I hope everyone had a Happy New Year full of fun celebrations! My crew and I went to a black tie event on the 50th floor with panoramic city views and an open bar…What a treat!

The Vue Sky Lounge

With a new year always comes a time of reflection. It’s important for everyone to remember the positive moments while also looking back at the things that you may want to work on over the next year. The cool thing about life is knowing that if you don’t like something, you can change it! You just need to figure out what aspects of your life need improvement and dedicate some time to making it happen. The best way to accomplish your goals is by stating them as fact and then implementing each daily.

When deciding on my resolutions for 2016, I wanted to choose things to focus on that will better myself and my future. Since I’ll finally be making my debut in France this August as an Assémat, this realization helped motivate me towards my goals for this upcoming year.

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I decided this year that as a veterinarian, my pets need resolutions too!

Louis’s New Year Resolution: To get started in agility training.

Louis (and his mom) have loved playing with the tunnels, jumps, and climbing boards at the dog park so it is time to dedicate Louis to actual training. This is a very cool activity where you can bond with your dog as you teach them how to navigate through an obstacle course. It is also a great way to keep them lean, get out some of their extra energy, and also strengthen their determination, focus, and listening ability.

Lola’s New Year Resolution: To be nicer to her brothers.

Lola has never been the happiest cat. Her happy place is laying on a blanket in the sun by herself. She loves her mommy and hasn’t been the most enthused about her new younger brother Napoleon. She has decided her goal for this year will be to have more hiding places to escape for quiet time when she needs it and to breathe in her Feliway (feline pheromone) whenever she is stressed. Kinda like how her mom uses red wine after a long day!

Napoleon’s New Year Resolution: To not get into everything around the house.

Napoleon has now realized that he is in the awkward teenage years transitioning from an 8 month old kitten to an adult on his 1 year birthday this year. As such, he has been enjoying getting into every shenanigan possible around the house. Whether it is knocking things over, climbing where he shouldn’t, or chewing on shoes/belts, he knows it is time to start practicing his self control. Thankfully, he has Louis to always mess with when he needs to get his energy out!

It may seen a bit silly to some to make a resolution for your pet, but I actually enjoyed nerding out on this today. It’s important to always think about your pet and their vices….If your pet is overdue for losing those 10 extra pounds or has shown signs of separation anxiety, this is your year to dedicate time to working on these things together. Everything takes time and patience, and in the end, YOU are your pet’s advocate so it is up to you to help them to lead a healthy, happy life. In turn, it will help strengthen your bond together while also improving quality of life for all!

Now what are your resolutions going to be!?

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Well, it looks like football season is in full swing now! Tis’ the season where most of us end up camping out in front of TV’s in bars and friend’s houses Thursday-Monday to watch our favorite teams (Go Hokies!). I pretty much learn how to survive off of buffalo wing dip, fried pickles, ham biscuits, and pumpkin beer every weekend of fall. Thank god it is cool out again so I can run with the dog more often!

Now one of my other favorite things to look at this time of year is my friend’s dogs sporting their owner’s team flair. I did some Facebook/Instagram stalking of my own recently to compile some of my favorite #FootballDogSelfie photos. These photos were all taken by their owners in hopes of it being THE lucky jersey. I should probably start with my own dog torture. Louis has to be a VT Hokie like his mom and dad…obviously. The Panthers may start to make an appearance in his wardrobe eventually.

This is how I felt against Ohio State first game of the season….

I still agree with one of my best friends here that Delta definitely likes to rock the jersey on the weekends! *Caw Caw*

This lil poodle is my godson, and he is a boss. Move over cute sweaters…in comes Indiana U and the Saints reppin.

Could you REALLY call us Chokies staring into that cute bulldog mug?

Now I guess to be fair I need to add in our good ole rival…and I should tryyyy to rep my hometown college (I’ll do it for you sis).

