would be okay.  He didn’t really seem interested in what the future held, but loved the attention.  Cats are awesome like that.

Today came.  I packed Max up and headed to work.

Noodle Wanted to Know Why Max was in His Fort

The entire team rallied to support me.  Dr. Thomassen said she was going to have me help with a detail of a case but she would get it in case Max’s appointment ended sad – “Then you can just get home with him.”

Dr. Belfiore came into the appointment with me.  “I’m going to hold him so you can just be the Mom.”

And Dr. Krapfl said my favorite thing of all.  “Well, you could have done this on a work day after all.  I have no sad news for you.”  “I might still cry, Bob,” I said.  “Oh,” he said.

“I can’t promise you ten more years,” he said.  “26!” I thought.  “I was hoping for 25!”  And then I did cry.

Clearly, I was no longer being calm or objective, so I thanked Dr. Krapfl, tucked my cat under my arm, and ran to the corner of the doctor office, set my kitty on the desk, and wrote down all the things Dr. Krapfl ACTUALLY said, and my thoughts on follow up care.

When You are Overwhelmed, Write a List!

We tested Max for feline leukemia (negative – yes!) and feline immunodeficiency virus (negative – yes!)  Over the next few weeks, we will run a few more tests, but the Big Scary Stuff that was keeping me up at night has been ruled out.  My day is TOTALLY made.

Max Contemplating…

Max Being Awesome

Max Back at Home, Resting with his Poodle – Don’t Tell Anyone He has a Poodle Friend! 

Thank you, Dr. Krapfl!  

*Mental Hugs*

Pet Blogger Challenge 2013

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

Thank you again to Amy of Go Pet Friendly for hosting this, the third annual Pet Blogger Challenge!

And Dr. Edie, I miss your Frankie stories and love your new blog, Freud’s Butcher!

Here are this year’s Pet Blogger Challenge questions, and my responses…

1. How long have you been blogging?  

I have been blogging here on Riley and James since September 2006, so a little over six years.

I have a comic (a blog of sorts I suppose) called “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Vet.”

I have also blogged at Wagging Tail, dvm360, Life with Dogs,, Smart-Pet Guide and CareFRESH and done some guest blog posts.

I am helping start a professional blog in 2013 for the veterinary hospital for which I work, Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals, which I am very excited about!

Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Here is my Riley and James Pet Blogger Challenge post from last year:

Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

The purpose statement of Riley and James is “To Promote Preventative Care of Pets in Order to Enrich the Lives of Pets and Their People.”  THAT is still the most important goal of this blog.

3. Have you made progress toward this goal, or have your goals changed over the past year?

I HAVE made progress toward that goal – more in Real Life lately than through the blog.  I started working at Gentle Doctor part time in September 2011 and moved to full time in May 2012, and that has taken up ALL of the time I used to spend writing!  I love my job and my coworkers and the clients and patients.  I miss writing as much as I used to, but it has definitely been a very positive change.

4. How often do you post?

Currently I am only posting a couple times a month.  Life got busy!

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the Spirit moves you changed?

Nope, I still do not blog on a schedule, but I love reading blogs of people who do post on a schedule, especially bloggers who post daily or even more often, and I admire their organizational skills!  I will post on a schedule for the hospital blog, and have for professional assignments, but it is fun to keep Riley and James low key.

If you don’t publish on a schedule, why not?

I think my attitude online mirrors how I deal with Real Life – I don’t talk much, but I will if I have an important thing to say, or a fun story, or a picture I want to show someone!

As far as sharing on a schedule, I do great sharing pet specific and general veterinary information with clients every 20 minutes all day, and I love it, but it exhausts me!

Likewise, I am capable of blogging on a rigid schedule, and working hard no matter how I am feeling, but it takes much more energy!  Still rewarding – both in Real Life interactions and online writing –  but a different feel.

How do you think your decision affects your audience? 

