We Are Worthy

I had a good therapy session today. I have been struggling with a lot of things lately, often related to how other people see me and how that negatively impacts my self-esteem and mental health. When COVID-19 put me into isolation, I finally started seeing a therapist. I let you know that I would let you follow along in this journey. Today was a very important day.

For the first time in my life, I could say and believe that, “I am worthy.” Not because of actions or achievements, but by nature of being alive, by nature of being, I am worthy.

I am worthy of love.
I am worthy of respect.
I am worthy of responsibility for my actions.
I am worthy of responsibility for my inactions.
I am worthy of life.

I want you to know that you are worthy as well. You are not alone if you have struggled with this concept. Today, I cried for the last 41.5 years of my life that I missed out on knowing and believing this. It is never to late to learn.

#YouAreWorthy #IAmWorthy #WeAreWorthy #NotOneMoreVet #NOMV


Today marks the 32nd day that I have been in isolation after having a possible COVID exposure and signs develop. I have not been able to be tested, so have been told repeatedly to just stay in isolation until I have gone 72 hours without any symptoms (no cough, no low grade fever, etc.). It has been hard, but I realize many people have it much worse than I do. I have some money saved in the bank. I have people that check in on me. I know that I am loved. I know that even though I am isolated, I am not truly alone. I have my people near and far – we are still together (thank you internet!!).

Photo Credit Brian Pasko     https://brianpasko.com


A veterinary colleague shared a story from her work today that hit me in the gut. Her patient needed to be euthanized and although the owner couldn’t be physically present for euthanasia due to the current COVID protocols, she let him know he could be present via Facetime or whatever program.

His response broke my heart. He said, “I get it. I’m a respiratory therapist. We’re doing terminal extubations by Zoom right now.”

As a veterinarian, I know I have medical training that would be helpful on the human side (even though humans are the one species I am not licensed to work on). I have signed up to help where I am needed, if and when I am needed. Today, with this conversation, I finally realized what I really want to do on the human health side.

I want to be someone that sits with the COVID patients. Someone that can give general updates to the family (because the doctors and nurses have been so busy it can’t always happen as frequently as families would like). Someone that can just be there for the people so that they are less alone. I know veterinarians snuggle our patients all up when they are hospitalized, but the human side can’t do that. I want to try and help decrease the psychological pain that these people are going through – before and after intubation and extubation. I know that this would also be helpful for non-COVID patients that are hospitalized. Loneliness is real. Hospitalization is scary.

I don’t know if this is possible. I don’t know if someone is already doing this. I know the risk. I know how to maintain proper bio-security measures. I know how to be there.

I don’t know if this is something other people would do. I hope so. I hope that there can be a way to make this happen. If you have contacts, please let me know. Have them contact me.

What would you like to do? What have you done?
How would you like to make a difference? How have you made a difference?

Are you a teacher that is struggling to meet the needs of your students? Have you dropped off their homework or done a car parade? Are you a parent that is now working from home and helping to supervise your children’s’ education while trying to hold it together and still have made masks or treats for others? Are you home alone trying to keep it together; reaching out to your friends and loved ones? Share your stories!

We can’t do this alone. We need to come together, while staying physically distant.

#WeAreTheCavalry #WashYourHands #InThisTogether #YouAreNotAlone #BrianPaskoIsAnAmazingPhotographerAndFriend #BrianPasko

The Easter Bunny

I was all set to write an amazingly thoughtful evaluation of the first Easter and Easter 2020. That was completely derailed by my amazing nephew, Trenton. I love this kid so much. He is thoughtful. He is caring. He loves animals. He is an amazing young artist. My sister shared Trenton’s card to the Easter Bunny.

Trenton’s card to the Easter Bunny

But, wait! There’s more!!

Trenton’s card to the Easter Bunny (inside)

I love this kid! The card reads “Dere easter bunny take the $ you deserve it”

May your Easter be blessed and may your family bring you joy.

#WashYourHands #WeAreTheCavalry #COVID19Easter

#EasterBunny #OhTrenton

#JesusSaves #HappyEaster

Thanksgiving and Christmas for Easter?

During this time of chaos, many people are home and finding all sorts of things to keep them entertained. A wonderful friend of mine has been going through boxes as they have moved relatively recently (but who has time to get to all of those extra boxes?). Emily came upon this wonderful letter that her son, Jameson wrote many years ago.
Letter from Jameson to Santa

Emily shared on Facebook what this letter means, “Jameson wrote his name in cursive, still believed in Santa and was “checking in” with Santa to encourage him. He never asked for a thing, though he was a sycophant in some ways😊💕 He hopes Santa will get a head start on his work so he doesn’t run out of time and wasn’t depressed, and hoped he was respectful of Mrs. Claus and the elves. He also wanted Santa to know that if he ran out of toys to remember that people “adore you for who you are”…and remember “you get to take at least 5 snack breaks” and to have fun and just be yourself.”

