More Than Humane

Biddy happyI want to be clear up front that the focus of this blog entry is to say how awesome the Humane Society of Missouri has been lately. Before I go into that too much, here is some context:

About a month ago, my eldest cat, Biddy, stopped eating. Which is pretty weird, because Biddy’s top two favorite activities are:

  1. eating
  2. playing with rubber bands, bringing them to his food bowl, then eating

I won’t go into the details, but this unfortunate turn of events has led to a number of visits to the veterinarian to try to figure out what’s wrong with my little boy. For a while it was a tossup between cancer and inflammatory bowel syndrome; as of today it looks like the latter, which is wonderful. Now we just need to figure out what kind of food Biddy will eat.

As Biddy and I have gone through this (my other cat, Walter, is somewhat ambivalent), I’ve tried to look for the silver lining. I didn’t think I’d have to face Biddy’s mortality for another 7 or so years; he’s only 6 years old now. He’s an animal, but I love the little guy. I don’t want to lose him.

So a silver lining has been tough to find. But it struck me a few days ago: The Humane Society of Missouri, from where I adopted Biddy and where I take him for checkups and testing, has been absolutely incredible during this process.

In particular, Biddy’s veterinarian, Dr. Castelli, has been such a blessing. She and her assistants have been incredibly compassionate and gentle with Biddy on top of their methodical and professional approach to diagnosing and curing him.

On top of that, Dr. Castelli calls me every 2-3 days to check on Biddy. I can’t tell you how much that means when the health of your pet is on the line. It’s a level of service that I’ve never experienced with anyone else caring for Biddy’s health, much less my own!

So in the midst of Biddy’s crisis, I just wanted to give a huge shoutout to Dr. Castelli and the Humane Society f Missouri (and beyond–do most states have Humane Societies?) I wouldn’t have Biddy in the first place were it not for them, and he’s on the road to recovery thanks to them as well.

If you have a pet, do you have an organization or a person you’d like to thank for their care? Feel free to share in the comments.


10 Responses to “More Than Humane”

  1. Laura says:

    I had a very similar experience at the Humane Society. When Beckham got diagnosed with parvo 24 hours after I adopted him I was looking at a rather large bill for a puppy I just didn’t want to give up. I had taken him to the emergency hospital on a Sunday night and just needed to get him through until I could get to the Humane Society when it opened the next morning. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect as far as care went but when you adopt there if they get sick within the first few days you bring the dog back and they will treat them. I was amazed from the moment I walked in the door (in tears) how we were treated. They calmed me down first and explained all of my options. Then as I went back to the emergency hospital to pick up my puppy (with his IV) they made all of the arrangements for me to check him in with them. Over the next week he had to stay there over night…because they don’t have someone there over night (which made me nervous) they called me at the end of the day to update me and in the morning to let me know how he was doing. We spent a lot of time there over the first few months I had Beckham.

    Now we go to Jefferson Animal Hospital since it’s close to home and they have been great with Beckham so far. But I will always be grateful to the Humane Society for how they took care of us.

  2. Emma says:

    I feel it’s important to clarify, does he bring the rubber bands to his food bowl and then eat them? This could be part of the problem.

    I have been a Humane Society vet patient and foster parent volunteer for years and am really impressed with their operations. So glad to hear you had a great experience as well!

  3. Aaron says:

    Nice post, Jamey. We’ve always taken our cat Ringo to the Webster Animal Hospital in Webster Groves, and they take great care of him. Like Biddy, he’s worth it! Here’s hoping your little fella gets well soon.

  4. Angie says:

    Jamey, Sorry to hear that Biddy has not been feeling well. I hope he feels better soon. He is lucky to have such a great life with you!

  5. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Thank you all for sharing your positive experiences. And Emma, we did consider the rubber bands, but the cat ultrasound didn’t reveal any foreign bodies.

  6. Katie says:

    One more vote for Webster Groves Animal Hospital. Many years ago, I woke up early on a Sunday morning to discover my beloved chocolate lab, Lola, was very sick. She was bleeding profusely from her from her intestines and was so weak that she could barely lift her head up. I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say that my house looked like a crime scene; it was very, very bad. She didn’t have long if we didn’t get her seen right away, but at 7am on a Sunday, there weren’t many options. Luckily, the Webster Groves Animal Hospital was pretty close by and I knew that they were open 24 hours a day. We carried her in and although she had to spend several days there recuperating, she did pull through thankfully.

    I was working odd hours at that time and would often go in around midnight to visit her after I got off work. It was great because it was obviously a slow time for them, so they’d let me spend as much time with her as I wanted. I probably looked crazy to them, lying down on the floor with half of my body in her cage so I could nuzzle her, but they were so nice about it. I also saw them work on several emergency cases when I was visting, and they handled each one really well, regardless of the outcome (one poor puppy had already passed by the time it had arrived, but they still did what they could and consoled the distraught owner).

    More recently, I woke up one morning a few weeks ago to find my new puppy, Ozzie, had gotten into some dark chocolate truffles–Dark Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Salted Caramel Truffles from Trader Joe’s, to be exact. He has a very sophisticated palate when he’s not licking himself. He’s also super sneaky, because they were individually wrapped, in a box and on a table, and he still got to them!

