Holidays in Veterinary Hospitals

Posted: Dec 17, 2013
Views: 4191 - Comments: 2

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You hate it before you played it
I already forgave ya
J. Cole (Villematic)

It's holiday time at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital… My belly aches at the mere thought of how much chocolate and cookies I will consume in the next month.

Holiday snack out on a table for DoveLewis hospital staff

For the most part, our surgery service is not particularly affected by the holidays. Perhaps we see a certain subset of foreign bodies this time of year that we don’t see in July, like tinsel kitties and popcorn-on-a-string dogs. But I can’t honestly say that our service as a whole is different this time of year. In fact, I would have to say that our hospital by and large runs pretty much the same with the exception of the bistro area (a food-allowed area for stuffing your face between surgeries/triages) where the calories pile up in diabetic-crisis abundance. I thoroughly enjoy reading the personal notes that clients send with the cookies, fudge, and caramel corn. Those heartwarming reminders of our successes can be vital to staying hopeful in an emergency setting. But truthfully, some of the best holiday cards come from the folks with the most poignant stories.

Holiday cards from DoveLewis clients

Surely, you are wondering, don’t we decorate our hospital? Of course! Well, parts of it anyway. We've had a decorated fake tree in the upstairs lobby that looks absolutely magical at night. Many of the business and programs staff decorate their cubical areas and we generally get a poinsettia or two that grace our front lobby (well out of reach of any patients). So the hospital is hardly devoid of holiday bling. However, if you were in the ER on Christmas day you would be hard pressed to tell that it wasn’t merely a (busy) chilly day in February. In ICU you could probably find a little dog sporting a Christmas sweater that might betray the holiday, but otherwise, that territory is also ‘all business, all the time.’

In surgery about the only thing we can do to make it even slightly festive is play some holiday music. There are few things more apt to start an animated debate than the topic of holiday music.

I asked a few folks (before Thanksgiving) when we should invite holiday music into surgery this year. The answers were:

1. "Never"

2. "Never"


3. "December 23."

Hmmm, I sense a bit of Grinchness in the team. Even though our hospital floor went silent this year (widely known as "the day the music died"), music still lives on in the surgery suite. If you’ve read an earlier blog  of mine then you know music in surgery is a Martha Stewart Good Thing and I do my best to respect the musical tastes of people within hearing distance. So far, we’ve kept the dulcet tones of Del tha Funkee Homosapien and 2Pac alive and well in our insulated suites. But I admit to thinking that some holiday music in moderation is alright. I mean, it just isn’t December until I’ve heard "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and the "Little Drummer Boy" at least ten times, right? I’m not certain when we will tune into Pandora’s Bing Crosby holiday mix in surgery, but I don’t think I can hold out until December 23. I'm not a Grinch.

DoveLewis administrative offices lobby with small tree and ornament



Ron  Morgan's picture

Nice post Coby - I'm glad to hear you are going to get that holiday music going. No Bah-humbug allowed!

Tiera Curtis's picture

I am a holiday person, so the day after Thanksgiving I am all for Christmas and the music that goes with it! Definitely more of a Cindy-Lou-Hoo than a Grinch!