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[attribution] Coley James [/attribution]

Coley James's dog LucyThe first time Lucy and I went to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) at the College of Veterinary Medicine, we felt so warmly welcomed as if we were visiting good friends. Little did we know that we really were meeting people who would become as dear to us as our hometown friends.

Lucy and I first met at my local Dairy Queen 13 years ago; she was searching for food, I was there to buy my favorite milkshake. This lovable mixed breed Lab became my most expensive DQ visit ever, but then she’s been the best companion a person could have. Whenever friends would visit, Lucy was certain that their sole purpose in being there was to pet her and make sure she was the center of their attention. Her self-confidence was never more evident than during our appointments at the VTH. She became known as the biggest flirt there!

Our connection to the VTH began one day in October 2006. Lucy was having trouble breathing at night and her veterinarian, Dr. Kay Lawrence of Lake Country Animal Hospital, referred her to the VTH. I was pleased that she was seen the next day on an emergency basis by the hospital’s cardiology group. While the news that Dr. Allison Adams, a cardiology resident, gave us was not especially good, her professionalism and compassion softened the impact of the situation and gave us both hope and support. Technician Anne Meyer was so kind and nurturing to Lucy and me that she actually made the visit pleasant. They were genuinely interested in my life and I just knew that I had found the perfect place for both Lucy and me.

After a series of blood tests and an echocardiogram, we learned that Lucy had mitral valve regurgitation, atrial fibrillation, and an adrenal tumor. Dr. Adams, however, assured me that my girl had some quality time left. Lucy was put on the appropriate medications and, within a few weeks, her heart rate stabilized within a normal range.

Sometimes intense pet parents require as much attention as their pet does and that was certainly the case with me. I needed to understand the problems and treatment, but I also needed a little nurturing. Dr. Adams’s manner included just the right amount of support to accompany her professionalism and straightforward answers, which I will always appreciate. She was determined to keep Lucy comfortable and to ensure that I was well informed. In addition to offering clear and thorough explanations of Lucy’s treatment, she provided me with the heart-to-heart conversations I needed.

Once we left the VTH, Dr. Adams or one of her colleagues called frequently to check on Lucy and me. No detail was too small for the VTH staff. One day, when Lucy’s digoxin blood level had to be checked, I was uncertain if she had ingested
her pills since she had left most of her breakfast uneaten. Dr. Andrea Lantis, another cardiology resident, happily sorted through the leftover food to determine if Lucy had consumed the pills or not. On another occasion, when I was paying the bill after a day of testing, I looked around and didn’t see Lucy. I soon discovered her outside with Dr. Adams, enjoying a walk up and down the sidewalk with her special vet. Time after time, I’ve found that CVM hospital services extend well beyond the diagnosis and treatment of canine health problems. The VTH staff treats and loves the whole dog and the dog’s whole family!

Dr. Adams and the VTH staff touched my life in so many ways, both professionally and personally. When I heard about the Coat of Excellence Program, I knew it would be the perfect way to honor Dr. Adams for her exceptional care of Lucy and me. Dr. Adams’s natural warmth and superb professionalism put both of us at ease during a challenging time.

My human family has a history of serious cardiac problems, and we’ve always sought the best cardiac care available. I wanted nothing less for Lucy. The care she received was so excellent that I’ve requested that the VTH accept me as a patient, too! The Veterinary Teaching Hospital gave Lucy’s heart the best care in the world, and, in the process, gave
my heart exactly what it needed: more quality time with my friend and lots and lots of love.