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Dogs, kids, wine, and everything's fine: A quarantine poem


One veterinarian and practice owner uses poetry and humor to share what it might be like to be a veterinarian in quarantine.

famveldman / stock.adobe.com

Veterinarians and team members alike have had to adjust to many new protocols to accommodate social distancing and other COVID-19 measures. Are you a veterinarian or technician and a parent who’s feeling overwhelmed with virtual learning, curbside service, and the constant uncertainty surrounding this pandemic? Jessica Stroupe, DVM, works through her frustrations with poetry. Here, she describes a veterinarian and mother who is quarantined with her husband, 2 children, and dog. Maybe you can relate.

Dogs, kids, wine, and everything’s fine

It's a rainy afternoon. Let's set the scene.
Two kids, a dog, and a veterinarian in quarantine.

My toddler screamed, "I wanna go outside!"
"Not now. Your brother is napping." He cried.
"All right. But if you're going out, please take note.
You'll need some socks, boots, and a raincoat."

"Ok, bud. Don't chase the cat, and don't eat anything gross.
Don't climb any trees, and please stay close."
I laid the baby down and started doing my chores.
When suddenly I heard a noise outdoors.

I ran outside for my son to console.
He had tripped and fallen in a mud hole.
I brought him inside, leaving a muddy path.
Cleaned him up and gave him a bath.

He ran out of the bathroom, naked and flying,
And sure enough, the baby started crying.
"Dangit, son! You woke up your brother.
You need to listen to your mother!"

As soon as he passed the bedroom door,
He slipped on some mud that was left on the floor.
I picked up a crying boy in each arm
When suddenly I heard the smoke alarm.

I put them down and into the kitchen I dove.
I had left lunch burning on the stove.
I started coughing, and choice words I spoke.
I opened the windows, and out poured the smoke.

When the cries in the hall stopped, I was surprised.
Both boys were staring back at me, traumatized.
The sun was out, so to break up the shock,
We decided to get out and go for a walk.

Our Pyrenees joined us down our county road.
My toddler found and caught a toad.
Suddenly Harley started barking and racing ahead.
What is that smell? Is it something dead?

As we rounded the corner, things went south.
Harley was headed our way with a skunk in her mouth.
As I ran and started to duck and dive,
I realized the skunk was still alive.

Everything just happened so fast.
Proudly crop dusting us as she ran passed.
"Drop it Harley!" I yelled, waving my hands.
Nothing was going according to plan.

We all got a bath in tomato juice.
The horrible smell I tried to reduce.
My husband walked in and saw us in all our glory.
He asked, "What's going on?" "It's a long story."

He could see my resolve was starting to shake.
"I'll finish this up. You go take a break."
I went to the kitchen. "Oh, what a day."
As I poured a nice glass of Cabernet.

Someone texted the clinic phone. "Can I pick your brain?
I need to schedule a nail trim for my anxious Great Dane."
And then when my patience couldn't get any thinner,
My husband walked in and asked, "What's for dinner?"

He saw my expression as I guzzled my wine.
“Is everything OK?” “Everything’s fine.”
While more time at home with the kids is a perk.
I’m eager and anxious to get back to work.

Jessica Stroupe, DVM, is a practice owner and mixed animal veterinarian in Missouri. A 2012 graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, she enjoys using poetry to commiserate in a humorous way with her colleagues about life as a veterinarian. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and sons, running, and weight lifting.

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