To this day, Jameson, at almost 17 years old, is still wonderful and caring. Helping his younger sister with her schoolwork and tackling yard work without any prompting. An amazing kid has grown into an amazing young man.

We all need to remember to look out for those around us. Let those that we care about know that we care. An old fashioned letter or card is pretty exciting these days (just let it sit for 24 hours before opening it!). Helping a neighbor or friend that can’t get out of the house. It is not just the elderly and immunocompromised that need help. Parents need a lot of it right now. Single parents that can’t go to the store due to only one person being allowed in. Healthcare workers that can’t risk going to the store after working with COVID-19 patients all day. Even Santa Claus needed someone to let him know that he wasn’t alone. It took 7 year old Jameson to teach us that.

Thank you, Jameson.

Remember #WashYourHands #StayAtHome #WeAreTheCavalry

Lions, Tigers, and Me! Oh, My!

Many of you have likely seen the reports about the tiger that tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo. The lions and tigers are sick (only one tested due to the required anesthesia for the sample collection). They are all doing fine now after developing respiratory signs.

UPDATE: The test that was run to test for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was a veterinary test. The tiger did not use a test meant for humans.


What does this mean?

  • It is possible for animals (ferrets, cats, and possibly dogs) to “catch” COVID-19 from people.
  • There is no evidence that people can “catch” COVID-19 from household pets (or zoo animals for that matter).
  • If you are sick, minimize contact with your pets as much as possible, to be extra careful.
  • If there is someone else that can care for your pets while you are sick allow them to do so.
  • You DO NOT need to get rid of pets or kick them out of your home.
  • No animals have been shown to have developed severe disease or died from COVID-19.
  • If your pet does get sick contact your primary care veterinarian and discuss options and testing. COVID-19 testing is generally not recommended for pets at this time. If your veterinarian feels it is reasonable to do so, they will need to contact their state veterinarian for directions and recommendations.

Please feel free to ask me or your primary care veterinarian questions about this. Please do recognize that your primary care veterinarian is also working very hard, along with their staff, to take care of animals and people in a very difficult time, so if it is just a general question about COVID-19 and animals, ask me. I am in isolation and have time. Your vet probably does not.

Boots and Olaf

(My house panther does not approve of being separated while I am in isolation)

Remember to #WashYourHands #BeKind #StayHome

#WeAreTheCavalry #HelpThoseThatCannotStayHomeByStayingHome

Just Be

There are so many things that are going through my head today. Some are important. Some are frivolous. Some are serious. Some are random. So, what have I been thinking about?

  • COVID-19 and isolation
  • I am out of cheese!!
  • How can I help others while I am in isolation?
  • Am I going crazy? Is my fear and anxiety normal?
  • Sadness from cancelling my trip to Mongolia in August to train/mentor veterinarians.
  • Joy that some of my friends have tested COVID-19 negative.
  • Fear for friends on the front lines of the pandemic. Human and veterinary professionals and staff. Those that work in grocery stores. Those that are exposed to the public.
  • Fear for friends that can’t work from home and have lost their jobs.
  • Children. Those that are learning from parents that are doing their best. Those that are not safe in their own homes – both children and adults.
  • I really miss animals. I don’t think I have ever gone this long without touching an animal. I love pictures and videos, but it is not the same!
  • I feel powerless. Powerless to save lives. Powerless to make a difference in the lives of those around me.
  • Anger. Lots of anger at the flippancy that some people seem to have with our current situation and needs.
  • I rejoice at seeing friends and strangers working to make this less difficult for others.

I am well known for ruminating on things that cause me stress and anxiety, so I have made some strides forward in taking care of myself. On Saturday, I had my first therapist appointment. This was a long time coming. The last time I spoke with a counselor was after September 11, 2001. Most of the time, I am able to work through my stress, anxiety, and depression. These are not normal times. I have had to start addressing that I have had to cancel my trip to Mongolia later this year. It is not just the loss of the travel experience, but rather, the opportunity to rebuild my personal reserves that are filled when volunteering in Mongolia. Yes, I go to help others, and I will not lie and say that I don’t get something from it as well. Volunteering is a major part of how I rebuild myself when I am broken. Along those lines, I also signed up today with http://www.weavr.org, the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry. Many of my friends around the country have signed up to help out in an emergency. Many of my friends are making masks and gowns for reusable PPE. I am looking for the helpers that Mr. Rogers told us to look for.

