Southwest Travels

Since starting Renewed Strength Veterinary Services, I have met some amazing people and gone to wonderful places. Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands hold so many beautiful views and the landscapes never ceases to amaze me. Without even trying, I see God in the wonders that He has created. I have also worked a lot!

My business and its name is multifaceted. The name itself comes from Isaiah 40:31, “For they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.” The idea of providing relief services was out of necessity within my own life as well as the need within the veterinary profession for veterinarians to take time for themselves – to heal, to grow, to relax, to do so many things for being healthy that we tend not to do. There is also the dirty, not so little secret these days, about suicide in the veterinary profession. When people don’t have the time to take care of themselves, and they feel there is no other choice, some make this final choice. I hope and pray that I will be able to help at least one person see a bit of light, to renew their strength, and choose life.

I have also learned that there is such a need for relief veterinarians that I have not been taking time for myself. I need to take that time so that I can be there to help others. One of the ways that I take time for myself is actually to travel, specifically for missions. To spread the light and love of God to those around me when I am not in my comfort zone.

A year ago, I had the most amazing experience of traveling to Mongolia (review posts from last year!) and have wanted to return to Mongolia and continue doing mission work. It is still a goal to return, but in the mean time, I was blessed to be able to travel to the Navajo Nation in June to work in a spay/neuter clinic. WOW! I do not know what I expected, but it was amazing. Two Navajo certified veterinary technician, Thurman and Kristy, and I spayed or neutered 45 animals in two days. Although I am familiar with doing quite a few surgeries in a day along with seeing appointments, this was so much more. The first day there were 25 animals, the second day 20 animals. Starting surgery at about 9 am each day, we worked until 5 or 6 pm doing surgeries with a short break for lunch around midday. Thurman and Kristy were amazing starting earlier to check everyone in and staying later to send everyone home. They do this each week for 6 months out of the year to help with the issues of pet overpopulation within the Navajo Nation.

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Thurman and I had a chance to discuss much about life and history. One of our discussions was about the Navajo (and other indigenous cultures) and the relationship to Mongolians. This conversation was similar to one that I had with individuals in Mongolia. Even their houses are similar. Unlike native people that live on the plains of the United States that travel and live in teepees, the Navajo, live in hogans that are very similar in design to the gers of Mongolia.

Mongolian Ger (traditional home)

Mongolian Ger (traditional home)

Navajo Hogan (traditional home)

Navajo Hogan (traditional home)





When you step into a traditional ger or hogan, you find a wood burning stove in the center, on one side of the room there is the sleeping area, on another is the cooking supplies, in another is an area set up for worship or honoring of ancestors. The difference is that the hogan is meant to stay in one location and a ger is used for a nomadic family, able to be disassembled and reassembled quickly. Even the landscapes of northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico were similar to Mongolia. Alternating between massive rock formations, deserts, mountains, and seemingly endless plains, the landscapes offered beautiful vistas and panoramas that take your breath away.

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Park, USA

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Park, USA

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia






I was blessed to raise the funds to pay for my trip to Mongolia, but still haven’t raised the funds for the trip to the Navajo Nation. If you would like to help with those fees or for a future trip (perhaps to Mongolia again?), please consider a donation and/or a pledge of prayers that I always follow the path that God has placed ahead of me. Directions for donations can be found here.

Thank you. May you find renewed strength in your life.


The Husbandry and Feeding of Veterinarians (for new owners)

I love this! My husband just kept shaking his head. He has lived this for many years!

Claws Carefully Sheathed

Congratulations on your new relationship! Partnering with a veterinarian is not without its challenges, but with some care and effort you can make things work. Here are a few pointers to help you maximize the bond with your veterinarian.

1. Veterinarians are omnivores – unless they are vegetarians. You’ll have to figure out which type you have. Start out by offering a nice mid-rare steak. If your veterinarian looks ineffably sad and turns away, you have a vegetarian. Eat the steak yourself and turn on fans to vent the smell of cooked flesh, then offer your veterinarian a nice pasta or salad. Timbits

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Chinle, Arizona and the Navajo Nation


I will be traveling to Chinle, Arizona with Christian Veterinary Missions to spay and neuter dogs and cats for 2 two days in June to support the Navajo Nation. The goal is to alter 25 animals per day. There are 2-3 technicians and 1 veterinarian in the mobile veterinary clinic in each three-day event.

