Ten Years a Vet

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Drs. Teresa and Tan… what could be seen as Trouble Brewing…

In 2005, up in Saskatoon, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine hurled 70-odd young, (well, mostly young), unsuspecting newbie veterinary graduates out into the real world to do what we were born to do.

To heal.

To care.

To be the voice of the innocent animals who can’t speak for themselves.

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Drs. Tan & Lina… mere babies back then! (2005)

In those 10 years the family of 70-odd moved around, worked, married, worked some more, built clinics. bought into practices, kept working, had kids, traveled, worked to pay for the travel, had more kids, took up golf, got a few grey hairs, closed or changed practices, worked some more and yet somehow managed to stay in touch.

Or stayed in touch with enough people that we were able to put together a 10 -year reunion back up in Saskatoon last weekend that was really well-attended.

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The Class of 2005 who made the banquet! We clean up rather nicely!

Alistair and I made a vacation out of it.

We always liked the city of Saskatoon but never got to relax and truly experience both the journey up there and the city in the summer.

So we took our time and had an adventure.

It was fun being back in Canada together.

Where everything is SO Canadian.

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Oh, Canada!

The first Canadianism was at a cute café in Estevan, Saskatchewan where we stopped for a fabulous lunch.

Alistair ordered fries with his clubhouse and out they came smothered in gravy.

Canada, eh?

If you have never chewed a slightly damp and yet still-crisp French Fry that is coated in thick, beefy, warm, cling-to-your-fork-and-GI-tract gravy then you have missed out on one of life’s greatest guilty pleasures.

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No photo of the fries & gravy. So, a pic of the new rest area between Montana & North Dakota! This is a big deal for a guy who drives this route every 2 weeks!

The next Canadianism occurred when I turned the radio on to see if we could get some CBC.

The first thing we heard was the unmistakable sound of The Tragically Hip which made me burst out laughing.

You either get that or you don’t.

Canadians are fiercely protective of our particular brand of hip sounds, whether they are traditionally, Maritime-influenced, sung in French, socially or environmentally charged or just really witty.

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Can-Con

And then there is the politeness about everything.

I hadn’t realized that I’ve missed that but I did.

Although, it can border along the lines of downright silly…

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Downtown Saskatoon hotel parking lot

And, boy, when those Canadians really want to make their point they don’t hold back on the harsh language and stern warnings…

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Whoa, Canadian people, back off with the harsh language- I get it!

(It would have been more Canadian if the sign had actually read: “We’re sorry, but there’s positively, absolutely no parking.”)

Enjoying the Canadian in Canada was part of our plan for this adventure.

We ate out at some of our favorite old restaurants that Canadian cities really know how to run.

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Flanagan’s steakhouse in the historic Hotel Senator in downtown Saskatoon

Its the combination of beautiful surroundings, a tableside prepared Caesar salad pour deux, Canadian wines on the wine list (the Velvet Devil is NOT Canadian, our Canadian choice was out of stock… how Canadian…), impeccable (polite) service, and wonderfully presented food.

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I’ve got to work on my vegetable presentation at home; this was as delicious as it looked!

The Hotel Senator was one of those places Alistair and I or Fritzie and I would go to get away from the never ending cold and snow during our winters in Saskatoon 10 years ago.

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The historic Hotel Senator, as beautiful as ever with classic décor and killer chandeliers. Cheers!

I’m so glad we went back.

For kicks I organized my first ever golf tournament for the reunion-ers and we had a blast.

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Getting ready to start the tournament… a parade of unsuspecting golf carts and somewhat wary golfer-veterinarians, spouses & family members

4 foursomes made their way through Holiday Park’s 9-hole Executive course with laughs, a refreshing beverage thanks to the bar cart and varying versions on how to hit a golf ball.

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The Pinels… taking this golf thing SO seriously 😉

We had a few first-timers and none of them gave up!

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The all-female foursome! Drs. Carla, Lina, Jenny & Carol

Our foursome led the troupe onto the fairway… or way over the greens… into the hedges… onto the neighboring fairway… and, SPLOOSH… into the ponds.