It is okay to have all the thoughts. To have all the feelings. Learning to sit with them is hard, but possible. Not having them take over your life can be a struggle. Please take the time to just be. Be Kind. Be quiet. Be strong. Be sad. Be present. Just be.

#WashYourHands #BeKind #WeAreTheCavalry

COVID-19: PPE Shortage

What does PPE Shortage mean?

PPE is personal protective equipment. This is what is worn by people that need to protect themselves from something. In the case of COVID-19, we are specifically talking about those that are at risk for being exposed to COVID-19 due to their work with those that are ill or potentially ill. This includes doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other professionals. At the beginning of the pandemic, some people purchased large amounts of these products with the intention of reselling at a huge markup to make money. Unfortunately, this will cost lives and in some places is illegal.

In medicine, PPE includes gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, hair bonnets, shoe covers, and even HAZMAT suits to name just a few. PPE is usually one time use due to the risk of infection, although that is changing now because of the shortage. Most hospitals do not keep large stocks on hand because of the cost. Right now, there are many locations that are out of PPE or will be shortly. Human hospitals are already requesting supplies to be donated by veterinary clinics, dentist offices, and the general public. Many are handing them over because we recognize the larger issue. Unfortunately, this leaves veterinary clinics which remain open to care for animals and the food supply without PPE themselves.

#StayHome #CatSnuggles

So, what can you do?

1. If you know how to sew, then make some masks and gowns. Here is a tutorial on how to make a mask that can have a filter placed inside of it and be reused. Contact your local hospital, health department, veterinary clinic, EMT/Fire department, and police department on what material they would prefer. Once I have more specific recommendations, I will update this post!

2. If you have n95 (or other) masks at home that are usually used for remodeling, construction, or even yard work, consider donating them to your local hospital or medical facility.

3. If you happen to have a ventilator, contact your local hospital to see if they borrow it for awhile.

4. Stay home unless you need to go out for urgent/emergency reasons! Yes, you can go to the grocery store, but only send one person from the home. Have someone else watch your children. Or even better, get a group of people that need items and send one person that can then deliver to your doorstep to decrease the number of people out and about. If you can have one person pick up call ahead orders to be picked up for multiple people, even better!

5. If your pet or a person needs medical care, CALL AHEAD! Many locations are using telephone, video, email, and even text to triage – go over history and signs and then get directed on where to go or what you can do from home.


Be Kind. Wash your hands.

COVID-19: Isolation

I love my job. I love being a veterinarian and saving lives. I love meeting a new puppy or kitten and getting it set on a road to success as a family pet. I love finding out what is causing a health issue and fixing it. I love educating someone so their pet has a better outcome. I love being present for a family and patient when it is time to say good-bye for the last time. I don’t love some of the other stuff that comes with all of this.

On Tuesday, I was working in a veterinary emergency clinic. A client came in, and I started the exam and initial treatment of his pet. I went in to speak with the client after my initial assessment and let him know what was going on. He authorized additional treatment. During this time, it was explained to him that most of the work (including the initial exam) was being done in the treatment area to decrease risks of disease spread from humans to humans. In case you didn’t know, there is this thing called COVID-19 that is sweeping the nation (and the world). He became more and more agitated while he was in the room and then he started wondering the clinic and asking where his dog was. He was also a person that produced a lot of saliva and sprayed it all over when speaking to people. He tried to get into the locked back area of the clinic (this is locked at all times for safety and security passes are required to get through). I went to speak with him and he escalated even more. He demanded that we stop everything and give him his dog back. Which made me very sad as we had not been able to provide any treatment for his pet. We gave him his dog back and he said, “I have had an upper respiratory infection and a fever. Now you are all infected!” He then left.

On Thursday, I developed a cough. Once I had a thermometer, I learned I had a fever. By the time I got in touch with my doctor’s office, they agreed that I should remain in isolation. They would not order any testing as there aren’t enough tests available and the assumption is anyone with signs has COVID-19. If I had severe difficulty breathing, then I was to call 911.

             COVID-19 Isolation Day 2

I am now on day 2 of isolation.

I am sad and upset that this person potentially exposed me to something. I am in isolation at a hotel 2 hours from home, because if I do have COVID-19, I can’t risk spreading it to anyone else, especially my husband. I won’t carry it to another community. I don’t love that I was put in this situation. I don’t love that I wasn’t able to help my patient. I don’t love that I am angry at this client. I don’t love that there is not enough PPE for everyone that needs it. I don’t love that there are not enough tests to know if I am infected at this time.

The world is in chaos right now. The chaos will change the world. It will change each and everyone one of us. We will adapt. We will change. Things will never quite be the same.

