The Darwin Animal Doctors clinic has a secret team member who, so far, has not been introduced. And we think it’s about time that she got her time to shine. In January of this year, when Carmen first began as the new Darwin Animal Doctor at the Galapagos clinic, she met a strange and darling street cat that soon become more than just a patient…
On a usual, busy clinic day, a local resident entered the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic with a small, black street cat in hand. The kind man had noticed that the poor street cat had massive abdominal wounds, and so decided to bring her into the clinic. The cat was in a terrible way; she was incredibly skinny, missing patches of hair, with severely ulcerated skin on her abdomen and mammary glands (which created quite a horrible aroma…).
The little cat was very young, only about three months, but had already clearly had a tough time living out on the streets. Being in such a state, the team expected her to be scared, shy, or even aggressive. However, the little black cat was not so at all. From the first moment in the clinic, she was loudly meowing and purring, strutting around as if she owned the place. She pined for affection, rubbing her infected, smelly self up against all the clinic volunteers. But everyone loved the cat’s somewhat inflated sense of self, and she quickly won the affectionate name “Stinky”
Despite her apparent disregard for her ever present health issues, the ulcerated skin on Stinky’s abdomen would have to be removed. Due to the excessive amount of damage, the process would need to be done in two separate surgeries. In the first surgery, Carmen had to remove the mammary glands with the worst of the ulcerated skin, and then wait for the skin to heal and grow. The rest of the ulcerated skin was then removed in the second surgery, stretching the healed skin to cover wounds from the second operation. The surgeries were a great success, and the poor homeless cat was kept in the clinic to monitor her recovery. But as Stinky began to heal, the quirky and strange cat became more and more peculiar…
She quickly became the entertainment of the clinic and love of many, with her love for cucumber (then tomato, then potatoes), her continual desire for attention (even in the middle of the night), and her strange love-hate relationship with the neighbour cat. But to the veterinarian who had cared for her for endless hours from day one, she was particularly special. Carmen and Stinky would often be found lying on the couch or floor together, cuddling and playing, discussing the events of the day. Carmen had searched out the best cat toys, tried every cat food in the town to find Stinky’s favourite, and needless-to-say spent hours treating the cat to bring her back to perfect health. Carmen had even taught her how to fetch and so she would be regularly be found chasing a fuzzy rat toy down the clinic stairs.
Unfortunately, the team could no longer deny the unhappy truth; due to a variety of constraints, there are to be no animals kept in the clinic. But the beloved cat had no owner (the man who brought her in had five non cat loving dogs and so could not keep her) and nowhere to go. And the “hard and tough” veterinarians had fallen so in love with her that they were not about to let her go. Especially Carmen. So they veterinarians “released” Stinky; they opened the clinic door and asked Stinky if she wanted to leave. Stinky peered outside (as Carmen held her breath) and then quickly turned around and strutted back inside the clinic. Apparently, she did not want to leave. So, over the months to come, the team channeled their teenage deviancy and stuck together against the rules in order to keep Stinky. She was hidden when necessary, rule-makers were readily misinformed that she was no longer in the clinic when they inquired, and if discovered and put up for adoption, she would be quickly removed from the list by a fast-acting volunteer. Every new volunteer instantly fell in love the quirky Stinky cat, and were soon recruited to join the “Save Stinky” plight.
Now, after 10 months, Stinky’s place in the clinic is clear, and she is here to stay. She is constantly an entertaining presence, putting a smile on everyone’s face, no matter how long and tiring the day was.