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Fab foursome of the Pinels & the Fyfes.

We encouraged playing golf Fyfe Style, which, if you have followed my blog for long, is typically a stress-free way to play the game.

You can keep score if you want but you don’t always have to count the shot.

Even if you swing and miss!

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Drs. Boyd & Kubik… the partnering of a lifetime

Especially if you swing and miss.

The Wrights made it a family affair with their niece and oldest son on board and Ken and Natalie are still married after the 9 holes!

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Kenny, think long and hard about what you’re going to suggest to Nat…

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Kolbee, Jackson, Ken & Nat after their round

We had a great collection of prizes thanks to Royal Canin and the veterinary college. Prizes went out for “putting up with Ken” or “best team name.”

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Best team names went to both pairings in this bunch with Drs. Leanne, Pat, Sandy & Andrew.. Muffin and Stryker, I believe???

It was just another chance for a group of us to smile and laugh and catch up on one another’s lives while enjoying fresh air and a fun ride in a golf cart.

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WCVM Class of 2005 Golf Tournament players (minus the Pinels… baby to feed at the hotel!)

That night was our banquet, which I helped organize this winter with Allison. There were challenges with me living in Montana & her up in Saskatchewan and the fact we couldn’t find a few people until we got really intrusive online.

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Head honchos of the reunion at the end of the night, still smiling! We did it!

But it went off mostly without a hitch (sorry about the vegetarian meals, Jenny & Becky!) and I saw smiles on my classmates’ faces most of the weekend.

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There was lots of this…

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plenty of this…

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and this…

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and tons of this.

So we reunion-ated all night and I learned I’m not the only one not practicing but I am one of the only ones without small children hovering at my ankles or being pushed in a stroller.

And everyone looks basically the same, give or take one of those grey hairs I mentioned earlier.

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The Times Of Our Lives newspaper crew… reunited and it feels so good! Drs.Cory, me, Pat & Nathan… my boys… all growed up!

And while some special friends couldn’t make it I loved seeing everyone who did, even if I didn’t get to visit with each person as long as I had wanted.

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Lots more of this…

I booked the gazebo at the zoo for Sunday for more socializing but on a low-key, family level. It was a time for the kids to get out and run around, even though it was raining.

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What the Sunday visit was all about at the rainy zoo

What a change for me, one of the oldest people in our class, who was helping raise teenagers when we were in vet school, to see my exceptional classmates as parents.

It was a warm and fuzzy few days in that regard.

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Dr.Candace and 2 of her Lowe-boys. Brilliant idea, whoever brought the soccer ball, even in the rain!

Like all good things, the reunion and our adventure with Canadianisms had to end but I was happy to return to Bismarck and now Montana.

Its my home and my world now, which is a far cry from 10 years ago.

And I got to help former clients and their old companion who had to make a journey across the Rainbow Bridge my first day home- in a way reminding me of my skills and training that I just celebrated last weekend.

I am also reminded (and humbled) by what I told my classmates at our grad ceremony 10 years ago when I once again had the microphone- that I was so honored to call all of them my colleagues but that I was more lucky to call them my friends.

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Nothing had changed in 10 years- Drs.Candace, Leanne, me and Becky (who flew in all the way from Nova Scotia to join us!)

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It was great that Alain & several of the Back-Row-Boys were able to join us (with his partner, Jenny and Carolyn)

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Golfers by day, vixens by night! Carol, Lina & Jenny

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Jess and I at the drizzly gazebo

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Carol got a kick out of my golf “buddies” (getting a smooch from Muldy-cat) and my national pride skort!

(Thanks to Alistair for taking our pics, trying his best to remember everyone’s names, being a voice of reason when I planned all of this, getting us there & back and for golfing our way back home… more on that next time…) xo

The Time of our Lives

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Fall of 2003 or 2004 at WCVM- Andrew, Sandy, Budi, Boyd, Suzanne, me and Jocelyn

2015… it will be 10 years since we graduated veterinary school from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.

