Disclaimer: Levi and I are in no way affiliated with or representing Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital. We are simply detailing our experience with this establishment.
We’ve had Brewy since she was four-years-old. She’s 11 now. We aren’t certain, but she is most likely a mix of Labrador Retriever and Cocker Spaniel. Brewy loves to run, leap in the air, and roll around in the grass. She’s a sunbather and loves her peanut butter treats. Brewy prefers belly rubs from Levi and kisses from me.
Around others, Brewy is timid and standoffish. She’s never fetched and has hardly shown an interest in other dogs. Brewy lets out a single, vicious bark if a stranger shows up at the door. She won’t come close to another without assurance from us. Aside from Levi and I, there are only a handful of people Brewy opens up to.
We always knew Brewy was a special girl; we just never realized how much she would open our minds and hearts to the subtleties of everyday living. I may be partial being her mama, but Brewy continues to amaze us with her courage, strength, steadfastness, curiosity, trustworthiness, and loyalty.
Brewy is part of the family, not simply a pet. This is why it is always nerve-wrecking to take Brewy to a new veterinarian; sometimes it is a gamble with our nomadic lifestyle. Lucky for us, Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital in Park City, Kansas (just north of Wichita) alleviated those worries rather quickly when we took her on her first visit during the winter of 2016.
We learned about Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital while work camping at USI RV Park in Wichita, Kansas. We heard and read nothing but positive feedback about the veterinarians and staff. Brewy was overdue for her yearly exam, and we were running low on heartworm preventative medication.
Our appointment was scheduled with Dr. Kelly Martin. We could tell right away that she cared about her patients because she took the time to do a very thorough examination of Brewy. We never felt that she treated Brewy like another specimen on the examination table. Dr. Kelly, as she is referred to by the staff and clients, began the appointment by asking us about Brewy, her history and mannerisms.
She discussed possible reasons for some of Brewy’s distinct behaviors like licking her paws and shying away from company and offered suggestions on ways to ease any anxiety around others. Brewy’s licking was likened to that of a coping mechanism, she explained. It’s her way of unwinding at the end of the day, her glass of wine. In an effort to minimize anxiety around company, Dr. Kelly advised notifying guests ahead of time, suggesting that they avoid any contact. Brewy would initiate it when she was comfortable. We have tried this a number of times with much success!
Dr. Kelly conducted Brewy’s examine on the floor where she sat between Levi and me. She was very gentle, talking to her in a soothing tone. Dr. Kelly kept a running dialogue throughout the exam, explaining her observations, answering our questions, and providing suggestions. We never felt rushed.
Fast-forward to this year; we are working at USI RV Park once again for the winter/spring season. While we were at out previous job in Campbellsville, Kentucky as Amazon Associates, Levi noticed a bump on Brewy’s left leg. Our visit with Dr. Kelly, a month later, in January revealed it to be a mass cell tumor, not easily extracted due to its location on the leg and the likelihood that it would be intertwined with nerves.
In the past two to three years, Brewy has undergone a few surgeries, removing lumps anywhere from her snout to her belly. They were all sebaceous cysts. They were all benign. Labradors are prone to these growths, I am told. This mass on her leg was different. The thought of losing Brewy to cancer was heartbreaking, for lack of a better word.
Dr. Kelly was very clear about all of the possible outcomes and at the same time very compassionate. She heard our concerns, gave us time to process, and answered more of our pressing questions. She let us know that the recovery period would be a several weeks-long ordeal including medication, compression therapy, and keeping a watchful eye on Brewy’s activity level and tolerance.
Brewy underwent a 3-hour surgery. Dr Kelly and her assistant Kim painstakingly took the time to retrieve as much of the mass as possible and in doing so refrain from damaging any nerve tissue to salvage the function of her leg. They were successful in their endeavors!
The procedure was rather extensive, so when we came to pick up Brewy later that day, Dr. Kelly had prepared a report with copies for both Levi and me. She reviewed her findings, step by step, and even showed us a picture of the growth. She took more time to clarify portions of the procedure and answered more questions. Brewy’s mass would be sent off for further testing and we would find out if it was completely or partially excised.
Kim came in afterwards and went over instructions for the recovery period. They both warned of the “Frankenstein” stitch work on Brewy’s leg. The incision was not completely closed due to the location of the mass. The wound would not be covered. This would allow the wound to drain freely and help us keep a watchful eye on its progress. Brewy emerged into the room once we were caught up on surgery details and recovery notes. Her leg did indeed have “Frankenstein” attributes but that didn’t stop our girl from getting around!
Brewy after surgery. She was ready to come home and lay in her bed. We took pictures to track her progress. Brewy wore a special collar for close to a month to prevent her from bothering the wound.
Dr. Kelly urged us to call, send pictures, or visit throughout the first critical days of healing. Even after the initial week, she made herself available to assist with any concerns. Dr. Kelly phoned with the test results a few days later. Except for microscopic cancer cells, the mass was excised. There is still a possibility, a very low probability, of the cancer returning in this localized area.
Sensing our urgency to obtain as much information about this particular cancer, Dr. Kelly helped us setup an appointment with an oncologist. We sought the specialist’s advise and options and ultimately decided to regularly monitor her leg and the possibility of a reoccurrence. The trip to the specialist was informative and overwhelming, but it did help us solidify our final decision.
Posing with Veterinary Assistant Kim (left) and Dr. Kelly Martin (right): They were always loving and affectionate towards Brewy!
We have taken one of our cats for a checkup in this time period, as well, and have yet to bring our remaining two for annual check-ups. Our immediate concern has been with Brewy, but we will be setting up appointments for our felines soon…and with the ADDED CONFIDENCE knowing that we have made a good choice in the capable, caring hands of not only Dr. Kelly and Kim but the entire team at Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital!
Brewy’s first day back at the park with permission from the vet to be her old doggy-self.
This is yet another animal hospital that we highly recommend and will continue to frequent as our travels bring us closer to their corner of the trail. For more animal hospital recommendations around America, visit our Trail Guide.
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Check out our video,”11 Tips for RVing with Pets,”, as well.