12 April 2014


So, I haven't updated this in quite a while, and a lot has changed. The big thing recently is that I took a job as a government contractor with a company that supplies bomb-sniffing and other working dogs to overseas contracts. Just over two weeks ago I arrived on a one year contract as in-house veterinarian on a base in Iraq. The big reason for the jump, aside from the money and moving away from private practice, is that the experience should serve me very well when I apply to federal fellowship programs for next year.

So far it's been interesting work. The problems I've encountered have been fairly standard fare, but I'm working with a mix of American, Iraqi, and South African dog handlers, who are by and large really decent and fun people to work with. The dogs range from total sweethearts to eat-your-face-off types, but I rely on the handlers to hold the dogs so I can do my job, and I really love watching all of them work. They're just amazing and really love what they do.

I'm working on learning some Arabic, and the little I do know is already coming in handy. This evening I came out of the shower building to three Iraqi kids from a cleaning crew asking me if it was "Hospital?" After I walked them down to the clinic here on the contractor compound, which had closed for the night, I realized they must have seen me in my scrub top and thought I was the doctor. I was able to explain to them that I'm the veterinarian and that tomorrow there will be an Iraqi doctor at the clinic. By the end of this, I hope to have an additional language skill, which will also come in handy when applying to fellowships.

And aside from all of that, the desert dawns have been quite spectacular.



kmkat said...

Thanks for the update! Your tweets had me confused. Best of luck and stay safe. You will accumulate lots of stories, I'm sure.

Mini said...

SO happy you are ok... I keep you in my thoughts each evening, hoping you are ok, keeping those dogs healthy so they can find the bombs, to keep the people healthy.

PICAdrienne said...

Take care and stay safe.

M-H said...

Mel you are bloody amazing. I tips me lid to your courage, moving to such a different environment for a whole year. I hope you will be able to update us often on life in Iraq.

Angie said...

Stay safe.

Maureen said...

Interesting post! - I hope your dogs won't miss you too much while you're gone