A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

The Peruvian pup who stole our hearts

In 2008 I traveled to Peru to do a week-long surgical clinic.

These trips had become a family affair and on this one, I was joined by my husband, two of my children: twenty-three-year-old Robin, twelve-year-old Maddie, and a vet tech from my hospital in Canada.

Our host, Rosemary, lived in a small coastal village.

The local residents had been told that they could bring their pets in the morning to be spayed or neutered, and pick them up later.

But it was the strays in the nearby town, that Rosemary was truly…


A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

in Africa

A number of years ago I followed my eldest daughter to Uganda where she was working with an NGO in Kampala. My plan had been to lend a hand in any way needed. But using that wonderful new thing, the world wide web, I connected with a woman who was interested in hosting spay/neuter clinics in nearby communities.

So with a hundred pounds of equipment, I made my way to Africa. The cheapest airfare took me from Toronto to New York, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and my final destination, Entebbe- two days later.

Our first working day was spent in a…


A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

The animals I have known

Though I cherish
the quiet I have earned
there are days I miss
the whisper of animals
all around me

Youthful energy,
bounding in
I’m easy to please
I’m easy to forgive

nervous purr, saying
do what you must
just be quick
just be gentle

Next come the sick,
cradled in worried arms
with love that
fills the room

such a clamor of voices
I must listen carefully
as hands move, head to tail
in practiced form

all my senses
searching for
the hidden clues,
for how to heal

But most of all, I miss
the old and infirm
who speak…


SELF/POETRY

Is this what it means to be a poet?

In that other time
I spoke in prose,
ordered phrases
falling line
after line,
on to the page

I thought of myself
not as a writer,
merely a cypher
documenting
the pain of others

Then the words
slowed to a trickle,
syllables wrapped me
in warm confusion
until finally, I emerged
heart in hand

Now, with stringy hair
and blackened eyes
I pace the room
in yesterdays clothes,
searching for meaning
in abbreviated form

Sleep is a
tortured affair
as I wander through
watery dreams,
words percolating

I wake to find
mysterious hieroglyphics
scrawled on the wall,
the work of some
ghostly scribe…


FEELING THE BLANK

A prompted poem

I search
the white expanse
for signs of life
but find none

no criss-cross
from machines
wreaking havoc
in this quiet place

no solitary footprint
hinting at some
untold mystery hiding
just out of reach

no deer tracks
tracing a
meandering path
like unformed thoughts

no evidence of
predator stalking prey
like the shadow
that haunts my dreams

no melting drops sliding
down branches and
landing like tears
on a love letter

Today there are
no tracks in the snow,
nothing to mark
this blank page

as if the world
is taking a break
and telling me
to do the…


A Veterinarian’s Life

Nora

When I was eleven I went to a movie convention with my friend and her father, who owned a chain of theatres. At the MGM booth was a tamed cheetah who people were allowed to see up close and Mr. Allan knew of my obsession with cats, Africa, and the TV show, Daktari.

She was a mature female; watchful eyes in a small head, deep thorax, sleek, muscled body. In awe, I extended my hands towards her and she gently sniffed my fingers.

I don’t remember how it happened but the next thing I knew, I was sitting on the…


THIS HAPPENED TO ME

Part Two

I’m publishing a book and it’s all Roz Warren’s fault!

Last September, after reading an article she posted, I submitted a cat story to the publisher, Austin MacCauley,

Accidently, I sent it to general submissions, not Chicken Soup.

A few weeks later, to my shock, I received an email asking if I had more stories for a collection or perhaps, a manuscript.

I did and sent that.

Weeks went by. I heard nothing and assumed it had been rejected.

I wrote Part One of this story:

Then, four months after the initial conversation, the publisher reached out again.

The editorial…

Dr. Jackie Greenwood

Veterinarian, wife, mother, grandmother, swimmer. My writing muse has tracked me down.

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