Now don’t forget, there are SO many opportunities where you live to enjoy a game out with your dog. I have found our new city to be extremely dog friendly, and it makes you feel much better when you can free your dog from the dog house!

Places we go:

  • Breweries (don’t typically serve food so almost always dog friendly!)
  • Dog bars (we have two in our city….literally the dogs just run around free range)
  • Bars with porches
  • Friend’s houses (those with yards….BONUS)

I am always hopelessly optimistic this time of year….untillllll our quarterback breaks his collar bone in the first and biggest game of the season. *Womp Womp*  Good luck to your teams this year! Don’t forget to keep posting those #FootballDogSelfie photos, and may the best team win.

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Well, this Southern Pet Vet has had quite the summer! It was filled with overnight ER shifts, traveling up and down the south, and ending with my dream wedding. Our wedding was at the Peninsula Yacht Club on Lake Norman just 30 minutes north of where we live in North Carolina. There is NOTHING better than throwing the biggest party of our lives with all our favorite family and friends! Here are some sneak peak photos of the event, and I am anxiously awaiting more from Erin Kranz Photography.

  1. My grandfather performed the ceremony. He has been a part of all of our family’s wedding ceremonies so far!
  2. My step-dad built the wooden pergola that was our altar.
  3. Family and Friends traveled from all over to be there on our special day (France, China, Denmark, and from multiple states of USA).
  4. It was our “second wedding” as we got married in a courthouse about 1.5 years ago after we were issued a fiancé visa.
  5. The groom’s cake (pictured above) was constructed of cheese wheels as I found this more appropriate for my Frenchman!

I still am in awe over how perfect our wedding weekend was and can’t thank everyone enough who came! Now it is time to accept that my favorite season of the year is already upon us. I become pretty stereotypical this time of year with  my love of pumpkin everything, scarves on scarves on scarves, and finding cool spots to watch football (especially my #1, Hokies!). The busy summer is now behind me, so I wanted a fun way to tell everyone I am back! It is time to revamp the blog, so get excited for weekly posts regarding your furry compadres so we can make sure you are in the know on every possible thing in regards to your pet. My goal is for you to keep your furry best around as long as possible with blog posts centered around their health, behavior, tips/tricks, and more!

Don’t forget, I thrive off of feedback so PLEASE make sure to comment on my posts or message me on the side so I cover any topics you want more information on. I’m excited!

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I don’t know about y’all, but this past month flew by! To boot, I cannot believe 4th of July just came and went. Currently I am on as the overnight ER doc so as you can see I couldn’t help myself from warning my fellow FB community yesterday 😀

As you can see from my visible hiatus, June was quite a busy month! The last 30 days were one of the busiest of my internship, which has officially come to a close with my last day as an intern today (July 5th)!

For those who don’t know, I am continuing on as an associate veterinarian for the next year so North Carolina will continue to be home base for now : ) On top of the recent job transition, it is now the 2 month mark of wedding planning. I never understood how it could possibly take an entire year to plan a wedding, but I absolutely understand why now! There is so much to coordinate from picking your venue to sending out invites to seating charts to decorations… I’m certainly not a procrastinator, but I have already begun to feel the pressure now that the countdown is T-60 days.

Reflecting back on the last month, I have realized a few things about myself. I always “felt” like an adult since entering my 20’s, but I really noticed the biggest transition to adulthood over the last year. Starting my first job out of school in a challenging internship put a lot of stress on me. I quickly learned I wear my stress on my sleeve, which has been difficult on me in a busy work environment. In general, stress affects us in more ways than we even realize. For starters, it affects our mood, relationships, health, and “generally speaking” well-being. It has been one of the hardest things for me to manage this last year, but I truly think challenging myself early on in my career has helped give me clarity on how to handle it in the long run. Since I tend to operate in list fashion, I think a written testament to my stress buster plan is much needed. I hope it helps give you some tips too as I think this is one of the top things everyone needs to manage in order to live a happy, fulfilled life. Stress will hit you at multiple points in your life, so denial is not an option my friends!

