One Year Anniversary

One year ago, October 17, 2015, I officially became a business owner. After a sudden change in employment status, investigating what lay ahead, and a lot of prayer, I filed the documents that made this my new reality.

During this past year, I have worked in practices throughout eastern Wisconsin and the US Virgin Islands. I have also traveled to the desert southwest for the first time, working through Christian Veterinary Missions to perform spays and neuters for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I have completed continuing education courses in Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia.

Due to all of the farm animals that began showing up in the Virgin Islands and my goal for doing more mission work, I decided to do the Farm Animal Training for Missions (FARM) course in Catawba, VA in September. The Scottish Highland cows wanted to join the lessons!

Due to all of the farm animals that began showing up in the Virgin Islands and my goal for doing more mission work, I decided to do the Farm Animal Training for Missions (FARM) course in Catawba, VA in September. The Scottish Highland cows wanted to join the lessons!

Mabel was my first goat patient in the Virgin Islands.

Mabel was my first goat patient in the Virgin Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have made time to visit friends in Puerto Rico, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. I have found some balance for myself. My goal for the business was to provide renewed strength for other veterinarians, and even when I am crazy busy and not getting a lot of sleep, I have found that I am renewed myself. I would like to share just a few of my adventures, patients, and travels!

Dulce saying goodbye and going to America

Dulce was a patient in the USVI heading to the mainland to her new family!

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Sometimes, fawns need doctors, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Churchill was injured in a dog attack. After repairing his wounds, including fixing his broken ribs and a hole through his chest wall, he was able to go to his furever home.

Churchill was injured in a dog attack. After repairing his wounds, including fixing his broken ribs and a hole through his chest wall, he was able to go to his furever home.

This is the face of a dog that enjoys eating Cane Toads (they are toxic). Thankfully, his family was quick thinking and they flushed his mouth out. After some fluids, oxygen, and more fluids, he did great!!

This is the face of a dog that enjoys eating Cane Toads (they are toxic). Thankfully, his family was quick thinking and they flushed his mouth out. After some fluids, oxygen, and more fluids, he did great!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have continued to build my skills and providing care for animals and their people. Lots of my normal dogs, cats, and rabbits, but also some goats and even a donkey! From vaccines and health certificates to skin and ear infections to major surgeries and behavioral consultations, my skills have been tested and improved. I have had cases that have pushed me passed my limits and brought me to my knees, but I not only survived, I thrived.

Juan Carlos, my first donkey patient, at about 1 month of age was found 20 feet out in the ocean after being attacked by an adult donkey. He found a new home on St. Thomas, USVI.

Juan Carlos, my first donkey patient, at about 1 month of age was found 20 feet out in the ocean after being attacked by an adult donkey. He found a new home on St. Thomas, USVI.

An arm full of puppies makes so many things better. This was a litter at I saw in St. Anna, Wisconsin.

An arm full of puppies makes so many things better. This was a litter at I saw in St. Anna, Wisconsin.

I would like to thank all of the clinics, doctors, staff, clients, and patients that let me into their lives. I would like to thank all of the family and friends that supported me with good thoughts, prayers, and places to stay.

My sister's dog, Macy, needed emergency surgery to remove a tumor on her spleen (note giant mass under my hand). Thankfully, she did well and the tumor was benign. Yeah for not having cancer!

My sister’s dog, Macy, needed emergency surgery to remove a tumor on her spleen (note giant mass under my hand). Thankfully, she did well and the tumor was benign. Yeah for not having cancer!

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.

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!

 

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.

1. BEING FIRED

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!

2. HEALTH ISSUES

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.

3. FERGUSON

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.

4. NATURAL DISASTERS

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

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!

I Will Rise!

With a great sigh of relief and joy, I am happy to share that I have taken a giant step forward in my life. I have opened my own business! After leaving my last place of employment, I was a little lost and wasn’t sure what to do with my career. Do I get another job that may not hold out? Do I purchase a brick and mortar veterinary practice? Do I start a house call or mobile practice? What do I do? Then I got a message from a friend, that needed some help at her veterinary practice. She is a solo practitioner and does a great job, but has to do the doctoring alone. I was happy to fill in for her so she could have a  day off. Then I spoke with another veterinarian that is also a solo practitioner. She recently had a family emergency that requires her to be out of the practice on a regular basis. She was happy to have me come and help her out as well. That is when I knew that I could actually make a future for myself.

Inspiration took hold, and I created Renewed Strength Veterinary Services, LLC. A business that allows me to practice veterinary medicine and help people in even more ways. With the passing of Dr. Yin (discussed here), I realized how important it is for veterinarians to have a greater support system. Many veterinarians surround themselves with their practices, patients, and clients that they forget or just don’t have time to take care of themselves. Taking time off means either closing the clinic, which means people and animals that depend on your services may suffer – staff doesn’t get their paychecks and patients may not get seen or may switch to another clinic permanently, or putting your life’s work into the hands of someone else to take care of it while you are gone. This is scary stuff!

This is where I step in! Rather than closing, I come into the clinic and see patients, speak with clients, and hold down the fort. I promise to keep things going to the best of my abilities. I promise to take care of the clients, the patients, the staff, and the goodwill so that the business does not suffer, and ideally continues to prosper. While I offer coverage, the veterinarian can take the time he or she needs to renew their strength – mind, body, and soul!

This new life promises to be an adventure that I am blessed to share with the world!