Day 1: Exams, vaccinations, check in.

Day 2: Surgery all day.

Day 3: Surgery all day

The Navajo Nation sponsors much of this trip, but the costs of flying out, staying, and renting a car are more than the trip costs. Therefore, I am attempting to raise $600 to off set the rest of the costs. This is the first mission that I will be going on while not employed by a veterinary clinic in the usual sense. There will be no vacation pay check waiting when I come home, so there will be no paycheck for my family at all that week. Although this changes my financial dynamics a bit, I am blessed to be able to do this. I am so thankful that God has given me a heart for service and missions.

So here is the part that I ask you for help in any way that you can:

1. Pray for me – for safety, for knowledge, for a clear head, and a servant’s heart

2. Pray for the mission projects in the Navajo Nation and around the world – for openness, for love, for impact, for peace

3. Financial support – all donations (check or credit card) are tax-deductible in the United States of America, you just need to follow the directions below:

How to Donate to a Short Term Missions Account Online:

  • Go to and then to Support > Short Term Missions.  Click on the “Individual” button. Fill in the Designation box with a drop-down menu to “other” (at the bottom of the list). A white box will appear, and please enter in my account number (UCVSTM1655) and write in my name, Melanie Goble – ST Missions in that box. CVM will make sure it gets designated to my trip. Please let me know if you have questions.
  • Checks can be made out to Christian Veterinary Missions with “UCVSTM1655/Melanie Goble” on the memo line and mailed to Christian Veterinary Missions 19303 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133

Thirteen – What Does That Mean to You?

I learned this morning that my friend, JC passed away, likely as I was writing yesterday’s post.

JC was an amazing man. He had a struggle in early life, but found his way. I did not meet him until entering veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in fall of 2001. From the beginning, JC made me laugh. He was smart and funny. He was friendly and encouraging. Everyone has negative things in their lives and personalities, but I never saw them from JC. I honestly don’t know how he did it. We were not super close, but veterinary school is rough and tough, then throw in some major world events (9/11) and years of laughter, you can’t help but feel close to the people in the same situation. Along with the rest of our class – we were family. Ties that cannot be broken.

Thirteen. Often considered an unlucky number. Thirteen months of pain and struggle. Thirteen months of tears and laughter. Thirteen months that allowed him to live the life he had knowing it was going to end, but being able to take even more joy in the lives of his wife and children. From diagnosis to death, JC fought for thirteen months.

Despite the pain for those of us left behind, JC can now be free. No more pain. No more sickness. Today, JC is singing with the angels and playing cards with Jesus.

From Heaven he will now watch over his wife, Heather, and two young boys, Liam and Noah. The world will forever be changed by his life and his death. May his contributions to the world never be forgotten.

JC, you have been and forever will be a beacon of laughter and friendship. I have kept you in my prayers and in my thoughts. Your struggle may have saved my life. For that, I thank you. Your life has effected many people and that will continue. May you now rest in peace without pain and may you fill Heaven with your laughter and love. May you watch over your family and keep them safe. Until we meet again, my friend. You are missed.

2015 April Update

2015 has been an interesting year so far. I have been so busy that I have sadly neglected my blog. Time for a little update, and attempt at getting back on track!

Renewed Strength Veterinary Services has been busy in Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands. Providing relief services, consultations improving clinic flow and services, and behavior consultations has kept me busy!

View overlooking Magen's Bay in the US Virgin Islands. All work and no play results in missing some beauty in life.

View overlooking Magen’s Bay in the US Virgin Islands. All work and no play results in missing some beauty in life.

I signed up for another mission trip with Christian Veterinary Missions to spay and neuter animals in the Navajo Nation of Arizona in June 2015. I am so thankful to be able to help with overpopulation in a proactive manner in a region that needs the help so much.