Without a schedule, it is probably difficult for readers to know when to check back.  I announce posts on facebook and twitter, and send an email to my Dad whenever I write something, so I know what I write is being read by people I care about :)

How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”

My loose and informal post-worthy tests:

  • Do I feel strongly about this?
  • Is this an important pet topic?
  • Do I have a different take on this topic (whether or not it is pet related) than others?
  • Is this a fun or pretty or cute picture? :)
 6. How much time do you spend writing your blog?
Each blog post takes me between two and twenty hours to write.  Medical posts take me the longest.  Picture and story posts take the shortest amount of time (unless they are “Short Stories” – Those actually take me longer to get under 50 words!)  Most of my time is spent revising rough drafts.  I don’t even count anymore, but I usually have over 20 rough drafts of each post.
How much time visiting other blogs?
I spend as much time as I can visiting other blogs, mostly about pets, but also about spiritual topics, gardening, and other things.  Many are written by friends, and those that aren’t written by friends are written by people I feel could become friends.  I love to read, and I love what you write!
Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.
Decide what you want from blogging.  It is very fun, but can become overwhelming.  You can’t read ALL the posts, or even ALL the blogs.  You can’t write ALL the things.  Sometimes you just have to link to excellent things others have written, or trust your readers to find what they need to learn more or save topics for another day.  If it is not fun, back up and figure out why, readjust and continue.  Most of blogging is self-imposed scheduling and direction, so be nice to yourself, and tweak things so it is fun.  It will shine through in your writing.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?  Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

I have not checked Riley and James statistics over a year, and have loved having this site as an escape of sorts.

When I return to blogging professionally as a part of my work, I will measure blog visits, interactions and learn how to measure return on investment somehow, maybe by new client visits?

Some aspects of blogging – affecting people’s attitudes towards pets, causing someone to think, making someone smile with a cute picture, shaping my reputation online, meeting and getting to know great people – are not measurable but are some of the most rewarding parts about blogging, so…short answer…I don’t know!

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

You guys post great stuff, you show up and support me, you send me fun projects and include me in fun group projects.  You love your own pets, you support other people and their pets and you rescue the pets who are not yet to their forever homes.  You are the best of the best and you already help me more than you could ever know.  So that.  THANK YOU.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

This year, I would like to continue to promote preventative care of pets in order to enrich the lives of pets and their people.  Oh, and home every Omaha cat.  And also shut down puppy mills.

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And a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss…you will be floating in space…the closest star is Proxima Centauri and it’s 4.2 light years away. So you might be ‘among’ Proxima in about 1 million years. But then you are only among a single star. It’s not possible to be among multiple stars because they are so far apart from one another. -Alex Krasny


This time around, coming up with New Year’s Resolutions has been difficult.

I’ve got Prove the Cute Vet Wrong in 2013, but you knew that one.  I thought only Dad and Russ knew that the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t.  Even before this article came out – which I actually think is very, very good – I have had an all consuming obsession with the Gentle Doctor blog-to-be.  I have a year’s worth of weekly posts written.  Oh yeah, I am crazy.  In a good way.

On a related subject (online work projects) I would like to continue to manage and grow Gentle Doctor’s Twitter presence with the help of Dr. Krapfl and Angie and our new Breed of the Month thing.

Also, I meant to lose a Standard Poodle in 2012, and I lost a medium sized Poodle mix, which is still something.  So, next year, I would like to regroup, refocus and lose another medium sized Poodle mix!

3000 more followers on Twitter.  I don’t talk about follower count on Twitter much.  First of all, it isn’t up to me, it’s up to you.  And second of all, it seems like shouting about it would ruin things, and NOT shouting would allow things to keep going well, like being really quiet when you see a butterfly, and now I am in a beautiful swarm.  Only I do not know if butterflies have ears.

It is a common misconception that veterinarians know every little thing like that about every animal.  Mostly we know about dogs.  (Kidding!  Mostly.)

