My job as a Veterinary Nurse involves good and bad times, I imagine the same as any occupation, but I would never dream of changing my career as there is nothing more rewarding than to feel you have made a difference to the life of an animal.

My story below is the best example: 

robin colvin

Back in September 2002 the doorbell rang at the surgery and the Veterinary Surgeon on duty and I were presented with a cat who had been attacked by two dogs, leaving him in shock and with a fractured radius and ulna, superficial grazes, puncture wounds, severe bruising and an owner who did not want him anymore due to financial problems.

So without hesitation our main priority was to administer him with pain relief, antibiotics and sedation to enable full examination including x-rays.

His fractures were later confirmed with x-rays and a supportive bandage was applied to make him more comfortable.

This is where it all began for Peanut. From this point onwards the owners were no longer interested or heard from as we informed them we would not elect euthanasia as his injuries could be fixed so we would take over the responsibility of him and do what we felt necessary.

Peanut was given a full general anaesthetic and his fractures repaired using 2 kirschner wires and a hexolite cast. The following day revealed all, as this was not going to be the way to recovery for him, as overnight he pulled his cast off and his personality had changed. I cannot describe how his behaviour changed; he was frantically throwing himself around and was unable to be consoled or calmed down. This was very upsetting to see and as a result of this, he went on to have two further anaesthetics within the next week to repair the leg further due to the trauma it had undergone. Regardless of all our continued efforts, he would not tolerate the fracture repair and would go berserk making it very hard to handle him with minimal stress. Peanut's outlook was worrying as he was also unable to urinate without assistance, which meant more handling, which he understandably resented.

Peanut was started on medication to help him pass urine by himself but we had to wait and see if he made progress alone day by day.

By this point I had become extremely fond of Peanut and was striving to do all I could to make him feel better. It was now over a week later and the Veterinary surgeons and Veterinary nurses involved, including myself, had a discussion regarding the next step with Peanut. After some time the senior partner decided it would be kindest to amputate his right foreleg as his leg was not going to heal even after all our efforts. There was one important cause for concern though - the vet knew there were enough four-legged cats waiting to be rehomed let alone a 3 legged cat who was not urinating properly and was now extremely fractious due to his ordeal and would likely spend a life in fear of dogs.

This is when I stepped in and decided I held all my hopes out for Peanut and that I would take him home once he was on the road to recovery. I knew I had my dog at home but she is very placid and used to cats and could be trusted to never hurt him.

So with no delay the operation was underway to amputate his leg to which he made a slow but encouraging recovery. Within the few days after surgery he was starting to show progress with his urinating and we modified a litter tray to make it easy for him to use. We nursed him at the practice for many days and everybody was so pleased with his outcome. I knew the day was approaching when I would take him home and the two of us had come to understand each other and I felt he was beginning to trust me.

I set up a huge large dog cage in my front room and equipped with medication, cat litter, soft bedding, tasty food and a lot of love I took him to what I was keeping my fingers crossed would be his safe haven from here onwards.

Like most cats, he took approximately a week to gain confidence enough to start venturing and checking out his new environment, including Shandy my Irish Setter.

Shandy was excellent with him and they spent an increasing amount of time working one another out but under no pressure and Peanut felt secure in his cage at all times.

However over the next few days something had to change - his name. From this day on he is now proudly known as Robin Reliant!! *

I wanted to discard his past life in a house, which had many animals, including numerous dogs, and move on to enjoy his life ahead. I can honestly say I am so proud of both of Shandy and Robin as I felt they almost understood each other from the very start. They bonded so well and now they have grown not just to tolerate each other but they live in harmony together and interact. They sleep in each other’s beds, Robin likes to play with Sandy’s fluffy ears and also swap meals if they fancy.

It is now approaching 3 years that I have had the pleasure of Robin Reliant and I would not be without him.

He was also diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in November 2003, although he has no clinical signs at all. He has been investigated by a Cardiologist and he is now on medication to help his heart cope. You would never know he had such a traumatic history, as he is the most friendly, loving, adorable, clever and adventurous cat you will meet. shandy and robin (underneath sunbed)

Just for the record I swear Shandy and Robin are partners in crime as the other day I found Shandy digging a hole in my lawn and when she had finished Robin thought it was made just for him to roll around in and cover himself in earth before sleeping on my pillow.….

My experience with Robin has left me realising what a recovery animals can make with a lot of tender loving care and understanding. All I ever think is LUCKY ME for owning such a remarkable and courageous creature.

Melanie Colvin VN.

*Reliant Robins are a make of car in the UK which have 3 wheels – like the yellow one in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ on BBC television! 

In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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