We have such admiration for the work of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. Based in Khayelitsha, this team of wonderful men and women take in injured animals from all over. It’s a daunting and huge task, and one which sees them care for over 1000 injured animals a month. Bobby is one such animal.
Once in a while my job as a veterinarian presents curve balls, cases that completely blow my mind – “literally”. It’s almost two years since I joined Mdzananda Animal Clinic and in this time I have learnt so much about my role as a veterinarian in the greater scope of things.
Working at a welfare, one gets to see and attend to cases that are in most instances quite advanced with little or no history from the owners or people bringing them in.
Thus, I need to rely more on my intellect and intuition. In most of these situations both these attributes are at odds which then presents an interesting tug of war between the heart and the mind.
Bobby is a mixed breed pup that was presented to me early July after being attacked by one of his older family members. He was presented cupped in the palms of his owner’s hand, bleeding and almost comatose.
After a clinical examination in which I found out that his neck had been cut open and he had also suffered a fracture to his skull, my heart sank as my intellect predicted a very guarded to poor prognosis for this little guy.
One of our Animal Welfare Assistants had to translate the news to the owner and also discussed the options that were available for the puppy.
The owner requested (understatement) that we try all that we could to save his beloved pet.
I consulted with and alerted everyone who was to be involved in the management and care of this case and then Bobby joined the hospital family.
Coming out of veterinary school, I was under the impression that I had acquired answers to all the medical problems I would meet in my career.
I was wrong.
I am slowly coming to the realization that I am merely a crutch, a support system and not the solution. Bobby got all the medical care and support Mdzananda could offer him, but because of the state he was in I still feared that he wasn’t going to make it through the night.
Early the next morning I paced through the foggy, cold rush hour as I made my way to work. Over the months that I have been in practice, I have had quite a number of patients like Bobby; the ones that keep me awake half the night and test my driving skills.
On arrival I went straight to Bobby’s cage. To my delight, there he was sitting up almost as if he was waiting to for me to come in so that he could show off.
He got so excited and went into play mode. We played for a while before the business of the day started. His stay at the clinic was very pleasant as his bubbly character grew as he recuperated.
When we finally discharged him, I really felt a sense of achievement and couldn’t be more proud of the team that oversaw his recovery. This isn’t the only incident where I have felt like this, I feel this way every day with every patient that I have the to privilege support during times when they are most vulnerable.
Looking back at all the decisions I have made at Mdzananda, nothing stands more true than this,
“I’m merely a comfortably padded arm rest in support of this complex nature we all call life”
I just have to give every animal I treat my best possible self and they (the patient and the science behind their existence) decide the outcome.
I still get so excited every time I realise that I still have so much more to learn.
Please share this inspirational story. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a non-profit organisation and the guys there are doing incredible work. And remember, Mandela Day is tomorrow, Friday 17th July. The clinic could always use an extra pair of hands!
Article written by Dr Blessing Chiriseri