Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sad Day at the Vet

I went to our vet this morning. Took my little cat, Monkey, in for a check-up. While in the waiting area I overheard the receptionist telling someone on the phone that the vet had DIED - that he had a heart attack in May. I gasped and almost fell off my chair. When she hung up the phone she apologized, saying she could tell from the look on my face that I had not known. I was in shock and fighting back tears. That feels silly since I really did not know the man that well, but I couldn't help it - I felt shock and sadness and loss and I felt like crying. I am home now and I still feel sad and out of sorts about it.

When we arrived in Salt Lake last year we went searching for a vet. We went to visit a place we had found on line, didn't like it, and while driving home we saw the Foothill Animal Clinic sign and just stopped and walked in to check it out. We liked the energy of the place, before we even met the vet, so we signed up and started taking our two cats there. The only vet there, Dr. Wilson, was a really friendly down to earth guy. He had been raised on a farm around animals all his life. I liked that about him. He seemed more like a country animal doctor, trained from real life experience on a farm, rather than just a young kid out of some college training. He wasn't old - I thought he was probably in his 50s, or maybe even his 40s. He seemed in good health. This makes hearing that he died of a heart attack all the more shocking. My mind won't accept it.

I thought of blogging about him and the Foothill Animal Clinic last year, as part of the blogging I try to do about tips for Salt Lake City. What I loved so much about the place was that there were always several cats and little dogs running around the place. The cats lived there - rescue animals who needed homes who he had taken in - and the dogs, also rescues, lived with the receptionists. So when you walked in there was always a beautiful cat hanging out on the counter or sunning itself near the front door. And there would be an Italian grey hound who would run up to greet you. It was a little chaotic but an atmosphere full of love for animals. It seemed a testament of Dr. Wilson and love and dedication to animals. Some might not like that, but I loved it.

Today the cats and the greyhound (with a puppy) were still there. The cats seemed friendlier than ever and I wondered if they were missing the love of Dr. Wilson. While in the exam room we could hear one of the cats howling in a back room. The assistant said he had started doing that lately and she wondered if he was out of sorts missing Dr. Wilson. It was just so sad. I can still see him so clearly and the way he would handle an examination. And I can hear his voice. A pleasant voice. I had spoken with him several times on the phone back in early April about him coming to the house to euthanize my older cat who at that time was dying. Fortunately my cat has recovered and we did not have to take those steps, but I was so comforted and grateful that he would do that so the cat could pass at home in peace. I last saw Dr. Wilson in April for an appointment at the clinic. I had looked forward to hearing his voice again today.

I am so sad that he is gone.

I found these photos I had snapped with my phone back in December. I  just loved so much how there were always animals everywhere that lived there.

Dr. Wilson and the little greyhound.


  1. Something similar happened to me a couple of years ago when I was going through my thyroid thing. I was so wrapped up in the minutia of my own crisis, and was absolutely floored when one of my hotel friends dropped dead of a heart attack. He was in his early 50s, and it was completely unexpected. Although i did not know him well, it affected me deeply. Still does. I think about him all the time. I think when we are in a place of concern ourselves (me with my thyroid, you with Mr. Kitty) and something like this happens, we feel it profoundly.

  2. What a shock! I was worried for Monkey when I saw the title of your post. But it is so important for us all to remember the folks that take good care of our pets, too.
    I am sorry you lost such a model veterinarian. He sounds like he will be hard to replace. This is a lovely tribute!