I spent time with friends that I have not had an opportunity to see in awhile. It was wonderful to sit and chat over a pot of tea!

I have also been working through the pain and heartache that comes with a friend and veterinary colleague’s fight for his life against metastatic colon cancer. We have not seen each other since graduation from veterinary school 10 years ago, and sadly will likely never see each other again. He is currently in his final moments of life and it is tearing me up inside. JC has a wonderful wife and two small children. Please keep them all in your prayers.

JC’s struggle, the events in Baltimore, the earthquake and avalanches in Nepal and so many more events have reinforced my desire to let those in my life know how much I love them. To let the world and all of the people in it know that I am not giving up. Despite the pain and the struggle, I know things can be better. I pray that we all unite and help the displaced, the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, and all that need a hand and a prayer.

Have a blessed day and take a step forward each day to help your world be a better place!


Merry Christmas 2014!

This past year has been an adventure. Seeing the joy of Christmas around the world has brightened my day and brings me great happiness.

For the past month, I have been working on St. John in the US Virgin Islands doing relief work. I have had many crazy experiences and have been blessed to meet many wonderful people. Although it is hard to be away from home for the holidays, I am thankful to be here. I would like to share a couple of stories from the St. John Animal Care Center, the only shelter here on the island. Since I am working at Canines, Cats, & Critters, the only veterinary clinic on the island, we see all of the animals.

The first is Churchill. Churchill is a spunky little guy that unfortunately had a run in with another dog the other day. After some immediate treatment to keep him alive and supportive care, Dr. Laura, the owner of CCC, came over from one of the offices on another island and performed surgery to close the hole in Churchill’s chest wall and repair his broken ribs. He is a fighter and is doing well now. Hoping to find a forever home!

Churchill the day after surgery.

Churchill the day after surgery.King on

The second is Dulce. Dulce is a sweet little girl that was brought into the shelter with the rest of her litter. She has been nice and healthy. Due to the generosity and love of others, she was able to leave for her forever home on Christmas Eve. Dr. Laura was delivering her to her new family in Maine. Many of the dogs from the island get adopted by people, most often living in the USA. Many of them will have a human escort to get to their new family. Others fly solo. Thankfully, Dr. Laura was able to go home to visit her family in the northeast USA for Christmas this year and take Dulce at the same time.

Dulce says goodbye and thank you!

Dulce says goodbye and thank you!

My final Christmas star, is King. King has had a rough life so far. Thankfully, his former owner brought King to the shelter when he finally realized that he could not care for him. King had stopped eating and his previous owner could not afford veterinary care. The ACC took King in and brought him to us at CCC. King weighed in at 38 pounds upon arrival and it has been a tough road getting him to eat anything. King is heartworm positive and extremely malnourished, although he has started to gain a little weight. We are doing all we can to get him strong enough for heartworm treatment. He is a very sweet boy, although not really a fan of other animals, he LOVES people! Today, King celebrated Christmas at CCC with a big squishy bed that was donated by a wonderful family for his comfort.

King on Christmas morning.

King on Christmas morning.

Please remember everyone, human and animal, that is in pain and alone this Christmas. Consider a donation of food or clothing, or even better, friendship, to someone that needs it. Consider a donation to a local shelter (human or animal) that provides for those in times of crisis.

If you want to help support the Animal Care Center and help provide for the cost of Churchill’s or King’s care, or any of the other animals, please contact the ACC here.

With the help of The Pet Apothecary, we are able to get some much needed medications for the cats with unresolved upper respiratory infections at a great discount. That being said, we still need to raise some money for the medications (about $100) and shipping to get it here.

Have a very merry Christmas (or whatever celebration you may wish to celebrate) and take time to make a difference in someone’s life today!

I Did It!

I actually did it.

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the end of October on a whim. The goal was to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I am happy to say that I got over 50,000 words written. The story is not completed, but a large chunk of it is. Over the next couple of months, I will focus on finishing the draft, then moving on to editing and we’ll see, perhaps even try to get her published!

You can read an excerpt here.

Thank you for your support!


