02/01/10 — Shake, rattle and woof

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Shake, rattle and woof

By Laura Collins
Published in News on February 1, 2010 1:46 PM

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Laura Collins washes Jack at the Berkeley Veterinary Clinic in Goldsboro. Ms. Collins was a veterinary assistant for the day, washing kennels and observing surgeries.

The Job: Veterinary assistant

The Company: Berkeley Veterinary Clinic

The Location: Goldsboro

It's possible I'm in love.

His name is Jack. He's blond with brown eyes and a great set of teeth. He's even-tempered and is polite enough not to shake when he gets done with his bath so as not to drench me.

OK, technically Jack is a dog, a yellow Lab, so it might not work out in the long run, but we definitely had a moment while I was giving him a bath at Berkeley Veterinary Clinic.

However, Buddy, a beagle-mix, and I got closer than I ever wanted to get with a dog.

Buddy had impacted anal glands. Veterinary assistant Melissa Grzybeck showed me the process of expressing the glands.

"You might want to stand back," were her words of warning.

I won't go into detail, but it wasn't good. And Buddy made sure to keep his back end away from us for the rest of the bath.

I started my day at the clinic cleaning the boarding kennels and walking some of the dogs. The clinic also houses Great Danes from the Great Dane Rescue while they wait to be placed in foster homes. The dogs, which were rescued from puppy mills, have spent most of their lives in cages and some have issues interacting. The crew at Berkeley Veterinary work tirelessly to not only keep the dogs healthy, but also help them get adjusted.

"The most important part of this job is patience," Ms. Grzybeck said, who told me she has been an animal lover since she was a child.

That seemed to be a sentiment that held true for the doctors, assistants and staff at the clinic. The doctors handled each procedure and patient like they were dealing with a small child.

I observed Dr. Osborne Wilder neuter Scooby, a small Yorkshire terrier.

"If you need to step out you can," he said, before starting the procedure.

"No it's fine. I worked with a taxidermist for a day, so I'm pretty sure I'm not queasy," I said.

Then he made his first incision.

"Umm, I think I need to step out," I said on my way out the door. Apparently the added ingredient that the dog was alive had more of an impact than I anticipated.

After taking a few deep breaths, and giving myself a small don't-be-a-wimp pep talk, I stepped back in the operating room and watched the rest of the procedure.

While under, Dr. Wilder also removed Scooby's baby teeth, since his adult teeth had not pushed all the baby ones out.

"In veterinary, we do everything," he said. "Dentistry, surgery, we're kind of a jack of all trades."

After the procedure, Scooby was wrapped in a towel while the staff waited for him to wake up. Once he started moving Ms. Grzybeck told me to take his temperature.

"Sure," I said.

"No not there....There," she said directing me away from Scooby's mouth.

I can't imagine that this would be the best way to wake up after surgery. I added Scooby to the list of dogs at the clinic who didn't want me anywhere near their back end.