As I am helping plan our 10 year reunion for June, I can’t help but flash back to the 4 years we all spent together in Saskatoon, where the bitter winds in winter freeze your eyeballs and everyone gets a funky peri-oral dermatitis from the dry cold air.

I’m pretty stoked to see everyone again.

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Sport visiting us at school one day with Tara, Lana, Alex, Meg, Tracie and some girl who was a year ahead of us and I honestly can’t remember her name. She was nice…

72 of us spent 4 years together- learning, studying, observing, practicing, drinking, preparing, panicking, not eating well, cramming, operating, palpating and drinking at the Sutherland.

You can not help but become bonded with one another.

Veterinary school is grueling. Everything surrounding it is.

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Ah yes, the rigors of veterinary school, with Hugh and Leanne

We only had 4 vet schools in Canada at the time and the competition to get in was fierce.

And based on what province we came from.

So by the time you sit down for the first lecture on your first day in the first semester of your first year, you’re already whupped.

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Dream Radiology rotation- Karla, Jocelyn (“fire in the hole”), Claire and me

And you’re a teensy bit worried that your name badge with ‘Dr. Fyfe’ won’t be down on that table in front because you didn’t actually get into vet school and its all been a dream.

But it is and you really are going to be a veterinarian!

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Alpaca medicine!

Until your first Anatomy exam marks come back.

And the Histopathology profs have to sit your class down to tell you you’d all better pull your grades up or nobody would be making 2nd year.

My class wasn’t known for its outstanding academic brilliance but we shone brightly as fun, co-operative, tight-knit, friendly people.

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Random sunny afternoon with a bunch of my peeps

Which is why I’m so happy to help put our reunion (and a golf tournament!) together.

It will be wonderful to see so many of my classmates again.

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Field Service dream team with Emma and I… spot the turkey

Like my friend, Teresa who kept her horse, Max at the stable with my horse, Blaze.

Where we would go after classes or on weekends and solve the world’s problems on the backs of our geldings.

That same friend watched me get busted by our anatomy prof several times… once pretending to read the instructions for something with the paper upside-down in my hands… another time moon-walking through blood and ‘stuff’ on the anatomy lab floor… and yet another as I leapt up from the 5-headed microscope and broke into some sort of crazed Happy Dance because I got something correct.

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Blaze, T-Co and Max

Friends who gathered together one freezing cold weekend to learn and practice being equine Endurance Ride veterinarians.

It wasn’t mandatory. It was just for those of us who knew we would work endurance rides.

Like the one that very cold weekend that was mostly ridden by our professors. No pressure there.

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We’re going to be Endurance Ride veterinarians! Andrew, Budi, Mark, Karla, Lana and Nate

My friend, Danielle who loves Sport, my Siamese cat as much as I do.

And red wine.

Who would join me for fancy schmancy suppers at hoity toity restaurants where we would wear our dresses and makeup and fancy heals, even if that’s how I had to help push her car out of the snow one night.

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Red wine and Siamese cats. I knew Fritzie and I were of the same soul.

The same one who joined me for 2 Lobsterfests at the local zoo and who house/cat-sat for me when I would go home to Bismarck.

The friend who break-danced during our infamous Round-Up skit that we hosted with Pinel and Garcia and did whatever we suggested during our photo-op with Justin.

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Round-Up photo shoot with Justin getting some ‘assistance’ from me, Fritzie and Pinel

The same friend who asked me to be one of her bridesmaids after we graduated.

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Suzanne, newly-married Fritzie and I on Vancouver Island, BC

Where her parents thanked me for helping their daughter relax and enjoy veterinary school a little more for what it was and not living so much for the exams and tests.

Friends who agreed to write a newsletter with me.

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Times of our Lives’ editorial team… at my place for a beer & wing review. Pinel, Kubik, Sport, me and Nate. We had just had some of the worst ‘delivery’ wings of our lives and were trying not to die here.

The Times of our Lives got going in our 2nd year, when I appreciated that getting into veterinary school was the hardest part of all.

