Chick Wit

Heroes September 13, 2020

by Lisa Scottoline

My summer ends the way it began.

With a midnight trip to the emergency vet.

Luckily, it turned out okay.

But I need to thank the veterinarians, vet techs, and staff who, despite this horrible pandemic, never stopped taking care of our pets, even though our pets do things like eat tampons and dead mice.

Not just a hypothetical.

My summer began when Francesca’s dog Pip came home, and two things happened in my house that had not happened in recent memory.

Number one, there was a dog that ate bathroom trash.

Number two, there was a menstruating woman.

Not to be too graphic.

You can handle it, unless you’re having breakfast.

In that event, grow up.

Women get their period.


Until that wonderful time in her life called menopause, but it should be called womenopause.           

For obvious reasons.

You could also call it fun!

And great!

And freeing!

Getting my period wasn’t a big deal for me, in that I didn’t get cramps or anything like that, maybe because I have too much testosterone and/or bile.

Even though I didn’t mind getting my period, I can’t tell you how great it is not to get one anymore.

I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

And like most women, worrying is my hobby.

At the beginning of summer, Pip decided to make a meal of whatever was in the trash, which required an emergency trip to the vet’s office, where they made him throw up.

Maybe you did too, just now, a little, in your mouth.

And what happened yesterday was that Francesca, the dogs, and I were outside in the backyard and I happened to look over just as Pip gobbled something up from under a bush. I wasn’t sure what he ate, but by the time we got to him, he sucked in the last bit of what looked like a tail.

If you saw Lady and the Tramp on their spaghetti date, you know what I mean.

By the way, I also eat spaghetti that way.

Which is why I’m single.

Among other reasons.

So we assumed he had eaten a dead mouse, then remembered that we have some rat poison in the garage and under the chicken coop, for assorted vermin.

I know, I live a glamorous life.

I was told that if a pet ate a mouse who had eaten some poison, the pet would be fine, but when Pip got lethargic the next day and started throwing up, we weren’t taking any chances.

We rolled into the veterinary hospital at midnight, where there was a fleet of veterinarians and that techs to look after him. They ran some blood tests we’re still waiting on the results, but he does seem to be doing better.

So it’s a happy ending.

But I’m very aware that not all endings are happy.

If further praise of veterinarians, let’s not forget large animal vets, who still make house calls and come over when horses or farm animals are sick. And thankfully, my dedicated large-animal vet Dr. Gerry came this summer, when my feisty brown quarterhorse Mr. Fudgie fell ill.

For the last time.

Mr. Fudgie was forty years old, which is really old for a horse.

But his whole life, he was healthy as a…well, you know.

I rescued him from a racetrack and he had a history of abuse, so I never blamed him for his crankiness, though he was always wonderful to me. He was fun to ride, if fast for this old nag.


He loved his life and his pasture, which he guarded with the vigilance of the North Korean border.           

You may remember that I have written about Fudgie’s up-and-down health, but even after so many years, his heart was strong, willful, and stubbornly resistant to giving up. I was in no hurry to put him down because he was happy, and Dr. Gerry felt the same way, because as he always says, death is final.

But one day last month, Fudgie seemed oddly weak and tired, then he fell and wasn’t strong enough to get up.

For the first time, he was unhappy, if not suffering.

Dr. Gerry came over, but he didn’t have to spell it out for us.

The sight of a horse laying down for the last time will break your heart.

So we had to let Fudgie go.

Good-bye, to a great horse

It’s a loss, but I know others are experiencing many more significant losses during this awful time.

I mourn theirs, too.

We will get through this together.

With love and thanks, to the healers.

They’re all heroes.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2020

Lisa is thrilled to announce that her co-author for these humorous essays, daughter Francesca Serritella, published her debut novel, Ghosts of Harvard on May 5, 2020.

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