I thought I would use this first blog entry to introduce myself; I am Dr. Meghan Fincher. I recently joined the staff at Central Animal Hospital and am very excited to be a part of this talented team! My family and I moved to the Bay Area last June from Kansas where I was a veterinarian for the U.S. Army. Prior to that, we came from Ohio where I attended vet school at The Ohio State University. My family consists of myself and my husband, Jeremy, and our human children (a pair of naughty red-headed boys) Noah, 2.5 years and Rowan, 1 year old. And what sort of veterinarian would I be if I didn’t have an extensive furry family too? The non-human Fincher kids consist of Bentley, a 5 year old Australian Cattle Dog, Nessa, a 3 year old Golden Retriever Dog and Luthien, a 5 year old cat who was lucky enough to enjoy a quick flight to California, rather than the 4 day drive the rest of us enjoyed. This story starts on a sunny day in May…
The drive across Kansas was uneventful and we pulled into the La Quinta Inn by the Denver airport late in the evening. After a good night’s sleep, the morning started without incident until I asked my husband to take the dogs out to the giant field (we didn’t know truly how giant at this point) behind our hotel for a game of fetch before another 9 hours in the car. I had no sooner climbed out of the the shower then I got a phone call(7:46am, exactly). He said, ” I need you, asap”! I ran out barefoot to find him leashing Bentley back up, tossing me the leash and saying, “Nessa took off, I need to catch her”. Our wimp of a dog had been terrified by a garbage truck picking up a dumpster.
Bentley and I jogged back into the hotel and I put shoes on, strapped our then 4 month old baby in the Baby Bjorn and the three of us headed back out to help with the search. After about an hour of traipsing through the old sunflower field fraught with pricklers (which latched onto Bentley’s feet and my clothes and skin) we re-grouped, still without our dumb blonde dog. Jeremy kept up the search and I returned to the hotel to give Bentley’s pads a break and start the process of putting out the word that our dog was missing.
Amidst my recurring tears (see, even veterinarians cry!), I called Home Again Microchip who faxed a lost poster to all the animal organizations in a 20 mile radius, posted a Craig’s List ad, and used everyone’s top communication method, Facebook. Then it hit, I was finally experiencing that panic that pet owners feel when their beloved friends go missing. We committed to caring for her and should have kept her safe, but instead, she was, for all I knew, wandering the city of Denver alone and scared and, as Nessa always is, hungry.
To make a long story short, despite all our efforts, none of the networking efforts yielded results that day. It was one last walk at dusk that revealed our dog hiding in a barn about a mile away. However, I realized how important it is to have proper identification of your pets. Had Nessa’s flight of terror led her out of the fields into a near-by neighborhood or the highway, I hope that the person that managed to coax her in would have read her collar and called us. I learned several valuable lessons about proper identification for your pets that I will regularly share with my clients from now on.
- It’s best to have a cell phone number listed on your dog’s tag, so if you’re out searching, or have life as normal to get on with (though it seems impossible at the time), you can be reached.
- The microchip companies can be a great resource for getting the word out there and making sure all the shelters in the area will know who to contact in the event your pet arrives. The microchip procedure is relatively quick and painless and can pay for itself a million times over if you find yourself in the situation.
- Finally, networking. Don’t underestimate the power of animal lovers! I found myself genuinely touched by how strangers came out of the woodwork, or long lost acquaintances who stepped up to offer help where they could.
I look forward to serving you and the community and please keep me in mind as a resource if you ever have the unfortunate luck of finding yourself in the situation I did in Denver.