On Saturday, June 30th, my very naughty black lab managed to get herself into the pickle of all pickles. She is no stranger to mischief. In her almost 12 years of living, she has managed to take down full size sheet cakes, gallon containers of protein powder, sticks of butter, always the most expensive cheese on the cheese board, countless containers of thawing raw meat, turkey grease, and once, a bar of soap that she eventually threw up…still whole. SO, you can imagine my ashen response when I discovered that she had eaten a gallon zip lock bag of dog food, a build your own Hershey bar kit, and a box of lemon cookies…box included. Apart from the two muddy puddles she left on my kitchen floor, I wasn’t much phased. Angry? Yes. But surprised? Definitely not.
Her subsequent behavior in the days that followed did however, truly spook me. My sweet, energetic, senior dog was more sick than I’d ever witnessed. She was lethargic, unsettled, overtaken by diarrhea, and just generally miserable. I expected some of this on Sunday, but when I came home from work on Monday afternoon to find six puddles of vomit and a lab who wouldn’t eat, I called the vet.
Boy, am I glad I did. To make a long story short, my girl gave herself a fierce case of Pancreatitis. After seven scary days, five of which included fluids, a range of antibiotics, X-Rays, blood tests, anti-nausea medicine, and some Reiki for good measure (thank you, Auntie Heather!) she started to make a slow but steady recovery. I can’t say this story would have had a happy ending, had it not been for our incredible vet, Dr. Renee Chrest and her team of truly fantastic techs, at the Animal Medical Clinic. The insight, quick action, and genuine care of this team saved my best friend’s life and for that, I am forever in their debt. Speaking of debt…
All those out there with a beloved canine companion know how expensive dogs can be, particularly the mischievous, naughty kind! If I were to add up the cost of my girl’s healthcare over the course of twelve years, I would probably cry. But with most of it stretched out over such a long span, you don’t quite realize you might have been able to put a down payment on a house after all! Just kidding, sort of. It’s money well spent in my book. But ever still, I am particularly grateful to Dr. Chrest for recognizing that I’m a dog walking artist and never once judging my apprehension about money. Never once! She was conservative when it came to expensive procedures and did her absolute best to stick with what was only necessary. She was vigilant about my dog’s health but sensitive to that fact that this episode could have buried me financially. So she did her absolute best to avoid it. She talked me through the cost of each little thing they did so I wasn’t blindsided with a crushing bill at the end. She was patient, understanding, and generous with her time and knowledge.
This brings me to the point of writing this piece…choosing your vet is like choosing a life partner. You want them to be genuine, intelligent, loving, prudent with money, and surrounded by a team of amazing people. But most importantly, you want them to love your dog as much as you do. There are a lot of vets out there who will shake you down for every penny simply because they can. So find one who doesn’t and hold on to them fiercely! Find one who will get down on the ground with your dog when he/she is sick and promise to do whatever is in their power to make it better. Find one who hugs you when you’re in tears, stressed out about whether you’re dog is going to make it, and says, “we’re going to figure this thing out.” Find the vet who calls you when the office is closed for a holiday because she is just as concerned about your dog’s well-being as you are. And if you live in the Baltimore area…go find Dr. Renee Chrest and fall in love like the rest of us who are lucky enough to call her our vet.
Animal Medical Clinic, Dr. Renee Chrest, 1811 York Rd # D, Timonium, MD 21093, (410)252.6910