I do know that I am only “ahead” of the next veterinarian/hospital on Twitter by a couple thousand followers, and if we were a comic they would be my arch enemy, and they advertise like crazy for followers, and so that’s fun for me.  Even so, if I only had the tiniest group of friends on Twitter, and you were in that group, it would be as fun for me as it is now.

I have loved working with the dvm360 team, and would love to do more writing projects together.  That breaks about 60% of the S-M-A-R-T goal setting rules, but there it is.  It is what I want, even if I am not sure what it is yet!

Same goes for the Square Foot Gardening team.

There’s Penelope Dog. She will be in the December 2013 Veterinary Economics edition, so there’s that.  That matches up better to specific, measurable and all that, huh?

Penelope, we love your face!

Here’s another nebulous goal – continued success at work.

And another – continued healing.  Oo that’s kind of serious.  Things are good and getting better.

Family time.

Garden time.

Poodle time.

And cat and puppy time…This will be the Year of the Old Pet.  Joy the Puppy is only three, and just needs a disproportionate amount of attention.  Max the Cat (16) and Noodle the Poodle (13) though are really starting to show their age, and just are going to need lots more care than before, if things continue to move in the direction they are.  Stupid mortality.  Actually they are doing quite well.  We have a carpenter to build ramps all over and a vet to fret over their health and kids to help with pet care.  We should be set!

I hope 2013 is the best year yet for you and your family!

Happy New Year!!

Nebraska Humane Society Walk for the Animals 2012

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Words that are Hard to Spell

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

In general, I cannot spell well in English.  English spelling is ridiculous.  I can spell medical words fairly well because they are usually just obnoxiously compounded Greek and Latin descriptions of medical things.

Dalmatian has never been difficult for me to spell.  I have always thought the third “A” looks nice with spots.  That is the best I can explain that.

Basset, as in Basset Hound, is almost impossible for me to spell.  In fact, I looked it up just now to tell you that.  There is a city in Nebraska and there was a furniture store in Omaha, and of course there is the incredibly awesome dog breed.  Those three need to get together with each other and anyone with the last name of Basset or Bassett and agree on one spelling.  For me.

I need to get all my stupid thoughts out here on Riley and James because at the beginning of the New Year I am helping to develop the online stuff for Gentle Doctor, and it probably needs to be more focused and a bit more serious.

If I start a weekly hospital blog, will you read it sometimes and come discuss stuff with me?

As always, here on my personal blog, you get stuff like my thoughts on how cool I think the word Dalmatian is, which, though less important than medical issues, is something about which I feel just as strongly.  Thank you for being here.  I think you are awesome.



Happy Memorial Day and…Squirrel!

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Happy Memorial Day to you and your families.

THANK YOU to the men and women of the United States military who have kept and continue to keep us safe and protect our country. Thank you Dad and Dad-Finch.  Thank you Grandpa Rasmussen and Grandpa Everingham.


View Down Our Street Where Flags are Lined Up Three Times a Year

I love our neighborhood.  Reason #93 (or so :)) – The neighbors who have lived here since the homes were built in the mid 1940’s put a small flag out for every neighbor who wants one every Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veteran’s Day.

This year, Russ and I helped.  We also put a flag in the yard of the new bike shop on the corner to say, “Happy Memorial Day.  We are so glad you are here and hope you feel like a part of the neighborhood.”  The shop owner drove by and waved, which I think meant, “That is exactly what I thought you meant, and thank you.”

Here are some pictures from the week…


Robins' Nest that Abby Found at the Park Near My Work

Baby Gizmo - Puppy at Our Neighbors' Movie Party - Doesn't she look like Joy??

Tucker Dog at Movie Night

Oscar Dog at Movie Night

Baby Gizmo and Tucker Dog are new friends.  Oscar Dog and I are old friends.  His family is Jeff and Lu and their son and their cat – five of my very favorites in the whole world.  Oscar and Henny Penny Cat are also patients, something, surprisingly, they have never held against me.

