Happy Returns for a RAVS Success Story

October 11, 2010

By Cara Yanussi, CVT

Dan and Pyuppy
Pyuppy and his owner, Dan, spend some quality time together after the surgery.

I have been participating in HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS) clinics for three years now, and while I treasure the friends I've made and the experiences I've had, it was my recent experience with a young dog named Pyuppy that I find the most memorable and rewarding.

We met Pyuppy a year ago, when he was brought to us after being hit by car. His owner, Dan, had taken him to a veterinary hospital after the accident and was told that the dog would need surgery on his right hind leg. Without it, this otherwise active dog would most likely suffer from chronic pain and arthritis in the years to come.

Because Dan was unable to treat his dog at the hospital that day, he had brought Pyuppy to a HSVMA-RAVS clinic on the Quinault Indian Reservation in Washington, in the hopes that there was something we could do for his constant and loyal companion.

Dr. Eric Davis examined Pyuppy and agreed to perform the surgery. The surgery went well, and a student and I were assigned to his case, keeping a careful watch over the young dog and ensuring his comfortable recovery. A few days later, he was cleared to go home to his owner.

What a difference a year makes

This year, when the HSVMA-RAVS team returned to the Quinault Reservation, I was excited to go—not just because of the beautiful Washington coastline or the joy I feel to see a community grateful for the services we offer, but because I was hoping that Dan and Pyuppy would return.

Pyuppy after recovery
A year later, a fully-recovered Pyuppy has returned to his active and happy lifestyle.

Two days into our stay, we received news that they would be coming for a visit the following day. When they arrived, I could hardly believe my eyes—standing before me was a strong and magnificent husky mix, nothing like the young pup with a broken leg and atrophied muscles that I had seen just a year before.

The transformation was powerful, and as several staff members gathered to watch our reunion, it was hard for anyone to keep a dry eye. We were amazed to see this fine creature, who once seemed so discouraged and weak, now bounding around us and playing fetch with his owner.

Looking back on this experience, and on every HSVMA-RAVS trip I have had the fortune to participate in, I know that the team makes a difference—I see it in the faces of the owners who trust us with their pets, and I hear it from the students who come to learn. And while I always come home from these trips having gained new knowledge and perspective, I returned from this trip with an incredible story, one that I will cherish and share with friends forever.