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He Stole my Heart

There are days when my job is hard.  Really hard.  These days usually involve having to deliver difficult news to scared owners, followed by the blessing of being able to take away the pain, allowing final rest for their beloved family members. 

I was having one of those days.  Actually, it was turning into one of those weeks.  It was Friday the 13th.  I was emotionally struggling with tragic news from one of my closest friends.  I had to deliver a terminal diagnosis to three different clients.  I really just wanted to go home and hide.  But I had one more patient waiting for me. 

The travel kennel was sitting in the corner of the room with a note from my team on top.  “Very sick kitten.  Elected humane euthanasia.”  I had avoided it for 3 hours.  But now the time had come.  I opened the kennel door and reached in.  I pulled out a tiny black ball of fur.  His eyes were sealed shut  and he was struggling to breathe. Barely reaching the one pound mark, this guy was a mess.  I placed my stethoscope on his chest, but his heartbeat was drowned out by an intense purr.  I changed my position hoping he would stop so I could assess his lung sounds.  But the more I handled him, the louder the purr.

“How can such a tiny thing make such a big sound?  He can hardly catch his breath.”

I let out a huge sigh, grabbed a warm towel and a wet washcloth to clean his eyes.  I offered some food, but he was too weak to eat.  I knew what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t want to.  Not today.  Not when he just kept purring.  I found him a cage, gave him a warm bed and food, along with a pep talk.

“You have 48 hours to turn around.  If you have the will to live, I think I can find you a home.  Today is not your time.”  He just kept purring.

I doctored him all weekend.  Slowly he started to eat and gain weight.  His eyes cleared up, his breathing became less labored and he stole my heart.

My daughter named him Freddy.  The rest, as they say, is history.

About the author

Lindsay Waechter-Mead

Dr. Lindsay Waechter-Mead
Dr. Mead grew up on a diversified farm 30 minutes south of Hastings and graduated from Blue Hill High School. Lindsay graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then received her Doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University in 2008. Lindsay and her husband Clay have two children, Anna and Harrison, and keep busy with their Red Angus seedstock cattle herd. Furry family members include Mindy the dog and Klondike the cat. Have a question for Dr. Mead? Send her an e-mail to [email protected], [email protected] or visit them online at http://www.animal-clinic.org/