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Orion and the Gang of Misfits

The Veterinarian who is treating Orion is a great man. He is a man of compassion. He is a genius. He performs miracles. His little clinic in Cali is famous in the country of Colombia. He is known for saving dogs from injuries no one else will touch. He is truly a miracle worker. My dog Orion is a patient and the care he is receiving is exceptional.

The waiting area

When I enter the clinic I see misfits, animals that look like they have survived a war. They are all around, resting on little mats after undergoing surgery, on leashes held by their owners, getting therapy in the exam rooms, or being seen by the doctor. Shaved body parts, casts, and limping are normal in this veterinary office.This clinic is not fancy. In fact it is a bit outdated. One would think walking into this office that it was nothing. I did. However, then I started talking with the people who are sitting and waiting with their wounded animals. We all share one thing: love for our four-legged children. Orion is always scared when we arrive. He hates riding in the truck. He remembers when he broke his front paw that he had to stay in a kennel and he has never gotten over it. He pants, he is restless, he shakes, and he tries to get the muzzle off that we put on him. Orion is a Dogo Argentino, a class of dog required to be muzzled. He doesn’t need to be. He is gentle and timid. He wags his tail even when scared. He allows everyone to poke and prod him, but he is so un-nerved. Orion pants and pants. Water is given to him when in therapy which he laps up. My heart breaks as I look around. There in a corner is an amputee dog, crying out, just out of surgery. Another mat has an old Chow who has lost all its hair and has dementia, but the owners cannot let go, a mini-Schnauzer with a cast on its front leg, an older Retriever with an injury on the front leg, a chocolate Lab walking pretty well on a broken leg the same as Orion which gives me hope. The little street animals brought in by compassionate people. A girl drove three hours with a puppy that had a crooked back leg. She was a street dog, probably hit by a car. This girl is a hero to me. She can’t keep the dog but is paying to have her leg fixed. She said to me she will find her a home. The dog will need to come back to see the doctor after surgery. She is willing to do this. I know there are really good people in the world when I see this sort of compassion.

I have made many friends in this little veterinary clinic. We all talk about our dogs when we see each other. We wait patiently for our turn with the therapists, and we share our war stories. Dogs bark and whine as we talk over them. We describe our dogs accomplishments since our last visit. We watch as someone new enters with an injured animal knowing all too well the journey they will be starting. First the surgery and then the recovery. We all share a common bond, a love for our four-legged child who has been horribly injured. A bell rings and Orion’s name is called. It is his turn for Acupuncture. He is drooling from nervousness. We calm him with kisses and pats. He patiently lets the doctor stick needles in him. He gets heat therapy on his bad leg, then he has to lay calmly and wait a while.


Acupuncture therapy
Family at VM 013

Orion is ready to go and he gets up and puts weight on his leg immediately after his treatment. Not a lot, but enough to let me know he will be walking normally soon. My heart is happy. We have seen Orion go from depressed with rods in his leg and a cast on the thigh, to now being able to get around quite well. He is back to his sunny disposition as soon as we settle in the car for our hour ride back home. Orion drops his head for a much needed snooze. He knows it is over for now. He can relax. When we arrive at the farm, he is greeted by his pack. They all sniff him and the strange smells he carries from the veterinary office. Orion goes and stretches out on the grass. He rolls with delight at surviving another visit with the vet, and soaks up the sun. Life is good.



I am an American who moved to Colombia to find peace after the devastating loss of my daughter. I bought and renovated a Villa, am learning Spanish, and writing as catharsis. This blog will be like a book with chapters. Each blog will be about my life in Colombia and my adventures. I hope you will enjoy the many new discoveries I am making every day about myself and another culture.

5 thoughts on “Orion and the Gang of Misfits

  1. I’m so happy for you that your baby is getting much better. I couldn’t read the whole story because I still cry for my joey. I still feel his presences all the time .You’d think after 6 months I’d calm down but it is what it is. The only thing he didn’t do was talk. He was so spoiled and he ran the house. I will never have another animal. It’s to hard to have them put to sleep. It’s just to hard to do .Never never again. Hugs to you for being you. I have birds and squirrels that I feed right outside my porch back door. When I put the seed on a little table I hit the metal on anything and it’s like a dinner bell. by the time I get back in the house their already at the table eating. it’s very funny to see who eats first. it’s always the same ones. sometimes the birds and squirrels and birds will eat nice together but then the squirrels will chase the birds so they can get all the sunflower seed first. It’s just fun to watch and it gives me some laughter to watch. The small tings in life makes me happy with the way this crazy world is going. Granny


    1. Granny, I so understand. I want to say adopt a dog from a shelter. Maybe having a new dog will help with the hurt from your loss. I understand your reluctance after your loss. However …. just think of the love you have stored inside of you that you describe with your visual about your birds and squirrels. I would never assume to tell you what to do, but you could save a life and give yourself some joy in the midst of your heartache. I adore you. xo Michele


  2. Michele, I just read about the “”misfits”. I’m so happy for you that Orion is doing much better. We all love our four legged as our own children. From your writing I can tell that you take such good care of your animals. I’m now up at our home in Boone, NC and when I look out at the mountains I think of you at your home. Since this is my first year of retirement, I’m still trying to figure out my schedule. But one day you’ll will see me at your B&B. I just love looking at all of your videos of he country and animals.


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