Clinic business

A new clinic cat named after a senior gentleman

Second in a series.

My practice was in its infancy in 1978, but we were ready for anything. I had an ECG, X-ray machine and a full range of surgical instruments – everything except stationery and business cards. The equine vet next door recommended a printer, so I called Mr. Franklin Lancaster. He offered to come and design my new letterhead.

When this elderly gentleman arrived he cordially greeted Martha at reception and waited patiently while I finished with a customer who had brought a duck with diarrhea. That’s right – a duck named Harley (not Donald), who recovered very well, thank you very much. I washed my hands of feathers and duck droppings, and invited Mr. Lancaster into my office, which was a little bigger than a telephone booth. Although he was old enough to be my grandfather, he treated me with deference. I was struck by his courteous manners. Examples of good behavior can appear at any time.

I placed my order and walked Mr. Lancaster to the door. Turning around, I glanced at Martha behind the counter to find a young woman bursting with unbridled enthusiasm. She summarily announced the name of our new cat: Mr. Lancaster. Did I mention my tendency to name pets after people? Well, I’m not alone.

My initial warning to Martha and Amos that it was not our kitten, and most certainly someone else’s stray pet, had lost all credibility. It was only the night before that I had traveled El Pueblo Road in search of the family of the blue-eyed white cat and, finding no one willing to acknowledge the paternity of the animal, I recognized that we now had a clinic cat. As we got to know our new pet, it became clear that if anyone needed an example of good behavior, it was Mr. Lancaster – the feline version, that is. -say.

Next week: Mr. Lancaster’s ignominious past.

DOG BEHAVIOR CLASS: I will be teaching a canine behavior course with lots of Q&A from 6-7pm on Tuesday, November 15 at the K9 Resort, 4740 Pan American Freeway NE, Albuquerque. No cost. Please call (505) 596-6872 to RSVP.

For help with behavioral issues, you can sign up for a Zoom group conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He offers in-person and group consultations via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and video to help bring out the best in pets and humans. Sign up for free at Ask your pet questions at or by mail at 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

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