A Flurry of Fur

Chelsea Dogs on the Porch
Jojo and Derby, two of Chelsea’s family’s three Jack Russell Terriers, sit on the porch at her home in Colorado, which overlooks a scenic view.

What a mad dash this weekend has been!

Finals ended Friday morning for the second-year veterinary students, and, typically, we like to take the next couple of days to rest up from the “celebration of knowledge.” I, however, needed to leave early on Saturday in order to get home to my parents’ horse ranch in Colorado by Sunday.

So what was the big rush?

A long-awaited Golden Retriever puppy is being added to my family’s clan of animals this summer and, coincidentally, her pick-up date coincided with the end of my finals AND the pregnancy due date of one of our horses.

Chelsea's Kiara
Kiara, the newest addition to the family, is a cream Golden Retriever (9 weeks old, as pictured).

So, on Friday afternoon I had a quick celebratory lunch with my friends and then headed to the airport to pick up my mom.

Over Saturday and Sunday we drove together to Dallas to pick up the puppy, and then it was onward to Colorado to be back in time for the delivery of our foal.

As I write this, we are monitoring our “foal-watch” cameras, which livestream the mare’s activity in her stall.

Last year in our reproductive physiology class, we learned that labor has three stages. In the first stage, the fetus becomes positioned for birth; in the second stage, the fetus is delivered; and in the third stage, the placenta is expelled.

Chelsea Horse Delivery
A 4-year-old Chelsea and her mother celebrate the delivery of a foal in 1994.

It is important to actively monitor all of these stages for the health of the mother and the baby.

As we watch our livestream feed, my mom and I observe the restless behavior consistent with Stage 1, and as this progresses toward Stage 2, we will head to the barn to be present for the birth and to provide assistance as needed.

My mom has raised many horses over the years, but the anticipation for this part of the journey never diminishes!

In addition to reveling relaxing at my family’s newly completed ranch home, this summer I will also be expanding my veterinary training at a nearby research facility.

In between honing my diagnostic and treatment skills, I will be cuddling all of our cats, dogs, horses, and even chickens in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s sure to be a fulfilling summer!