A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

The Peruvian pup who stole our hearts

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Photo by Vianney CAHEN on Unsplash

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

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photo by JG

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

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Photo by Craig Philbrick on Unsplash

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…


SELF/POETRY

Is this what it means to be a poet?

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Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

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…


FEELING THE BLANK

A prompted poem

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Photo by r m on Unsplash

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…


Humour

I say yes!

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Photo by Indi Palmer on Unsplash

Would you smile if a pug held the door for you?

I say yes! Pugs are the dog breed that spreads universal joy.

How about a tall, dark, handsome stranger or a young woman with a dazzling smile and a figure to match? Probably yes again.

But what about a nondescript woman on the far, far end of middle age?

I hope the answer does not surprise you.

It all started at my fitness club where, before the lockdown, I was pretty much a daily visitor. …


A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

and an unexpected friendship

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Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

I met Lois years ago when I was a young veterinarian working at a downtown hospital. She had been in a couple of times with one of her cats but I had not paid much attention. In those early years, I was focused on the pet rather than the person.

It was not until I ran into her at the local swimming pool that our relationship truly began. I was in the change room with my little daughter, just pulling up her suit, when I heard someone calling my name.

I turned to see Lois, nothing but a towel wrapped…


CONFESSION

Leaving something behind

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Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

Looking at me you couldn't tell, but for years I had a love affair.

Not what you think.

It was with the game of blackjack.

Ironically, I hate casinos - the smoke, the crowds, the drunken players throwing their money on the table.

Sure, there was a little bit of that wanting to be “bad”.

Probably a not uncommon response to the responsibilities that weigh you down in middle -age.

But mostly, it was the solitude that drew me.

The calm of sitting at a table, alone, someone quietly placing a coffee at my elbow,

And simply counting -over and…


S&S Prompt: Hope

To vanquish the winter blues

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Photo by Carol Carpenter on Unsplash

I stand frozen in time
no longer inspired by
the pristine white
of this too long
too cold season

But staring at the winter tree
I catch a flash of red,
such stark contrast to
the naked branches

like oxygenated blood
like electricity
like warmth

it forces a smile

don’t think,
just look

three, now four males
and there,
the beak of a female
and another,
peeking through the brush

don’t think,
just listen

a crack-
the ice is melting
and this winter
like the last,
shall soon pass

© Dr. Jackie Greenwood 2021

Thanks to R. Rangan Ph.D.


The Accidental Birder

On a pole

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Snowy Owl photo by JG

This road I had traveled
all of my life
the route to the north,
straight as a knife

But never before
had I taken the role
of looking for owls
on top of a pole

And there she sat
so still and so white
a snowy owl,
not taking flight

We stepped from the car
and sat on a boulder,
our faces upturned
shoulder to shoulder

We oohed and we ahhed
all three generations,
a day to remember
with true venerations

Our country drive
was changed forever
by a beautiful bird
sitting high up, so clever

Now, every week while…

Dr. Jackie Greenwood

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

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