Thanksgiving 2014

This year has been an interesting one to say the least. It is easy to come up with things to be thankful for when things are going well, but I will often try to find the things to be thankful for when things are not going well as it puts things in perspective and brings me hope for the future.

Today, I would like to share how I am thankful despite some really difficult things that have gone on in my life and in the world. God works in mysterious ways, but good things can come from the bad.


Being released from employment was unexpected to say the least, but now, I am enjoying a new business, Renewed Strength Veterinary Services, LLC, that allows me to travel around the world and help people and animals in varied places as well. Don’t get me wrong, the rejection still hurts, but spending a month on a tropical island for work rather than in the cold of Wisconsin sure does help!


I have had some gastrointestinal issues since returning from Mongolia. It has not been pleasant. These issues resulted in my needing a colonoscopy earlier this week. I had two polyps removed that came back as precancerous. I am thankful that they were found and removed as the recommendation for initial colonoscopy is at age 50 when you have no family history of problems. In 14 years, I likely would have had colon cancer. I now have the knowledge that I need to help protect myself and my family from this potentially devastating disease.


My last post already touched on this and it has not directly effected my life in Wisconsin. I am thankful that a dialogue has continued in a larger context. I am thankful that many people that may not have thought about race and cultural issues in our country before are now thinking and talking, and most importantly acting upon the need for change.


Here is another area that has not touched me directly, but natural disasters bring people together to support each other and to comfort each other. There is pain and loss, but there is so much more that can come forth. It is for this unity that prospers that I am thankful.

I have many others problems, and many other thanksgivings, but now, I have to go and make some more cranberry applesauce for Thanksgiving with my family.

How have you been blessed this year?, s

Ferguson: From a white, educated, middle class woman’s perspective

I have debated if I should write this post or not. I am sure some people will agree, some will think I am a nut case. Do I even have a right to have a perspective on this? As a human, I believe I do, because I believe this is a human issue. Is race a part of it, yes. Guess, what people of different races are still human. We must work together to find a solution. Do I know what the solution is? No, but I wish I did. There are few things that I would like to address, and please, if you have a different perspective, share it (although if there is any name calling or hatred, I will not allow it to be posted as that does not serve a purpose in my opinion) as I would like to learn from various perspectives. To further frame my perspective, I was out of the country in August when this all happened and was hearing about it very distantly. I do not know all of the details, and I likely never will. I have a doctorate (which doesn’t mean I have street smarts, but I do understand a lot about human nature) so I am educated. I am western European white (extra white as I am often referred to, as the only color I have is freckles and blushing). I am from a middle class family, raised in the country, and went to private schools. Most of my friends are white as I live in a very monochromatic area of the country, although I do have many friends of many skin tones and nationalities. I love to learn from them, even if I don’t understand all of the nuances of their life experience. So, that is my background.

Further, I recently took part in an online seminar of the root causes of poverty, which I believe is a large portion of this situation in Ferguson. Why is it about poverty? It is about poverty because the root of poverty is broken relationships. Fractured relationships of people to four areas: God (note: If you missed my blog title, I am a Christian, too), self, others, and creation. When a study was done (sorry I do not have the source on hand) and people around the world were asked, “What is poverty?” the response from middle class was a resounding “a lack of material things.” The response from the poorest of the poor was more along the lines of “helplessness”, “hopelessness”, “lack of security”, and “humiliation.” The definition of poor, had very little to do with not having things, it was not having a way out. Material poverty is a symptom of the fractures relationships. I will touch on each area a little bit.


This is a broken relationship with your self. People are broken, we have depression, self-doubt, and anger issues – this is not only people of one skin color, this is part of humanity. The interesting part of this is that in most cases we are not born broken, we learn it. We must learn to accept each other and ourselves. The situations we live in often prevent that from happening. When we are sick – in mind or spirit – we cannot care for or accept ourselves fully. If we do not have self-respect we cannot have respect for others. There is also another kind of poverty of self in which people hide their inner self. They live a lie, often so well that they begin to believe it.


