Monday, December 3, 2012

South Wairarapa Vet Services support community project:

Update on Flynn (the horse with nine lives):   

Flynn has had his operation and is doing very well nowthanks to the kind, compassionate, professional team at the South Wairarapa Veterinary Services.  I am delighted, and very grateful indeed, as are all the local kids (and grown up kids) who love Flynn and his fellow FOCKCer horses, Brutus, Patrick, etc.  They've been mates for many years

Friends of Caring Kiwi Communities (the FOCKCers) own three horses in Carterton, we use them for Pet Therapy, riding for the disabled, bullied, abused, at risk, less privileged young people in the Wairarapa. Flynn's the eldest of the horses, he's over thirty years old.  

He developed a tumour on his sheath a while ago, so of course I contacted the South Wairarapa Veterinary Services.  Since arriving in the Wairarapa over eleven years ago I've used the services of South Wairarapa Veterinary Services and always been impressed by their professionalism and caring considerate manner.  Peter Morriss examined Flynn.  Peter upholds the impeccably high standards set by the legendary horse vet Rodger Gillett, who recently retired.  The vets confirmed that although the growth was unsightly, it wasn't causing him any immediate harm, any apparent pain, or any significant discomfort, and that he was in otherwise tip top condition and had a very good quality of life for the time being.  We were all aware that the growth was growing and that action had to be taken in the fairly near future but it was agreed by everyone that there was no need to euthanase the horse in the very near future. 

Peter continued to keep an eye on Flynn, and invited his colleague who also specialises in equine surgery to also have a look at him, and after consulting they decided that it was feasible to attempt to remove the tumour.  

To my absolute joy, the South Wairarapa Veterinary Services kindly offered to perform the operation free of charge, in the interests of gaining experience in performing the procedure, and educating junior veterinarians.  I was blown away by Peter Morriss's generosity.  It was a major operation, very risky, and Flynn was over thirty years old, so I was also well aware that he might well not survive the operation, as were Peter and Jane, but I had great faith in their quiet confidence, and their professional skills.

On 22nd November 2012 Jane Ough and Peter Morriss, with Emily the vet nurse, successfully removed the massive tumour in a challenging two hour operation, with others observing for educational purposes.  

First, Jane carefully examined him, listening to his heart for a long, long time, finally pronouncing him "very robust", and then measuring him to estimate his weight in order to calculate the correct dose of the sedative required.  

It was touch and go a few times, there was a lot of blood, Flynn decided he had to lie down half way through the operation, after all the sedative we had to give him, which wasn't part of the plan (the vets had hoped to perform the operation with him standing up, sedated, using local anaesthetic.  The team moved on to Plan B and just got on with the job.  Blood spurted from all the blood vessels as Peter and Jane worked fast to stitch them all up, with Emily handing them instruments flat out and providing great support.  It was amazing to watch the speed at which they worked, it seemed to take forever.

Flynn stopped breathing a few times, Jane told me to lift up his head, and I give him a jolly good speaking to, telling him to pull up his socks and do his bit and BREATHE.  Finally he'd take a breath again each time, and finally, after what seemed like hours (the whole thing took a couple of hours) the stitching was all finished, and Jane administered the antidote for the sedative as they worked flat out to clean Flynn up and wash and put away all the equipment.  In a little while Flynn woke up, got to his feet, neatly avoiding the big mass of clotted blood on the ground, and started eating the grass as if nothing had happened.  I felt like all my Christmases had come at once.  So did all Flynn's little friends in the community.

Flynn and his two fellow Community Garden horses provide a great service to the community, providing riding for the disabled, the bullied, the abused kids, the ones with funny lumps growing out of them, and big scars (some you can see and some you can't), and all the other kids round here who think hanging out with horses is a better idea than going off and committing suicide or something.

Spending time with horses builds confidence, empathy, respect, relationship skills, communication skills, it's a great thing, and Flynn, Brutus and Patrick benefit the kids round here more than they benefit me.  We'd like to establish a fund to enable the SWVS to do other operations for animals in the community like this.  The SWVS do other work they're not paid for too, such as when people bring them animals who have been hit by a car and the owner can't be found, people who can't afford to put their pets down but don't want them to suffer, and other things to help people and animals in the community.

Please support the work of the South Wairarapa Veterinary Services, they do a lot of work in the community for which they don't receive payment, and the fact that they offered to do this operation for Flynn free of charge says a great deal about their commitment to the community, their high ethical and professional standards, and the character and calibre of the vets who work for their practise.  They have looked after Flynn and his mates for over twelve years, and they've always provided absolutely top quality professional services to us, and to everyone we know.

It's good for kids to learn that just because you're old and you've got a lump doesn't mean you should automatically be thrown on the scrap heap.  Flynn's always loved taking little kids for rides, he's made it his mission in life and his specialty.  I told him years ago that if he looked after the kids, I'd always look after him.  And he always has, and it's just wonderful that Peter and Jane offered to operate on him so he can carry on his good work, showing kids how to have fun, make friends, learn to trust, build confidence, etc.
People who care about animal welfare should consider making a donation to the SWVS to enable them to set up a little fund to perform other procedures on animals in need, for the benefit of the vulnerable in the community (like a lot of the people who enjoy spending time with Flynn), for educational purposes, humane purposes, etc.  This is a really good way to provide direct assistance to animals in need, and recognise all the work that these veterinarians do in our community that people don't always know about.

Jane and Peter removed Flynn's stitches yesterday, he's looking as healthy (and handsome) as ever

Donations (fan mail, etc,) can be sent to South Wairarapa Veterinary Services, 8 High Street South, Carterton  5713.

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