South Whidbey Animal Clinic veterinarians Dr. Rob Jung, left, and Dr. Eric Patrin with their pet ambulance in Clinton. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

South Whidbey Animal Clinic veterinarians Dr. Rob Jung, left, and Dr. Eric Patrin with their pet ambulance in Clinton. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

This ambulance has gone to the dogs, and the occasional cat

South Whidbey Animal Clinic vets primped up a 2007 Nissan Xterra for house calls and other services.

Dogs don’t chase after this ambulance. They ride inside.

What’s up with that?

It’s the pet ambulance.

Veterinarians Dr. Eric Patrin and Dr. Rob Jung use the 2007 Nissan Xterra to make housecalls. They figured, why not primp it up?

The SUV’s vinyl wrap has orange stripes with “Pet Ambulance” in big letters and blue medical emblems covering the side rear windows. It is parked at the ready in front of their South Whidbey Animal Clinic on Highway 525 across from Ken’s Korner shopping plaza in Clinton.

Now for the letdown…

“It’s just a normal car,” Jung said.

No cardiac monitors, oxygen tanks and IV equipment.

Inside is a pet bed and chew toy. And dog hair.

When duty calls, the vets grab a medical bag, and off they go. The kit has items such as syringes, medicine, stethoscope and a blood pressure cup made for skinny, hairy legs.

“A lot of the equipment is similar to human quality stuff,” Patrin said.

Jung has a special interest in exotic pets such as reptiles and small mammals. Mostly, though, the docs fetch dogs and an occasional cat that needs a ride to their office for routine care.

“For those who don’t have transport or maybe live alone and have a 90-pound German shepherd that they can’t get in the car,” Patrin said.

The Nissan is used to deliver medication, food and sleep products to pet owners who can’t get to the clinic. Yes, our lounge-on-the-couch-all-day pets have sleep disorders, just like us.

The doctors also do in-home euthanasia, so the pet’s final moments can be spent in a familiar place.

The pet ambulance was used to make a housecall for in-home euthanasia for longtime patient Leyla, a 13-year-old Weimaraner with soulful eyes. (Submitted photo)

The pet ambulance was used to make a housecall for in-home euthanasia for longtime patient Leyla, a 13-year-old Weimaraner with soulful eyes. (Submitted photo)

Judi Witt and her husband, Mike, had the pet ambulance come to their Clinton home earlier this year when the time had come to say goodbye to Leyla. The ailing 13-year-old Weimaraner who’d been with them since a pup was too ill to stand.

Leyla took her last breath with her head in Mike’s lap.

“Very slowly she closed her eyes,” Judi said.

Patrin and an assistant wrapped Leyla in her favorite blanket and gently carried her on a stretcher into the pet ambulance. The Witts have Leyla’s ashes in a special keepsake box.

The couple recently adopted two puppies.

“They’re such good companions,” Judi said. “They need you and we need them just as much. Right now, we especially need them.”

The pandemic’s stay-home order has sparked a new breed of pet seekers.

Herald reporter Ben Watanabe, 33 and footloose, is the posterboy of the bachelor millennial dude. His last commitment to any sentient being was Francis, a betta fish he had in college.

Recently, Ben shocked us with talk about wanting a cat in his life.

This prompted Langley Mayor Tim Callison (who endured Ben’s journalism prior to him joining the Herald), to remark, “Big step, Ben.”

Ben was catless at this writing. He’s still looking for Ms. Purrfect at shelters and rescues, not bars.

The vets have seen an uptick in new pet checkups.

“A lot of puppy exams,” Patrin said. “People are home and have time to house train and socialize.”

Pets are happier with their people at home.

“I know my dogs are,” Patrin said. “There is some family bonding luxury that a lot of us haven’t had before.”

Wellness company RestoraPet recently sent an email to the newspaper with tips to prepare our furry friends when we have to go back to work.

“It’s never too early to get your pets ready for the anxiety that comes with an empty house,” the company said. “Pets act out by destroying furniture, crying/barking.”

So will a lot of humans when they have to start interacting with their own kind again.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence nurse’s tearful plea shines light on short-staffed ER

The nurse described an overwhelmed emergency department, as staff have pleaded with the Everett City Council for hazard pay.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Snohomish Health District hiring full-time monkeypox task force

The county is gearing up for more cases. The outbreak will be evaluated weekly to decide if a four-person team is merited.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Everett
Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Most Read