    I knew right away that it was bad news, especially considering how small he is and the amount of chocolate he ate (that’s what I get for trying to have self-control and ration them!). I immediately called Banfield Pet Hospital, which is the vet clinic associated with PetSmart. They’d done the inital check-up when I’d gotten him, and I’d gone there out of convenience because of their hours. The woman on the phone was very concerned when I told her what had happened, but was calm and told me I’d have to induce vomiting immediately and then bring him in. I had visions of me sticking my finger down his throat in some kind of weird doggie bulimia incident, but she explained that having him ingest a couple teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide would do the trick (who knew?). Thankfully I had that around, and his recovery was quick. They were all very worried when I brought him in, but I picked him up later that evening and he was no worse for the wear. The vet said it was one of the easiest cases of chocolate poisoning she had ever dealt with, which is surprising because of how small he is and because dark chocolate is the worst kind of chocolate for dogs to eat. I believe that the quick thinking of the tech on the phone helped a lot. She did a great job of guiding me through what to do so that I could get the treatment started as soon as possible.

    The moral of the story is that vets rock and my dogs get into trouble when I go to sleep.

    I hope Biddy has a quick recovery!! Poor little guy.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks for the epic (and ultimately heartwarming) stories, Katie. You’re a good storyteller. I applaud your dog’s rich palate. Biddy is currently on a special prescription cat food that he’s eating like crazy, which is great. The downside is that it’s incredibly expensive. I’m spending more on his food right now than I am my own food. Also, the cat food smells like chocolate pudding, which is driving my chocolate pudding budget through the roof.

  7. Jasmin says:

    Oh, no! Well, I’m sure he’ll get well soon with such an awesome papa. 🙂 Keep eating, Biddy. 🙂 And speedy recovery!

  8. Amanda Lough says:

    I hope Biddy starts eating again soon, it’s always frightening when an animal who loves to eat stops. When my teagle (that’s a terrier/beagle mix with the appetite of a beagle) stopped eating and then started getting weird scales on her paw pads I knew something was wrong. I didn’t get my Daisy from HSMO, but I’ve been taking her there for weekly treatments since we (read the wonderful vet team at Macklind Ave. namely Dr. Szatkowski) figured out what was causing the scales (unfortunately it’s connected to her liver which is essentially shot at this point). I’m actually on my third vet now, Dr. Castelli as a mater of fact, who is amazing. Dr. Stonis was between the two and she was great as well. Poor Dr. Szatkowski had to give me the news that we can’t fix her and she was amazing as I was bawling over the phone and Dr. Stonis used to email me fairly regularly with new ideas of things I could try to help out (vitamin E, fish oil, zinc, etc). Dr. Castelli is great too, just today I called her to get an update on Daisy (I was out of town last week and Daisy’s grandma had to take her in) and when I said I know when the treatments stop helping I’ll have to start making the tough decisions, she immediately assured me Daisy isn’t there yet and I’m sure when she does get there the team will make sure I make the right decision no matter how tough it is (and I’m sure they’ll all be heartbroken, the words ‘trooper’ and ‘fighter’ have come up several times describing Daisy’s journey). The entire staff at Macklind Ave now know Daisy and me on sight (apparently she’s an unofficial mascot of sorts). If it weren’t for these treatments I would have had to put her down months ago (the scales are spreading even with the treatments and would have taken over much faster without them). The entire staff asks me how she’s doing and even the techs who don’t work with her stop by and pet her and chat while we’re waiting to head back to the treatment rooms. I joke with whoever gets to call me for the wellness check after her weekly appointment because we both know what we’re both going to say. I chat with the front desk staff when I’m waiting to pick her up in the evenings and they don’t even have to ask who I’m there to pick up, they see me and immediately call back “Daisy’s mom is here to pick her up”. The HSMO is the best, I have adopted two wonderful dogs from them and now the AMCMA (formerly the humane society of missouri…how many times do I hear that message?) is taking wonderful care of my babies. I actually have taken Daisy to both Banfield (most memorably when a 15 pound beagle bit her and tore her ear lobe and she had to have it cauterized, Banfield actually covered all the costs since it happened in the Petsmart store) and Webster Groves (we live in Webster and she started limping really oddly and could barely walk after regular vet hours so we took her in to get it checked). They were both great, I just have a soft spot for AMCMA (formerly HSMO) since the profits help keep the HSMO going.

    And let me tell you, anybody who needs to put a ‘cone of shame’ on their baby (I’ve actually thought about shaming myself on dogshaming.com for doing this to her)…they get used to it! Daisy has been wearing one since the end of Jan. beginning of Feb. and she uses it to her maximum advantage (the only time it comes off is when I feed her). She’s also got her routine down, she steps right on the scale and sits impressing everyone who witness it (and gets annoyed if you try to skip that step), then tries to convince me that was actually the entire appointment, and then finally submits to going to the treatment room.

    So in conclusion, good luck with Biddy. I’m glad it wasn’t cancer and is something that can be fixed. I wish Daisy’s condition had turned out to be an easy fix, but I’ve had her as a best friend for 12 years and she’s had a good long 13 year run. True I wish she could make it to 15 or beyond but there’s nothing you can do about fate and up until this condition showed up she acted like such a puppy no one would believed she was actually a senior dog. Enjoy every moment you have with Biddy (and everyone else out there with healthy animals really, really enjoy every moment). I know I don’t have much more time with Daisy and I’m just glad I’ve had the nine months since February (she has been my best friend for years and at times was one of my only friends and knowing I could go home and squeeze the teagle was one of the only reasons I made it through my college years). You never have enough time with them and that’s the sad fact, but the time you do have is priceless. I’ve always thought I give a piece of my heart to my pets, but they give a piece of theirs back in return so I do have a whole heart afterall, and I’ll always have a piece of them with me. All the best to Biddy (and Walter and all the others out there), they’re in good hands with the HSMO.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Amanda–Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you also had (and have) a good experience with the HSMO. Daisy sounds like quite the fighter! (And pretty precocious with her understanding of the scale.) It’s rough that she’s had to wear a cone for so long, though. Biddy has needed a cone a few times, and those are his saddest days.

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