This is a broken relationship with creation. We live in the world. When the world is damaged, we are damaged. Without clean air and water we are not healthy. One of the first ways (by no means the only way) to help alleviate poverty in much of the world is to provide a sustainable clean water source. By provide, I mean assisting a local team in water locating, well building, and well maintenance so that they can then help their neighbors.


This is a broken relationship with God. I believe that a relationship with something greater than yourself is a benefit. Would I like for everyone to agree with me? Yes, but I know that is not going to happen. Because I do not want this to turn into a spiritual debate, I am not going to focus on this today. I will note that it was with the arrival of religious leaders that things began to settle down in August.


This is broken relationships with others. This includes friends, family, enemies, and strangers. This includes communities, governments, educational systems, and so much more. This is the area that I would like to focus on for the discussion of Ferguson.

The situation starts with Michael Brown, a black eighteen year old (note that depending on the source, he is either called a man or a teenager – in our American society it could go either way) that comes from a community with a history of brokenness. My understanding of the events are that he was an individual preparing to go to college, hoping to improve upon his life, but was shot while walking to his grandmother’s house. When confronted by, Darren Wilson, a white police officer an altercation took place and the black man was shot. A portion of the report indicates that Wilson received a head injury during the altercation prior to the shots being fired.

There are already at least two areas to look at here. Both perspectives, I believe are valid. Brown lived in a world that the police were not considered your helpful neighborhood friend. He lived in a world were the police were often feared. Wilson lives in a world, along with other law enforcement officers, in which you put your life on the line to protect others. Have we seen corruption in law enforcement? Yes. Specifically against people of a different ethnicity? Yes, but that does not mean that all law enforcement officers are bad. Have we seen black individuals involved in violence? Yes. Specifically, against police officers? Yes, but that does not mean that all black individuals are bad. Yes, both come from a perspective that they had been conditioned to fear for their lives.

Once he had died, there was no bringing Brown back. The decision was made not to name Wilson initially due to concerns that he and/or his family would be targeted. In all honesty, I believe that this was the correct thing to do initially as tempers and emotions ran high.

Protests began peaceably the night after the shooting, but then turned to violence. I do not know what switch was flipped in the minds of the protestors or if it was just a group of people who used the shooting of Michael Brown as convenient excuse to loot and vandalize. This is not something that only happens after a shooting, mob violence happens many times when a large crowd gathers and emotions run high. This happens when there is not respect for people and business in that area. Was it local people who looted and vandalized? Was it people who came in to cause trouble? I do not know. I do know that when things escalate, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to de-escalate the situation. Sometimes that does not go as predicted. I also know that the entire situation encouraged the perceptions already held by some that “black people are violent” and that “police hate blacks.”

Yesterday, November 24, 2014, a grand jury made the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. Despite the request of Michael Browns family to respect his memory with peaceful protests, the crowd turned violent again. Looting, vandalizing, burning the very stores and businesses that provide employment, services, and goods to the community. The police once again responded with tear gas and riot gear.

The quote attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. that I saw a lot of today was, “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” (Interview with Mike Wallace in 1966) Dr. King did not condone rioting or violence, but he did recognize the cause. In this case, I do not know that the voices were unheard. Sometimes, the answer to those voices is no. Is it the right answer? Not necessarily, but I was not on that Grand Jury. I did not have access to every document and every testimony. Do I think that it is fair or just that Michael Brown was killed? No, I do not. Do I think that Darren Wilson will ever be the same person that he was before the night of August 9, 2014? No, I do not.

To me it appears that the unheard voice was the voice of the family requesting peace. Their son’s name will now forever be linked to violence, not just in the act of his death, but also in the actions done in his name. This is incredible sad to me.

So, where does this leave us? I know I am still confused. I am confused as to why Michael Brown was shot. I am confused as to why his shooter is not being held accountable. I am confused as to why some people think that looting and burning helps. The root, as mentioned above, is brokenness, but I am lost on how to fix it.

I don’t know if these ideas will fix things, but I at least do not think they will hurt.

1. Involvement – People have to get involved in their communities. People have to get involved in their children’s lives. if you don’t have children (or even if you do), get involved in the lives of families that need help with  their children.

