A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

The Peruvian pup who stole our hearts

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

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

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 speak…


SELF/POETRY

Is this what it means to be a poet?

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 some
ghostly scribe…


FEELING THE BLANK

A prompted poem

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…


THIS HAPPENED TO ME

Part Two

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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…


POETRY

A poem of motherhood

Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

Giggles like birdsong
fill the air
As we race the wind
without a care

Hand in hand,
so small and warm
From memory
I can trace their form

Within moments of birth
they clutched my thumb
As I gently rocked
to an ancient drum

Being a mother
is a singular role
Still, a woman is not
a simple soul

I had hopes and dreams,
a personal goal
which I had to follow
so I could be whole

The years have past
my brood is grown
They now have families
all their own

I watched them grow,
looked on with pride
The trials…


A VETERINARIAN’S LIFE

A poem

Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

As you sit on the edge
and stare at that place
Piper, sweet piper,
who’s led us a merry chase

Hear the muffled prayer
I always recite,
Go gently, sweet pet
into the night

I wish for you
a peaceful demise,
that nature's course
we do not compromise

But man versus creature
is a hard road to toil
As people try to balance
your instinct, their turmoil

Families stand together
in comforting embrace
Struggling to prepare for
what is clear they must face

I am always asked,
they have to know
Does it get easier?
The answer is, no

Still…

Dr. Jackie Greenwood

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

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