The Art of Veterinary Medicine

I once had a fellow, who I shall call George, bring me his cat who was named Grey. Prior to bringing the cat to the clinic, George had come in to tell me that he would be unable to pay for my services with cash, but that he could compensate me with art. George was a well-known character in the small community where I was working and agreeing to be paid “in art” seemed like a reasonable community service.

Thankfully, Grey simply had a bad case of diarrhea and this was easily remedied with some medication. George was very grateful for this “cure” and he assured me he would soon deliver the promised artwork.

Several weeks passed and George appeared one day to present me with a framed painting of Grey. I accepted this feline portrait gracefully and nodded courteously as George explained all the important aspects of the painting. Grey was sitting and his tail was pointing directly forward from between between his legs. Anatomically, it was remarkable.

A week later, George returned asking the receptionist where I had hung the painting. I quickly pulled it out of the drawer where I had stowed it away and found a hook to place it above the surgery scrub sink. George was escorted to the back of the clinic and was pleased to see Grey occupying a prominent place.

Years passed and the day came when I had to make a house call to euthanize Grey. In return for this service I was offered another piece of artwork. George took me to his studio and invited me to chose a painting of my choice. Most were landscapes with orange fir trees and purple skyscapes.

“Do you sell many paintings?” I asked.

George explained to me that he had yet to sell a single painting, but he was hopeful, saying, “The market will soon turn around when the economy gets rolling again.”

I found one I liked depicting a tractor on a farm. “Could I have this one?” I asked.

“No, that one is worth too much,” he explained.

I settled for the orange and purple and I hung it in the staff room.

George walked into the clinic a month or so later.

“Dr. Dave, I need to repossess that picture of Grey. It’s the only image I have of him and I miss him so much, I will need to take it back. But to be fair, I have a landscape to replace it.”

And that is how I came to possess two purple and orange paintings.