Page 178 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                Sleep does not come to a breeder at times like this. Two hour naps grabbed here and there are treasured like manna from heaven. I considered sleeping on the floor by the whelping box. During the crisis I had to determine if my bitch suffered from first time mom anxiety or had a calcium imbalance, which would potentially explain her disturbing behavior. Monday arrived with the promise of sunshine and warm weather. My vet’s office was also open. A calcium imbalance was ruled out. I soon had anxiety medication for my bitch. One small dose worked wonders. The meds calmed her. She settled in with the puppies that she nursed, cleaned and kept warm. Seventy-two critical hours had passed and I was exhausted. I slept for six glorious hours. Presently, momma dog is okay. The puppies are fat and doing well. Eyes are opening and toenails need to be clipped.
It is a good thing that I had to work so hard tending to this litter. It caused me to focus on life rather than on the sickness, death and panic that was spreading around the globe. My pantry, fridge and household goods are always well-stocked. For several days I was able to avoid the horror of seeing empty grocery store shelves. Finally, while standing in the store viewing the carnage, I thought a war zone must look and feel like this. I wonder how many folks will develop PTSD and this becomes a more prevalent medical condi- tion than infection from the virus.
With the puppies now growing and being well-mothered, I turned to my ongoing charity work, including the fabrication of a quilt top. Maybe even a second quilt top will be made if the cri- sis continues. In the meantime, favorite meals are being prepared and served. New recipes are getting their kitchen trial. Dinners are yummy! I cannot wait for the shows to start again.
Do I work in healthcare? Yes.
What type of position? I am a physician, a radiologist, and sub- specialize in neuroradiology. I have worked my entire professional career in the same private practice group in Southwestern Penn- sylvania. My wife, Donna, is an emergency room nurse at Latrobe Hospital. Latrobe is famous for Rolling Rock Beer, and the late Arnold Palmer and Mr. Fred Rogers, who were born here.
Without dog shows to attend, how am I keeping busy? Our dog Winston, now 19 months old, was on the road for most of January and February with his handler, Michelle Smith Wolcott, who lives in Conway, South Carolina. We were only able to see him in the show ring in New York City for Westminster and a weekend of shows in Maryland in February. So actually, we are busier now at
home with two dogs at home (we have a four year old GSP too). I work everyday and at least one weekend a month.
The dogs are not used to me being at home so much during the day and so the quarantine has changed their daily routines. They are definitely more needy! Winston previously was in a good routine with Michelle and at ease when traveling on the dog show circuit for such a young dog, so now he is getting used to “being off from work”. We do have more time to train on retrieving and hopefully field work with birds in the near future.
If you are on “house arrest,” are you doing anything differently at home? Has the quarantine changed your daily habits? Has it changed your mindset? Has it altered your plans for the future? The pandemic has effected me in many respects. I doubt anyone in the medical field could have ever predicted what has happened to us now in the year 2020. My work life has changed in so many respects, and continues to evolve almost daily, as we realize how serious the situation has become. I am able to read imaging studies now at home at a computer workstation which is similar to what I use at my work office. When I do have to go into the hospital, I need to be screened for any symptoms of the virus, have my temperature taken and wear a mask. We have cancelled almost all non-emergen- cy outpatient imaging studies until the pandemic has passed to keep everyone healthy, with the big exception of patents with cancer who are being treated for their disease. Our emergency rooms are actu- ally less busy as more patients are consulting their family physician or are not coming in for minor issues. We are seeing people, how- ever, come in who have the Coronavirus, although to this point it is nothing like the hotspots in New York City or New Orleans. But we are very concerned about what may happen in the next few weeks in mid-April as the predictions are more people will become ill.
The quarantine has changed my mindset in several ways. I have learned to be more patient and to accept change. It’s also helped me realize how important family is in life. Easter is a family celebra- tion for us and is probably my favorite holiday with a big gathering celebrating many old Eastern European traditions with young and older family members. The pandemic has changed all that this year, however, with social distancing and even closing of our churches.
The quarantine has completely altered the dog show schedule that Michelle had planned for Winston this spring. We were all looking forward to the GSPCA National in May, but that has now been moved to November of this year. As soon as the current situ- ation is resolved, we will be back at it. Donna and I have had to cancel several non-dog show vacation trips this spring and summer. But those can always wait for another day. Overall, I consider us very fortunate to this point, as our family has remained healthy, unlike too many others.

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