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All Posts by Roxanne Hawn

Veterinary Realities and Problems with The Starling Movie

If you're asking yourself, "Should I watch The Starling movie?" ... Here's my answer, some context, and a suggestion of what else to watch too. I'm a big fan of Melissa McCarthy. She deserves all credit and praise for so many incredible performances in movies, including a scene in Thunder Force where she references Jodie Foster in ways that made me laugh, laugh, laugh. So, I watched her new movie The Starling, available on Netflix with interest, even though, I knew it wasn't going to be wildly ha-ha funny. It turns out that the incomparable Kevin Kline plays a veterinarian in The Starling, which would be great except for the context of that character at this specific time in the history of veterinary medicine. 

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Nosework Success Story, So Far

About a year ago, I retired Clover from agility classes for both her physical and emotional health. That decision itself probably deserves a whole post at some point, but suffice it to say that the pandemic (among other things) helped me find clarity about Clover's happiness and my own. Rather than the end of something, it marked a beginning. Clover and I started taking online nosework classes in December 2020. Each class lasted about 6 weeks. We did all our training as homework, just the 2 of us at home. We never took an in-person class. Then, this summer, we took the opportunity to test our progress at 4 events, and things went SO well. Amazing videos ahead, if I do say so myself. 

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Zen and the Art of Caring for Pets Book Review

Donna Kelleher, DVM, is a holistic veterinarian who works in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Her most recent book Zen and the Art of Caring for Pets chronicles her career path and challenges with the demands of the veterinary profession itself and the pressures (and annoyances) caused by clients. Over the years, she worked in emergency / critical care and even for a veterinary practice purchased by a corporation. The book addresses the high rate of suicide among veterinarians (that I talked about recently in the post about how not to get fired as a veterinary client). Kelleher offers keen insights into how she practices veterinary medicine today -- from cancer cases to chronic allergies and beyond. The 2 of us agree in many things. Some things in the book, though, I disagree with, doubt, and bring a heavy dose of skepticism too. She knows that based on our private conversations via email and encouraged me to write a book review anyway. So here you go. 

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Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues

I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix's full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix's permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It's sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it's nowhere near over. Here's my best advice for dogs with skin issues. 

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How Not to Get Fired as a Veterinary Client

I just finished writing an article about a crisis in veterinary medicine with the mental health and overall wellbeing of veterinarians and their veterinary hospital teams, driven in part by the increased demands for veterinary services and the increased abuse they face from cranky clients. Recently, I've also become aware of more and more people in my circle of dog lovers -- online and otherwise -- getting fired by various veterinary hospitals across the country. I find it hard to believe that ALL of these folks are being major jerks, but it seemed like an urgent need to discuss what's happening, why, and how NOT to get fired as a veterinary client. Here are my best tips + a video explaining (sometimes ranting) about what NOT to do. 

I don't go into this in the video, but I said something similar on social media with some friends, which is basically this. While I understand why people are getting fired as veterinary clients more these days and goodness knows I'm a major supporter of veterinary teams, I'm also hopeful that the pendulum will swing back to a normal spot, where veterinary clients are allowed to express their concerns, ask questions, and advocate for their pets ... without being fired. Total compliance and instant acquiescence should not be required by everyone, every time ... especially in emergency situations when people are freaking out and having a hard time processing everything ... especially from the parking lot.

That said, what I share in this video is on behalf of veterinarians and their teams who are currently being treated abusively at levels never before seen.

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