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Dr. Brian and Sgt. Carter

Story ID:1402
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Period Piece
Location:Cleveland Ohio USA
Year:1990
Person:Dr.Brian
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Dr. Brian and Sgt. Carter


Pet Patter -a newsletter of the Animal Protective League featured journal writings of veternarian Dr. Brian. I have always admired him for his selfless dedication to his work in a place which certainly must have been filled with all kinds of trauma and sadness as well as the sometimes wonderful and happy success stories. I found a happy one in the Pet Patter of 1990.

It was a busy night at the APL but yet all the people waiting their turns to see Dr. Brian deferred to the two young boys who were carrying a large muddy dog in a blanket sling. Dr. Brian was accustomed to seeing disasters and felt ready for the slumping bundle of what he called a "canine catastrophe" on the floor. He asked if the dog had been hit by a car. "No," the boys replied, "He jumped off a bridge."

Incredulously, Dr. Brian asked "What do you mean he jumped off a bridge? How far did
he fall?" The boys said he jumped off the 480 bridge about 200 feet. They added that he was walking along with them like he always did when he went over to the edge, took a sniff, looked down, stepped back, hestitated and then he just jumped off.

They continued, "It was really weird to just see him flying through the air like that. After he landed, he got up, took a few steps and then sat down. His name is Sergeant Carter."

Dr. Brian wondered if he should test the boys for drugs, but decided he'd better look at his patient instead. He sat on the floor with Sgt. Carter who was trembling and he looked deeply into his dilated big brown eyes and the thought came into his mind -"This guy is depressed. I know it sounds crazy but all I could think of once I looked into those eyes was that Sgt. Carter may be the first dog I ever treated as an attempted suicide."

But then he realized the incongruity of a dog suicide and the thought must have been the
result of the wedding he had recently witnessed of a close friend, a psychiatrist in Boston. Having been exposed to a great deal of psychoanalytic jargon over the weekend, he decided that his diagnosis of Sgt. Carter was tainted by this Freudian overexposure and dismissed his thoughts re suicide.

Now, he took a more analytical approach to Sgt. Carter's condition. The poor dog was covered with mud and was clearly in shock to the point that his flesh just hung on his bones. He thought to himself that he looked like a pile of dog.

His heart rate was elevated but no large fluid accumulations appeared to be hampering his ability to breathe. His abdomen was non-painful and his spine was straight. Sgt. Carter registered no signs of pain when he pressed on the vertebrae. He decided to get him to stand up and gently picked him out of the blanket and set him on his feet. He was weak but he could stand. However, he couldn't bear weight on his right rear leg. It appeared that the biggest problems were shock and a dislocated hip.

After standing up and backing away from Carter, Dr. Brian thought he looked pretty mournful, but barring lung contusions or other hidden physical trauma, he decided he may just make it.

Dr. Brian gave Carter an anti-shock drug and a mild dose of valium. He also decided that he would probably be more comfortable psychologically if he went home for the evening. He was to come back in the morning for a re-evaluation.

The next morning wondering how Sgt. Carter was doing, but because of the onslaught of spays/neuters and morning CAN'T WAIT EMERGENCEIS, he was kept busy until about 10:30. At 10:45 he opened the clinic door and saw a happy but lame doberman/shepherd waiting for him. He barked when he saw Dr. Brian but the doctor did not recognize him at first. He walked over to the doctor, and headed into the clinic at a brisk, three legged pace. Dr. Brian then realized that the resilient three-legged creature that bounded into the clinic was none other than Sgt. Carter- minus the 10 pounds of mud and the effects of depression and shock. He jumped on the doctor like an old buddy.

After checking him over, he noticed that his gums were nice and pink and his muscle tone was back. Now all he needed to do was place him under anesthesia and pop his hip back into its socket.

Both Dr. Brian and Sgt. Carter made the front page of the Metro section in the Cleveland
Plain Dealer. Friends of Dr. Brian called from Youngstown and Toledo re Carter's "flight."
Dr. Brian ended his article by saying that his articles sometime treat rather serious subjects on a light-hearted level. But he adds- that only humor and levity keep them going around in the APL when the craziness of their situations gets to be too much and added that a dog. like Sgt. Carter helps them to keep everything in perspective.