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How many pets does a veterinarian have? – Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #6

In response to a question asked on Twitter, today I’m going to blog about my pets and how I got them. I have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 chinchillas, 1 betta fish, and a 10 gallon tank of tropical fish. How did I come by all these animals?

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

Gary the Greyhound – When I was finishing up my last year of college, I started researching what type of dog would be a good companion while I went to vet school. I was looking for a low energy, low maintenance dog with a good temperament. It was also important to me that I rescued an older dog instead of purchasing a puppy. Greyhounds, contrary to what you might think, are actually couch potatoes at heart. During vet school, I took Gary on 3 small walks per day (he preferred to walk less than ½ mile per walk). Occasionally, we’d go to a dog park so he could run. A run lasts for all of about 30 seconds before he’s ready to go back to the couch! Gary is now 11 years old, and he’s in great health for an old dog (other than being skinny!). I feed him 6 to 9 cups of prescription b/d (for healthy brain and aging). He’s on a special food to help him with “cognitive dysfunction.”

Here’s a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

Here’s a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

Here’s Ruby

Here’s Ruby after Dr. Katie dewormed, spayed, and fed her a high quality food for a couple of months.

Ruby the Mutt – In the summer of 2009, just before Chase and I got married we found a dog and 3 puppies in the woods. We were looking for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker (an endangered bird in Southern Arkansas), but we found a litter of puppies instead! We didn’t plan on keeping any of them, but no one wanted the little momma dog. Her fur coat was rough, her eyes were dull, she was very skinny, and her mammary tissue was saggy from nursing puppies. We gave her a silly name R.C.W. (named after the bird we were looking for) since we weren’t keeping her. Well it’s been 4 years, and you can guess that Ruby isn’t going anywhere! Chase fell in love with her and decided we could keep her. The funny part about all of this is…Chase does not consider himself a dog person, and I warned him that since he was marrying a veterinarian dogs would just find me!


Home Boy the CatChase and I bought our first house in June of 2012. Unexpectedly, our house came with an asthmatic, indoor/outdoor cat named “H.B” (short for Home Boy). The name seemed appropriate so we didn’t rename him. The first week I had him, I decided he needed to have some vaccines boostered. He’s a good cat, and he’s now well adjusted to his new owners!

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

The Chinchillas – I got my first chinchilla (Chimi) shortly after graduating vet school. He was given to me from a family who didn’t really have enough time for him, and they wanted to find him a new home. We loved Chimi from the start, and what could be more cute than a chinchilla? We decided that we wanted to get him a buddy so I posted on Facebook that I was looking. One of my colleagues quickly responded that she had a customer who was looking to rehome a chinchilla. So that’s how we acquired Bert. Now my third chinchilla (Gus), I’ll have to confess…I got him off Craigslist! Gus is a 3 legged fellow and we just couldn’t resist. We’re up to 3 chinchillas, and that’s probably the number we’ll stick with.

Merlin the Betta – Merlin the betta lives in a 5 gallon tank on my desk at My Zoo. When I have spare time, I work on trick training. So far my betta will go through a hoop on command for a treat. I’ll try to write a blog with picture proof in the future! I got the betta to prove that even a betta fish could be taught tricks!

The Fish – we have a 10 gallon tank with 1 swordtail and 6-ish platys. The platys are constantly reproducing, but only 1 or 2 babies survive each time. Why do we have fish? Well, my husband and I bought a Betta (named Iroh) 4 years ago. We bought our betta a 10 gallon tank with some bottom dwelling fish (corydoras). Well the corydora fish harassed Iroh endlessly, so we moved our poor old betta back to a smaller tank. Then we purchased more fish for the 10 gallon tank.

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