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Our Christmas Story

Barbara Dechter (Raleigh, NC)

Barbara with her husband, Eli, Miss Qira & Mr. Nibbs.

It was Christmas Eve when our female German Shepherd, Miss Qira, became very ill. Like many times before, we took her to the Teaching Hospital at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

We weren’t the only people at the College that evening. As we entered the building, we passed many people who sat, paced, or even cried along side their pets. We were immediately greeted by the Hospital staff and treated with the compassion, respect and degree of professionalism to which we’d grown accustomed to in our past trips to the Vet School.

We learned Miss Qira’s treating veterinarian was not available and we’d need to rely on the clinicians and staff on-call that night. We were ushered into an exam room and received immediate attention. Our files had been reviewed and following a brief question and answer period, Miss Qira was led away for further examination.

My husband sat in the waiting area and I went outside. There I met some of the people we’d passed on our way into the building. We spoke and cried together. Our stories were so similar. A beloved pet had become very ill and it was Christmas Eve. Where else would we be but at the greatest Vet Hospital? One couple had driven straight from Virginia with their dog. One couple made the drive from Wilmington to Raleigh. Eventually, others wandered outside and joined our conversation and community. We consoled each other with the assurance we were at the very best place to have our pets receive the opportunity to survive their critical conditions.

Once called in for a consultation, we learned Miss Qira had contracted a virus. She’d need to be kept over night and receive sedation and intravenous fluids. We left the hospital knowing that someone would be there throughout the evening to check on and monitor her progress. I hugged all of those I had spent time with and we all wished one another the best.

On Christmas morning, we returned to the Vet School and learned Miss Qira had a peaceful night. Over the next two days, our girl received wonderful care because the clinicians successfully determined the source of her virus.

The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine can be very proud of those the public comes in contact with when visiting the Teaching Hospital. As an alumuna, I am especially delighted to share with everyone that my University is home to a Vet School of excellence.

Since our experience that special night, my husband and I have been bringing goodies to those working at the Teaching Hospital on Christmas Eve. It is our way of saying thank you, we appreciate you and your diligence for our families.