Please be kind. Please stay home. Please contact your vet before you go in to find out what you may need to do. Many vets are going to telemedicine triage right now. They may charge a fee for the consult and let you know what you can do at home or if you need to come in to them or go to the ER. Many vets have done this for free for years and years. Many people will be upset that there may now be a charge. Those vets are trying to keep their doors open so that if you do need to go in, they are there. They are trying to keep you, their staff, and themselves safe in this pandemic.

Please choose love.

Where Have I Been?

Yet again, I have taken quite the hiatus from interacting with my blog (has it really been over a year!?!?). There has been a lot going on in my life, some good, some less than ideal. That is no excuse to leave you hanging though, so for that, I apologize.

Physically, I have been traveling for work a lot. I am now licensed in Wisconsin, Alaska, and Kentucky. I am also working on obtaining my license for Michigan to work there later this year. I have been to Orlando and Las Vegas twice for conferences since I was last here. I have been speaking at more conferences and have three more conferences scheduled to speak at this year (another 12 hours). I have taken a little time off to take care of myself. I have worked more than I should have. I walked the MS Challenge Walk (50 miles in 3 days). I developed a back issue that has had me in physical therapy for the last 6 weeks.

Emotionally, I have been through the ringer. Many highs and many lows, lower than I have had in a really long time. I have had wonderful times with family and friends. I have had realizations that I need to take finding a mental health professional a priority. I have saved lives. I have ended lives. I have laughed and I have cried. I am tired.


Flower at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL January 2020


I have so many things left on my To Do List that I can’t find half of the list. On the top of that list is setting boundaries. I need to take time for myself. I need to make the time to actually accomplish all of my responsibilities, not just “fit it in” when I should be sleeping. I need to heal in mind, body, and soul. Somewhere along the line, I lost a bit of myself. I have put so much into my business, my clients, my patients, NOMV, my family, my friends, and all the rest, that I forgot about me.

When I look back at the last year and a half, I see a lot of movement. I see a lot of great things that have been accomplished and I see amazing experiences. I also see a lot of busy. A lot of exhaustion. I see bits of myself stripped away, as I told myself I was being selfish taking time off for myself. I now see that in my goal of providing help for others in mind, body, and soul, I neglected me.

So, I am here to let you know that I am a work in progress. I am setting a goal of sharing my pathway back to myself with you. The highs and the lows. The sadness and the joy.

Please, join me on my walk to healing. For we all are broken in some way, shape, or form.

Let us heal together.

What do you have to heal in your life?


Do you have a veterinarian that means a lot to you? A veterinarian that has saved your pet’s life? A veterinarian that has been there from the first day to the last of your pet’s life? A veterinarian that was there and you cried on their shoulder, because you had no one else to turn to? A veterinarian that has answered your questions and calmed your fears?

If so, Not One More Vet, Inc. (NOMV) is an organization that you need to know about. Veterinarians are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than the general public and 2 times more likely to die by suicide than other professionals. These are statistics that the veterinary community is not proud of, but rather is a struggle that we, veterinarians, have regularly. This is not just an American issue, it is an international crisis. Current data shows that between 1 in 4-6 veterinarians has considered suicide. There are many factors that lead into this and there are a lot that still are not known. Not One More Vet, Inc has made its mission to end suicide in the veterinary profession. Through education, a peer-to-peer support group, and our grants program, NOMV has saved lives. We are working to give veterinarians the tools to deal with the specific stresses that we deal with on a daily basis. Through the highs and the lows of life, we are there for each other.

Did you know that Facebook and PayPal are donating up to $7 million dollars this Tuesday, November 27, 2018? A non-profit can receive up to $50,000 in a match. Last year, the match was gone by 6 am, but the donations will make a huge difference in the life of a non-profit.

This year Not One More Vet, Inc (NOMV) is hoping to raise at least $12,000 to provide up to 12 grants in 2019. These grants are used to help veterinarians that are in crisis.

In 2017 and 2018, the NOMV Grant Program has assisted in paying for in-patient treatment for multiple individuals in mental health crisis, finding relief/locum veterinarians for clinics when there has been a crisis or death of the veterinarian, obtained medication and food for a struggling single parent veterinarian, and many more ways. We hope to expand our program to help even more individuals as we have not had the funds to help everyone that has come to us. Please consider Not One More Vet, Inc. in your holiday giving plans!

If you would like to donate via Facebook, you can donate here.

If you are not on Facebook, but would still like to donate, you can do so here with PayPal, Credit or Debit card. You can even set up a repeating monthly donation!!

If you have any questions about what NOMV does, please let me know. I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

Please, tell me about the veterinarian that means a lot to you!

             How can you save a life?