I knew I wasn’t going to be the ‘gold medal’ academic of our class and that I wasn’t going to go into research. I didn’t intend to do an internship or residency.

I just wanted to be a good vet.

But I also wanted to enjoy my time there and the people I was with. I am one of the older ‘kids’ in my class and was married with step kids. I had already had a career so my perspective was a bit different.

So we wrote a newspaper.

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The Times of our Lives…. “The TOOL”

Quite a few of them, in fact!

The TOOL became a cult classic that residents and professors would ask for whenever we deemed it time to get one put together.

We had Pinel’s musical selections, Nate’s movie or rotation selections and Pat’s… well… I’m not sure what to call Pat’s column but it was pretty damned funny and what most people turned to first.

Sport wrote his Sport’s column and I had my editorial. Looking back, it was a sort of pre-blog because my writing style is much the same.

We did beer & wing reviews in each paper, scouring Saskatoon for seedy dives or hidden gems where I’d have a silly questionnaire for ‘the boys’ to fill out.

And we had contests in 3rd and 4th year- you had to identify our body parts and you’d get a dream date with us!

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The first TOOL Dream Date- Kubik, Boyd, me, Claire, Rockin’ Robyn, Pinel and Nate… and our limo!

The limos toured us around the city and then we’d do another beer & wing review, all classed and prettied-up.

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What goes on at beer & wing night STAYS at beer & wing night!

Somehow we managed to fit a contest and Dream Date into our hectic 4th year and even one of the residents came along.

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2nd TOOL Dream Date! Kubik, Nate, me, Fritzie, Meg, Colin, Dr.Mitch and Pinel and another limo!

More beer, more wings, and more memories.

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The final beer & wing Dream Date with 2 of ‘the boys’

I had friends who enabled my creative side by “helping” me with projects.

Little things I did to keep everyone smiling throughout our stressful days.

Like Celeste Shadow, who only showed up in 4th year, but she was a blast.

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Celeste Shadow… our secret classmate

She was naughty, but even the profs got a kick out of Celeste!

And the friends who helped do ‘skits’ for whatever function was coming up.

Our class had some fantastic skits over the years.

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One of our classic skits with Gina, me, Emma, Lauren, Nate as Austin Powers, Leanne, Shannon, Carla & Sarah

Don’t get me wrong- veterinary school is tough.

There were challenging times of studying and not sleeping and missing my home and family in Bismarck and trying to make the campus rec hockey game and cars-on-fire and board exams and oral exams and uptight residents with inferiority complexes.

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Pathology dream team where we actually played a part in CSI-ing the real cause of death in this moose (he had been shot!) Starring Jocelyn, Travis, Sandy, Shannon Budi, Christine, Sarah, me and Leanne! And I can’t remember our prof’s name… Haigh?

 

But it was manageable.

Survivable.

Because 71 of my closest friends were enduring it as well.

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Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 2005

Many of us have stayed close during these past 10 years.

I got to hang out with Leanne and Jocelyn on Maui at a conference in 2010.

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Canadian veterinarians take over Maui!

And Ken and Nat bring their boys to our ranch in Seeley Lake once a year for visiting or hockey tournaments.

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Dr.Kenny’s boys this summer at the Fyfe Farm

And babies have been born and couples married and clinics started and people have moved and Casey and Harry are still kicking and clinics have closed and some of us have travelled and some aren’t working as vets and we are busy trying to decide if we want our reunion banquet on the Friday or the Saturday.

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Tara’s wedding in St.Augustine, FL with Carolyn, me and Candace (can you believe I wasn’t into golf back then… and I had a day to myself in St.Augustine…????!!!!)

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Grey’s Anatomy… for vets! The Anesthesia dream team of 4th year. Dr.Singh, me, Travis, Bowyer, Fritzie, Lana and Aimee

I can’t wait to see my classmates & colleagues again.

Pinel and I hosted our graduation ceremony back in 2005. I remember saying something like how honored I was to call everyone there my colleague.

But I teared-up when I said it was more special that I could call them all my friends.

Here’s to WCVM’s class of 2005!

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Grad night with Alistair in 2005