2. Education – Stop cutting education spending at federal, state, and local levels. If you don’t want increased spending and want the spending cut, then I expect you to be in that school volunteering your time to help out in overcrowded and understaffed schools. When students do not have the support at home that need (someone to help with homework, someone to listen to their problems or concerns, someone to make sure that they are safe and not involved in drugs, alcohol, and gangs), would it be great if parents did this? Yes, that would be best, but it isn’t happening. We can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that children don’t have what they need and expect things to change.

3. More education – This time education of the history of specific areas and relationships with in those locations – in Ferguson, we are talking about race relations. In other areas it is religious relationships. In many places it is a combination of many relationships and they are intertwined, but you can’t understand it if you don’t try to understand it.

When a doctor fixes a broken bone, you have to know where and what type of fracture it is (there are many types), you have to find a way to put the broken pieces into as close of alignment as possible, find a way to keep the bones in position, and then you have to stabilize the joints above and below the break. It is not easy. It takes time. It takes skill. And even after all of that work, the person that has that limb attached to them still has to take care of it so it can heal. A thick callous forms over time. There is always evidence of that break, but the limb can return to function. I believe that as a society, we can do this.

3. Love – Love your neighbor and yourself. When you truly love and respect them, you want to help them. You build them up rather than bring them down. Start with one small act a day, turn that act into a habit. Add another act, turn that into a habit. Hold the door open for someone, not just the elderly person or the adult with more children than hands attached to them, but for the healthy appearing adult or teenager.

4. Talk – Talk to people and truly listen to them. Learn their story. You may find that you have more in common with someone than you ever thought. If this is hard for you, start in your neighborhood or with a coworker. Go to a community or volunteer organization. Find someone in a different social, economic, and/or cultural background. You can each learn from each other, it is pretty cool.

5. Don’t jump to conclusions! – Yes, you will have a gut reaction to something that happens, that is normal. Temper your response though until you have more details, remembering that you may never have all of them. Try to see the perspectives of others. Remember that no one is perfect.

6. Offer grace and forgiveness  – Forgiveness is generally not for the person you are giving it to. It is for yourself. When you hold onto anger, it poisons you. It does not affect the person you are withholding it from. This is not to say that you forget the action or situation, learn from it, but as Elsa says, “Let it go.” If you can’t let it go, then allow it to be the instigator for change. Good things can come from pain if we take the energy that we put into anger and sorrow into constructive actions, you can have constructive reactions. Just look at Amber Alerts and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children – they did not come about from good things happening.

I am sure there are many more things that can be done, but let’s focus on repairing relationships.


Veterinary Happiness

There have been a lot of things lately that have made me really sad in my life – specifically related to work. That is why I want to share a story of happiness, light, and life today.

I have been providing relief services to veterinary clinics for a little over a month now and have met a lot of great people and animals. The other day, I was eating lunch in the break room of the clinics when the door chime rang. I knew that the receptionist was on the phone, so I went up to see what I could do to help. A couple was standing there with a cat that was skin, bones, hair, and massive personality. The couple had been out at their cabin and found this cat two hours before. Another family member had seen the little guy the week before, but was unable to capture it. They brought him in to see if anything could be done to help him.

We checked him for a microchip or any other form of identification, but nothing was there. I did an exam and went over the problems that I found with them and what would need to be done to fix them. I recommended some tests to see what was going on internally. The couple really wanted him to have a chance. We discussed costs. We then agreed that we would go step by step. Collect all of the needed samples, but get some results before running the rest of the tests. The first set of tests came back clear, so they went forward with the rest. We got him on antibiotics and did some fluids to start him on the road to rehydration.

I was so happy that they gave this guy a chance. They didn’t have to bring him to a vet clinic. They didn’t have to agree to do any tests. They didn’t have to agree to do any treatments. But, they did them all. They recognized the awesomeness that was this little guy (I secretly named him Smee) and are giving him a chance to return to health. If they can’t find his owner, they plan to keep him as well.

Smee found a great home with a wonderful couple.

Thank you for making me smile and bringing back some of my faith in humanity!