Going to the dogs, and occasional cat

  • Friday, June 5, 2020 4:11pm
  • Life
Going to the dogs, and occasional cat

Dogs don’t chase after this ambulance. They ride inside.

What’s up with that?

It’s the pet ambulance.

Veterinarians Dr. Eric Patrin and Dr. Rob Jung use the 2007 Nissan Xterra to make housecalls. They figured, why not primp it up?

The SUV’s vinyl wrap has orange stripes with “Pet Ambulance” in big letters and blue medical emblems covering the side rear windows. It is parked at the ready in front of their South Whidbey Animal Clinic on State Highway 525 across from Ken’s Korner shopping plaza in Clinton.

Now for the letdown …

“It’s just a normal car,” Jung said.

No cardiac monitors, oxygen tanks and IV equipment.

Inside is a pet bed and chew toy. And dog hair.

When duty calls, the vets grab a medical bag, and off they go. The kit has items such as syringes, medicine, stethoscope and a blood pressure cup made for skinny, hairy legs.

“A lot of the equipment is similar to human quality stuff,” Patrin said.

Jung has a special interest in exotic pets such as reptiles and small mammals. Mostly, though, the docs fetch dogs and an occasional cat that needs a ride to their office for routine care.

“For those who don’t have transport or maybe live alone and have a 90-pound German shepherd that they can’t get in the car,” Patrin said.

The Nissan is used to deliver medication, food and sleep products to pet owners who can’t get to the clinic. Yes, our lounge-on-the-couch-all-day pets have sleep disorders, just like us.

The doctors also do in-home euthanasia, so the pet’s final moments can be spent in a familiar place.

Judi Witt and her husband, Mike, had the pet ambulance come to their Clinton home earlier this year when the time had come to say goodbye to Leyla. The ailing 13-year-old Weimaraner who’d been with them since a pup was too ill to stand.

Leyla took her last breath with her head in Mike’s lap.

“Very slowly she closed her eyes,” Judi said.

Patrin and an assistant wrapped Leyla in her favorite blanket and gently carried her on a stretcher into the pet ambulance. The Witts have Leyla’s ashes in a special keepsake box.

The couple recently adopted two puppies.

“They’re such good companions,” Judi said. “They need you and we need them just as much. Right now, we especially need them.”

The pandemic’s stay-home order has sparked a new breed of pet seekers.

Former South Whidbey Record and current Herald reporter Ben Watanabe, 33 and footloose, is the posterboy of the bachelor millennial dude. His last commitment to any sentient being was Francis, a betta fish he had in college.

Recently, Watanabe shocked coworkers with talk about wanting a cat in his life.

This prompted Langley Mayor Tim Callison — who endured Ben’s journalism prior to him joining the Herald — to remark, “Big step, Ben.”

Ben was catless at this writing. He’s still looking for Ms. Purrfect at shelters and rescues, not bars.

The vets have seen an uptick in new pet checkups.

“A lot of puppy exams,” Patrin said. “People are home and have time to house train and socialize.”

Pets are happier with their people at home.

“I know my dogs are,” Patrin said. “There is some family bonding luxury that a lot of us haven’t had before.”

Wellness company RestoraPet recently sent an email to the newspaper with tips to prepare our furry friends when we have to go back to work.

“It’s never too early to get your pets ready for the anxiety that comes with an empty house,” the company said. “Pets act out by destroying furniture, crying/barking.”

So will a lot of humans when they have to start interacting with their own kind again.

Andrea Brown is a feature reporter for The Herald in Everett.

More in Life

Members of the public and Whidbey Island Rocks are encouraged to paint and hide stones with Garry oak designs or other local flora and fauna this week in preparation for a hunt Saturday. Photo by Jane Geddes
Island rock hunt celebrates Oak Harbor ‘Year of the Oak’

Whidbey Island Rocks is encouraging people to paint stones with Garry oaks before a hunt Saturday.

Photo provided
The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron, also known as America’s Boating Club of Deception Pass, hosts jamborees and other social events, along with boater safety and education classes.
Whidbey boaters promote safety, education

The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron hosts education and safety classes, and social events.

Michael Nichols, owner of Whidbey Green Goods, stands in his hoop house, also known as “The Hovel.” Customers visit the Clinton farm to pick up their own produce and plant starts. (Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group)
One-man Whidbey Island farm gears up for spring

The pandemic has brought a longtime farmer out of retirement.

Master Gardener Don Krafft gathers some broccoli in his garden plot at South Whidbey Tilth. He grows several things that are available for purchase at the Island County Master Gardener online plant sale. (Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record)
Master Gardeners kick off plant sale, continue clincs

Green thumbs who have had a taste of spring sunshine and want to begin planting can do so with the help of the Island County Master Gardeners.

Photo provided
Stella Rowan, left, Savannah Mounce and Luna Grove, right, get together for swims and photoshoots like this one at Deception Pass State Park. The trio of two mermaids and a self-described “heavy metal selkie” call themselves the Whidbey Island Sirens.
Whidbey Island Sirens making quite a splash

The trio will be at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor this Saturday.

Frances Schultz, holding a picture of her younger self, recently turned 100 years old. Her daughter, Connie Van Dyke, right, said her mother’s photo looks like one of actress Barbara Stanwyck. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
At 100, Oak Harbor woman reflects on busy life

Frances Schultz turned 100 years old on March 30.

Joel Atienza’s uniform’s USAF/USSF patches prior to transfer. Photo provided
Oak Harbor 2010 grad selected for U.S. Space Force

Joel Atienza’s advice to Space Force hopefuls? “Remember, ‘The sky is not the limit.’”

The Oystercatcher’s owner and chef, Tyler Hansen, prepares a dozen 3 Sisters beef bolognese lasagnas to go on the shelves at 3 Sisters Market. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Chef liaises with other business owners

A Coupeville chef has expanded his partnership with local business owners to… Continue reading

Joe Gunn holding a freshly backed rhubarb pie. (Photo by Harry Anderson)
How a pie on the Rock became a brand and legend

Whidbey Pies is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

Color Guard Capt. Mike Hutchins, at left, and John Kraft present the Sons of the American Revolution Bronze Good Citizenship Medal to Bobbi Lornson, center. (Photo by Teresa Addison)
Oak Harbor woman awarded ‘Good Citizenship’ medal

Bobbi Lornson, past president of the Oak Harbor Lions Club president and volunteer, was recently recognized for her contributions to the community.

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop in Langley, hangs a purple neon star he made on the wall of his arcade. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Neon art show colorizes Machine Shop’s reopening

A cacophony of happy buzzers and bells and a riot of glowing… Continue reading

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Third grader Laszlo McDowell gets up close and personal with a gray whale skull.
Students learn about being ‘whale-wise’

South Whidbey Elementary School students got a taste of what it would be like to live as gray whales.