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Working as an ER veterinarian over the last year has truly been an eye opening experience. I had to quickly learn what it meant to think on my feet while also managing multiple cases of varying illness. A typical night may range from a heat stroke bulldog to a cat that was hit by a car then finally to a vomiting dog that swallowed a kong toy recently. I have quickly learned the easier part of my job is the medicine while the experience follows suit as every hour ticks by. What has become the hardest part is finding a way to manage the business side and explain to owners at 2 am why their dog needs to be hospitalized with an estimate ranging from $2500-3500. An exam fee to visit an emergency vet in the middle of the night can easily range from $95-150 depending on the time of night and location. Pairing this with radiographs, blood-work, and possible hospitalization can all add up quickly.

There has been a lot of controversy in the media recently regarding the cost of veterinary care. Exhibit A –> “Vets are too expensive, and it’s putting pets at risk.” Now, there is nothing more upsetting to me than this article. Human health insurance has completely jaded the way we look at our own medical bills. When I broke my leg, my overall bill to insurance totaled around $35,000! These charges included ER fees, radiographs, CT scans, surgery, rechecks, and physical therapy. Sure, it didn’t all have to be paid, but the co-pay was still $5,000. If a dog breaks their leg in a similar fashion, I can guarantee you based on my current experience the same services would total around $2,500-5,000 based on where you live.

Now don’t get me wrong….I completely sympathize with anyone who has medical bills whether on the human or veterinary side. I think the hardest part with veterinary medicine is that most people don’t have insurance, and we aren’t always prepared for an accident. I myself recently felt this with my cat Omega, and I was not prepared in any way. I think it is important to partly explain to you why emergency bills can be expensive so you understand where it is coming from. For one, we share similar medical supplies as the human field so if their prices go up ours go up. In order to be open at 2 am, you have to realize it is a 24 hour facility with 24 hour bills that need to be paid. Then, there is the staff that is being paid to work an overnight shift. Finally, being an emergency facility means having more bells and whistles to both diagnose and treat cases that may walk through the door. This is only a small list of many reasons why prices are higher than the average general practice you may be used to visiting.

When an accident happens, how can you be prepared for these medical expenses? I find that many of the options I list below will work across the country and at many types of vet hospitals (general, emergency, and specialty). It’s important for you to be aware of these options so that you are fully prepared when something happens to your pet.

  1. Care Credit: This is by far my favorite option if you already have a credit history. You can apply online here and will be given a spending limit. If approved, it has no yearly fees and can be saved in case of emergency. This credit card will then give you 6 months interest free to pay off your bill. Of course if you don’t pay it off within the 6 months, then you get hit with high interest fees. On a side note, this card can also be used for human health expenses such as lasik or a trip to the dentist too!
  2. PaymentBanc: This may not be offered at every hospital, but I have found it is a nice solution if available. At my hospital for example, we have the client pay half of the total bill. Then, the rest of the bill is broken down into a set number of payments, and a smaller sum is automatically deducted from your bank account each month. This service allows you to again space costs out over time.
  3. Pet Insurance: There are so many companies out there, and each varies based on what they cover. Some have plans that include both healthy vaccination appointments and emergency visits while other plans only cover emergency bills. Compare and contrast them all in order to determine what fits best with your pet and budget. The important thing to know about pet insurance is that you have to front the cost of the bill, and then they will reimburse you (typically within a few weeks). 
  4. Save! Save! Save!: We all remember our dads beating this mantra into our heads from a young age, but it truly is important. Remember that your new furry friend relies on you for everything and with that comes responsibility. Try to find a way to save up at least a few thousand prior to adoption so that you are prepared if anything comes up.

I completely understand that no one ever wants to imagine the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, with medical costs rising, we have to be prepared not only with our own health care but also our pets. Just remember, the veterinarian is on your side, and we try to work with you in any way we can. My hope is that you can help meet us in the middle and be prepared for the unexpected.

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