Squirrel! Black Squirrel playing on our fence

I commented from the Aksarben Farmers’ Market yesterday that if I can focus on the babies or dogs in a crowd, I can relax.  Otherwise, I get antsy, and I need to be at the edge of a crowd if possible.  Vernon asked if I have a social anxiety disorder, and I said I probably do, though it has never been formally diagnosed.  I do okay though.

On a related note, Lu laughed that all of my pictures from Movie Night were of the dogs.  But I otherwise acted Almost Normal.  I love people!  Just more than a few strangers at a time gets overwhelming!  I spent much of the evening talking with a friend of Lu’s who raises African Tortoises (How cool is that??) and also Gizmo’s Mom, who it turns out, loves super cute black Lab Something puppies as much as I do.

Pictures from Work…

These pictures are from the @GentleDoctor120 twitter account. Dr. Bashara let me start it for the team, and it is very fun.  Because Dr. Krapfl and Angie are also involved, there is helpful medical information in the twitter stream as well!

This is Trudy, the Super Cute doggy of my coworker Koni

This is on the white board at work.  Every day we add things and every day we change the border.  Fun!

Positivity Corner

Here are a few pictures from my parents’ backyard. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful??

Everything I know about fish medicine, I learned from helping Dad with this pond

This is what Mom and Dad do when they find out a ground hog is living under the shed. You see why I am the way I am?? They named him "G" which Dad and I both find hilarious.

This is the view that would be lost if the field behind Mom and Dad's is developed, which may occur soon. To the right of the picture is my high school Millard North.

Websites I am Reading this Week…

I Miss You When I Blink

Thank you Dr. Roark!

The Bloggess

Dr. Grumpy in the House

Veterinarians Behaving Badly

New Games I Have Found…

Logo Quiz

(Thank you African Tortoise Farmer!)

Draw Something

How sweet is Russ? :)

I would have added you to my Draw Something group if I knew how.  I think I am “Finch93” if you would like to play with me.  It is super fun!

Happy Memorial Day!

A Super Cute Bulldog

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Dr. Merkley – my veterinary school surgery teacher and one of Omaha’s super awesome veterinary surgical specialists – was at Gentle Doctor today doing a really neat surgery. It was dalmatiantastic. And pretty bloody. He had me take pictures. I just finished sending them all to him.

Also, Dr. Merkley let me take pictures of his super cute Bulldog, Sophie. I even made him late for the rest of his day so I could get the perfect picture. It was worth it, you know, to me.

Turns out I got lots of perfect pictures of Sophie. I thought I would share those with you here instead of surgery pictures. Because I love you. You are welcome.

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

Switching Veterinary Hospitals

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Thank you for coming with me.

Thank you for telling your friends to come with us.

Thank you for trusting me with your pets.

This is going to be good guys.

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If You are Switching Your Pets from One Veterinary Hospital to Another, How to Make the Move as Easy as Possible…

Transferring Records:

  • Call your previous veterinary hospital and ask them to fax veterinary records of all pets to your new veterinary hospital.


  • Call your new veterinary hospital and ask them to call your previous veterinary hospital and have veterinary records of all pets faxed over.

In most situations, both veterinary hospitals involved in a procedure like this will be eager to help you and be good at getting records transferred for you.  Potential issues…

  • Legally, you need to be the one to request the transfer, not your vet or your new hospital.  Uhg!  I REALLY wanted to do this for Ernie Dog, but even then, Mom and Dad had to call, just so he could get his next dose of Revolution (which he approves of by the way…)
  • If you call right when you need records (like during your first exam at the new hospital), either or both hospital staffs may be busy and may not be able to transfer records right away.  If you think of it, have them help you before you actually need vet care so records will be ready and waiting at the new hospital.
  • You do not NEED to have records transferred, but I would recommend it for two reasons…
  1. The new hospital will have a record of chronic issues and previous medical history and laboratory values.
  2. Exact dates of wellness examinations, vaccinations and laboratory test results will be on file, which helps as we plan your pets’ medical care from here forward.
  • If you need medication refills and such, the previous hospital may be able to fill prescriptions if your pet has been seen in the past year and refills are available.  You may need to transfer records to the new hospital and have prescriptions filled from there.  That is a generalization and probably confusing!  Here is the real solution:  If Ike/Ernie/Noodle needs meds, he can have whatever his little Poodle heart desires/needs and I will help you make sure he gets whatever that is!

