Sunday, August 2, 2009

While You Were Out

Today over half of the English shepherds at the MetraPark said goodbye to their little friends.

Warning: Graphic surgery images follow. If you run to the head heaving in the middle of Nip Tuck, do not continue.

Spay Montana*set up their mobile surgical operation in the grandstand a few hundred yards from the Operation New Beginnings compound. Volunteers and staff shuttled dogs back and forth on gators.

Douglas and I missed the start of the clinic while we were administering behavior evaluations to conducting personal interviews with some of the dogs at Moore Lane.

By the time we arrived, the calm, efficient atmosphere was a wonder to behold. Dogs were prepped by techs on one set of tables, nails clipped, teeth scaled, ears deep-cleaned, then sterilized at one of four surgical stations. They recovered on blankets while volunteers thoroughly groomed them, were moved to crates to wake up, and then gatored back to their stalls.

Having dehydrated myself in the Montana sun and dry air during the morning assessments, I was in no condition to be carrying dogs and crates or be otherwise physically useful.

It is very hard for me to watch dogs recover from anesthesia. I have a rough time with anesthesia myself, and this is my indulgence in projection. Also, their greenish faces make me a bit green myself.

So I checked out the surgeries.

The surgeons did not mind the nosey. Kewl.

I watched some castrations, to desensitize myself to what I will have to do when the goat girls freshen in the spring. (Of course not! They will each give birth to twin doelings. There will be no nasty little buck kids. There will be no nasty little buck kids ...)

Some of the guys kind of stayed back from those, but credit where it is due -- I saw manly men observing a fairly gruesome-looking procedure without hitting the deck.

But even more interesting was the fifteen-minute spay of a girl with a much-used, estrus uterus -- one of the most potentially troublesome spay procedures.

This is her prepped abdomen.

This is her swollen reproductive tract.

This is her closed incision. Yes, that is the after picture. I double-checked.

The technician working with this surgeon told me that if she has surgery on herself, she wants him to close. Yuh duh.

* Please show them some love!


  1. The small town pet and farm animal vet where I take my crew for all regular treatment finishes all his surgeries with plastic surgeon quality needle work. It is truly a thing of beauty - and I'm sure, makes recovery easier for the dogs.

    Thank you so much for the hard work you're doing there. Though I'm not in shape to help - I look forward to seeing what kind of fosters you send along.

  2. There's always the elastrator for those buck kids...

  3. The vet I use does a flank spay.

    The fur just grows in around the scar, and you never see it again.

  4. I was so sorry I missed meeting you, Heather. I am a Spay Montana tech and could not wait to participate in this last weekends event. Time and time tears began for both Kim and I. We were the "doggy knock-down" crew, aka canine induction. I heard wonderful stories from the handlers who have put their time and lives into these dogs. I so admire them and your work as well as the work of all those called to assist these sweet dogs. Even the most apprehensive dogs were amazingly brilliant to work with. So many people turned out to assist with the surgeries which made the weekend run like clockwork. Never have I seen such a vast amount of skilled folks all under one roof. Thanks to all the volunteers, handlers, by-standers, and so many other folks who participated in this weekends event---you all are heros in my book. I started reading this blog about 3 days prior to driving to Billings on Friday and so wanted to shake your hand. Your work is remarkable. Brian Anderson, Polson, MT

  5. It's nice to see good things coming from our money. We donated to the NESR to help out with this awful situation a few months ago.


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