It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for


It’s time for Dr. Jasny’s More-Or-Less-Annual All Creatures Great And Small Labor Day Awards.

This year we have The Animal Olympics. Starting with the High Dive, the gold medal goes to Chowder, the Labradoodle. She caught her foot on a cleat while trying to jump off a boat into the water, breaking all the metatarsal bones in her foot straight across. Surgical repair was needed, and now, eight weeks later, we hope her cast can come off for good.

Silver goes to Seymour, the bunny, inadvertently dropped by a child, dislocating his elbow. I don’t treat many rabbits, but after reading up on this particular scenario, I was lucky and popped the elbow back in place. Let’s hope it stays there.

In Synchronized Swimming, the Gold medal goes to Fiddle and O’Malley. This team of almost identical Irish Terrier began limping simultaneously. On examination, each dog had one exquisitely painful toe on their respective left front feet. I don’t know how, but they had injured themselves in almost exactly the same way at exactly the same time. Weird. Not as weird as eight women swimming around in bizarrely decorated bathing caps and nose clips, but still weird.

On to Track and Field. The Usain Bolt Gold Medal for, well, bolting goes to Charlie. A very shy, recently adopted Golden Retriever, Charlie got spooked when his family brought him to the Vineyard. He ran away and, although not straying far from his Aquinnah house, refused to allow anyone to catch him for weeks. Happily, he’s now safely home.

The Pistorius Blade Runner medals for Triumphing Over Orthopedic Challenges go bronze to Marley, Britt, Talley, Lexy, Zak, Dagmar, BooBoo, Buddy, Japhy, Zoe, Harry, Cargo, Lulu, Inti, and all the others who keep going despite broken bones, torn ligaments, dislocated kneecaps, bad backs, hip dysplasia, arthritis, and so on. Silver to Tripod, April, and Little Freddy. Gold to Derby, and to Jack, the young Yorkie who had the top of his femur surgically removed because of a degenerative hip condition called Legg-Perthes disease.

In Gymnastics, the Gabby Douglas gold medal goes to all the new youngsters that take first place in our hearts and make us smile – too many to name but including Ruffin, Bo, Stella, Merlyn, Sheba, Bella, Blaze, Ruby, Salt, Zoozle, Mingus, Teacup, Lydia, Henry, Penny, Lily, Reuben, Stewie, Amber, Fiona, Astrid, Benji, and many more. Stick That Landing medals for all the pets who have metaphorically landed on their feet in spite of serious illness or injury. Gold to Sydney who is still wagging his tail, even with liver cancer and to Gracie, who has survived multiple challenges but is still going strong in spite of an inoperable oral tumor. Her owner calls her My Miracle Cat. On Balance Beam, Gold goes to the owner of Flip and Twig, who manages twice daily insulin injections for both a diabetic cat and diabetic dog. I give that balancing act a perfect ten. The You’re Still An All-Around Champion Jordyn Wieber gold medals go to every special pet that didn’t make it into this article because of my thousand-word limit. You all deserve to stand on the podium. Or at least “Sit, Stay” on the podium.

In case you didn’t watch the Rhythmic Gymnastics, the athletes perform with four apparatuses – club, hoop, ribbon, and ball. I’m giving all the Island Veterinarians the Team Gold for Hoop, because of how many hoops we jump through all summer long to jointly provide emergency coverage 24/7 for the exploding pet population. A Silver medal for Ball goes to anyone who feels that I somehow dropped the ball in caring for their animal. I tried my best. Sorry if I didn’t wow all the judges. The Bronze in Ribbon goes to Garth, the cat who swallowed a string, getting one end wrapped firmly around his tongue.

Which takes us right to our Competitive Eating Is Not An Olympic Event category. Bronze to all chocolate eaters including Sancho, a really big labrador, and Oska, a really little miniature dachshund. Silver to Mose, Stella, and Pip who ate rat poison. Okay, we’re not absolutely positive Mose ate the bait but didn’t want to take any chances. (This is, I believe, Pip’s third time getting such an award, having previously binged on Chilmark Chocolates, and having once bitten an extension cord, almost electrocuting herself. May we suggest she retire from competition? Maybe get a lucrative position endorsing pet insurance? )

Gold medals go to the bull mastiff who ate a week’s worth of his owner’s heart medications; the Visla who ate xylitol-sweetened gum which can cause life-threatening low blood sugar in dogs; Oliver who almost choked to death trying to swallow a really big hoop earring; and the Brussels Griffon who we believe ingested marijuana and was acting pretty strange there for a while. No drug testing was required to receive these medals.

In fact, our next division requires drug use. The Sometimes Steroids Are Good medals go Bronze to Dakota and Jingles, Silver to Mischah, Gold to Oliver and Prudy, two dogs with undetermined neurological problems that are fine as long as they have their prednisone.

In the What? Huh? There’s News Besides The Olympics? Division is the Having A Heat Wave Gold medal for Molly. Great White Shark medals go to Daisy, Buddy, Zaza, and Benji. They’re all lovely with their owners but seriously want to bite me.

The Ag Fair is over. The nights are suddenly cooler. You can smell the coming of autumn in the air. As summer winds down, we end with our Olympic Closing Ceremony, remembering all the pets whose little flames have finally gone out this past year – Maho, Rufus, Finnegan, Kaya, Sharky, Idaho Rose, Thelma, Reeses, Minou, Secret, Samantha, Qatzel, Lacey, Kumpa, Callie, Tillie, Chance, Max, Addie, Shiva, Jada, Sophie, Che, Senge, Tova, Phoebe, Baggins, Isabelle, Jazz, Lil, Sweetie, Naga, Buddy, Tina, Oreo, Wasque, Dudley, Blackie, Brunhilde, Joan, Riley, and many more. Your friendship will always be remembered.