I say, whatever Ernie wants, Ernie gets! :)


Wellness Plans

In the specific situation of transferring from Banfield to Gentle Doctor, your dogs or cats may have Wellness Plans that need to be cancelled.  You can call Banfield Pet Hospital of Papillion directly, or Banfield’s Wellness Plan Relations Team.  They will help you determine if it is less expensive to cancel the entire year that your pets are on and pay “full price” for what has been used, or let the plan continue until the end of the year and set it to not renew.

Helpful Numbers:

Banfield Pet Hospital of Papillion…………………………402-331-1108

Banfield’s Wellness Plan Relations Team………….1-888-649-2716

Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals Main Number……..402-445-4400

I will be mostly at the 120th and Blondo location, but if you call, they can tell you where I am and when.  I will be available roughly three times as often as before and, as always, will be seeing dogs, cats, small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.  Thank you Gentle Doctor team for adding exotics back onto the list of Pets We See.  At least one team member has very severe allergies to some exotic pets, so make sure you hug them and thank them for putting up with me and my bunny love!  Just not when you have your bunny with you…

Greeting card Dave (Secret Penguin) made for me long ago

Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals Website

and just for fun…

Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals Facebook Page

I love THIS conversation:

Me to super awesome doctor (eight times over) I am shadowing or super awesome support staff (fifty times over?  I dunno.  I’ve lost track of the Gentle Doctor super awesome staff numbers):  “May I go into this next room with you?”

Super Awesome Doctor/Tech/Team Member:  “Nope, go ahead.  They requested you specifically.”

You all are making this the best transition ever.  Thank you so much!



I Got a Job…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

With all that has happened this month career-wise, I figured I would be a blog post writing fool. So many stories! I think I know a big part of the reason why I am not…

I am so overwhelmed! And when I am overwhelmed, I stand in the corner of the room and drink Diet Coke and process. When I am less overwhelmed, I write. And when I am totally comfortable, I interact in Real Life almost like a Normal Person.

So, as I start to regroup and write about things other than and Stuff Before September, I will fill you in a little now and later.

I am happy, excited, nervous, and still a bit overwhelmed. Everyone at Gentle Doctor has been really kind and really patient. Friends and Family, including Former Teammates I Love and Friends at Nebraska Humane Society have been super supportive. I can hardly believe I get to be a part of the Gentle Doctor team, but I know it is going to be great.

Wow, when I leave the drama out, it makes for a short post! I will go draw you a cartoon with my Sharpies to try to sum up my emotions and add it here at the end.

I hope to be back to Interacting in Real Life Almost like a Normal Person by sometime next week and will probably be taking appointments then! You can call Gentle Doctor and ask…they are super nice! :)

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Do you want a post about the logistics of switching veterinary hospitals? I really appreciate you and your family and your pets supporting me over all these years and changes and if you would like to come with me, I do not want it to be any more of a pain in the neck than needed! Mom said I should add a specific post about switching veterinary hospitals, and except for a short period in early adolescence, I have always done what Mom says to do, which has always turned out to be very wise.


A New Adventure

Friday, September 16th, 2011


I would miss you, Team. But I will still be in Omaha with you. And you are not only my Fellow Lovers of Animals, you are my Friends. I would miss you Clients and Patients, but you are Awesomeness, and I know I will see you soon.

I love you Family and Friends. You are the best. Mom and Dad and Russ you have walked me through this, and Karen you have prayed me through this, and Siblings-I-Love, you have cheered me through this, and it’s gonna be fun here on the other side of there. I would not set out on a New Adventure without you.