MJ Wixsom: A time to be grateful for many things

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

Oh, my! It is Nov. 2! I forgot. Yesterday, I knew it was the day after Halloween, All Saints Day, and a new month, but I forgot that it was the first day of November.

November is my month of gratitude and honestly, I could have used a tad of gratitude yesterday.

It was surgery day and two people called off (one needed and one also needed, but because of their choices the night before that resulted in food poisoning).

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Of course, I was grateful for the cross training that allowed us to safely get most everything done. I was mostly grateful that folks were kind when we didn’t get calls made in a timely manner.

Nov. 2: I am grateful for the ability to think on my feet. I am teaching a class of gifted fifth graders on Wednesdays. It is just an hour and I am teaching about heartworm disease. Since I have a master of science degree in veterinary parasitology and concentrated on heartworm disease, I needed little prep, but with two hours before the talk, I am yet to come up with an activity.

Yet, I’m sure there will be one.

Nov. 3: I am grateful for coffee. A wild and eventful day included morning coffee with a friend at my office. It’s not just the taste, warmth, smell, clear coffee color. which are all sublime, but the fact that it can be shared by friends at any time with no calories or any guilt.

Nov. 4: I am grateful that I have been forgiven something I didn’t do and that I didn’t know about from a decade or more ago.

Nov. 5: I am grateful to be writing again. I started a 30-day challenge about a year ago with Darren Pillsbury, his support and guidance have been phenomenal. The book is becoming far better than I would have ever gotten on my own and he has urged me to step out of my comfort zone to commission some really great book covers.

Nov. 6: I am grateful to be able to practice falconry. It is hard to describe the bond with a wild creature. They are not pets. Do falconry wrong and they can choose to leave at almost any time. It requires patience (I’m working on that), knowledge and comradery. Falconry cannot be learned from a book or a video, a long and good apprenticeship is required to be a good falconer. I’ve been at this for decades and there is still much to learn, but as a master falconer, I find I am often in a position to teach. Good video from a FB friend.

Nov. 7: I am grateful for my dogs. Whiskey is probably the best behaved and a great snuggler, although he can’t get on the tall bed anymore. He can get on the shorter bed and protects me from the cats by laying on my right side, plastered to me.

Nov. 8: I am grateful for Tango. Definitely different than his half brother, he is adventurous and mischievous. He loves cardboard, but often counter surfs. He is a credible snuggler. He is a lab and he had a cancer scare, but is doing well for now. (Bonus I’m grateful.)

Nov. 9: I am grateful for Foxtrot. This chocolate lab adamantly insists that I am his human. He is comfortable in his space, but if I am around his space is mine. He jumps and twists when we head out for the night. He pees and pees and pees so long that even when I didn’t have to go, I have to go. I love him with all my soul. I even take him to Dragon Land.

Nov. 10: I am grateful for my cats. Tigre, Parker and Jarvis not only provide efficient uninvited rodent control (important when you live in the woods), but they provide warmth in the winter. Tigre tries (and often succeeds) to escape and now lives at GAMC, but every night Tigre can be found on my left side with their head on my shoulder. Parker is on the right side curled up in my back. Parker would prefer to sleep in a U-shape around my head on the pillow, but mild allergies prevent that.

Nov. 11. I’m grateful for my time in the service. It was not popular then. But I became a better stronger person and gained a family that was to last decades. How appropriate that my first happy Veterans Day message is from an academy classmate. 14 women graduated that first year. We’re not alike and we don’t often agree but we share a bond like no other and I have life long friends for the guys that were my classmates

Nov. 12 I am grateful for coffee. I like the warmth, the aroma, the hot black clean taste. I like the memories of coffee in service and the much better tasting now coffee with friends.

Nov. 13: I am grateful for my immediate family. Merry has grown up to be a conscientious adult with good morals. Matt has supported all (well, many) of my hair brained ideas throughout the decades. (Think: camping in a remote revenuer’s cabin, whitewater kayaking, week long canoe trips, sled dog running, falconry, wildlife rehab…)

Nov. 14: I am grateful for my staff. Although they are few, they all pitch in to make sure what needs doing gets done. Each and everyone that I now have genuinely cares about animals and their human folk.

Nov. 15: I am grateful for limits that are being stretched. Because of my book, I am learning charting skills and working on fitting in geography into my book. I am meeting new people and having to think outside my normal box. The cover, the characters and the map are getting me excited about Dragon Flame again.

Nov 16: I am grateful for Falconry. Today is World Falconry day which celebrates the inscription of falconry as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is great, but for me, it is a challenge (that’s good), it gets me out in the woods and I have a bond with the birds that would otherwise not be achievable. Hawks are not bred to be domestic, they are wild animals that choose to work in partnership with a human. I am honored that I am the human for Bravo and Zulu and that I get to work with Charlie and Foghorn also.

To be continued…

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566.