Jun 012013
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Hi everybody!  It’s been quite a while since my last post.  I guess I’ve gone so long without writing because I started a new job, we have two long-term, live-in guests at our house, and life just gets in the way.  Honestly, though, probably the biggest reason that I have not written is out of pure laziness.  Writing doesn’t seem like it should be all that energy intensive, but my energy level has been lower than normal.  My brain is sleepy, and it just can’t seem to recuperate.  Oh well, sorry brain, you are going to have to work now.

A few days ago, I realized that Lili’s Notes (I) had been neglecting someone very important.  This person means a lot to our whole family, and has been a part of our lives for practivally eight years.  He has laughed and joked with us, and shared our pain and sorrow, too.  He has mended our broken bodies, and chased away our pains.  We count on him to fix the problems that we cannot, ourselves, fix, and he always looks out for my family’s best interests.  His name is Steve Neuenschwander, but we call him Doctor N.  He is the owner of the Brentwood Animal Hospital, and veterinarian to my five beloved dogs.

In case we haven’t made our feelings completely clear to all of you in the past, Liliana and I love our dogs!  They are a major part of our life, and have been for more than 12 years.  We try to give them good lives, lots of love and the best care possible.  I would jump in a raging river for our dogs, and Liliana has run out in traffic to protect one of our babies.  Y’all had better believe we wouldn’t trust our dogs’ medical care (their lives, really) to just anyone!

Now, I have not attended vet school, so I am not capable of testing Dr. N’s knowledge of veterinary medicine.  I have to assume that his knowledge is sufficient and his experience ample.  There are other personal attributes, though, that I feel fully qualified to assess.

Dr. N Cares.  He is a kind and compassionate man.  This has become unmistakably evident to me for the almost eight years that we have been taking our dogs to Brentwood Animal Hospital.  Dr. N has a nuanced character that some people may not be able to immediately decipher, but I clearly hear and see the different emotions on his face and in his voice.  He is usually happy and in good spirits, but on a rare occasion, I see another side of him.  Sometimes Dr. N is more quiet than usual.  Sometimes he says hello when he walks in the room, and then gets down to business without much in the way of superfluous chit chat.  It is on these rare occasions that I know Dr. N had to, or will have to deliver difficult news to one of his clients.  Dr. N had to deliver such news to Liliana and I twice.  The first time was on March 6, 2012, when he had to tell us that our Sasha had Osteosarcoma.  The second time was on February 26, 2013, when Dr. N informed us that Sasha’s cancer had come back.  He hated having to tell us the bad news both times.  Both times, he said he was sorry and that he wished his diagnosis was wrong.  There is a sincerity in Dr. N’s face and in his tone, and I know that delivering bad news to pet owners affects him deeply.

Dr. N is honest, and humble.  He is an intelligent man with considerable education, but he will never put his pride before the best interests of his clients and the animals with whose care he has been entrusted.  Dr. N has a good working relationship with veterinary specialists who he defers to if he believes any advantage can be offered by allowing these other great doctors to do what they are best at.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

This post would seem incomplete without mentioning some of the staff at Brentwood Animal Hospital.  Shelly has been a fixture at the office since we first started taking our dogs there.  She is a smiling face, a cheerful voice, and a pleasure to see every time we walk through the front door.  Shelly genuinely cares for every dog, cat, bird and other animal that crosses her path.  She know all the human parents of her furry friends, too, and one gets the feeling that she cares about them as well.  Christina has also been at Brentwood Animal Hospital for as long as we’ve been going there.  She is a vet tech, a whiz at drawing blood, and a friend.  Christina is a natural with animals and all of our dogs love her.  She is proud of the vegetable garden that her and Dr. N built in the back of the hospital, and she enjoys showing it off to us when we go.  Dr. N has a great team with these two wonderful people.  I know for a fact that each one feels  very fortunate to be in the company of the others.

Liliana and I have talked about moving away from Raleigh.  We would like to live in a cooler climate and have more land.  We joke, though, that we would not consider moving as long as Dr. N is still practicing.  To be honest, I’m not sure how much of a joke that is.  When you care as much about your pets as we do, it’s hard to imagine moving away from a place like The Brentwood Animal Hospital.

Check back soon: New updates on Sasha and her battle against osteosarcoma (she goes back to UPenn!!).  Argus gets treatment for his arthritis, and more about the rest of the pack.


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