Animal owners keep Olympia Pet Emergency busy on Christmas Day

Santa might finally get to rest on Christmas Day, but not the staff at Olympia Pet Emergency.

The animal clinic operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year.

A wave of pets came in Thursday morning, including a cat with a broken paw and a poodle with a puncture wound. Another dog had suffered a seizure.

As of noon Thursday, the clinic had seen 65 animals in the past two days, said reception manager Suzanne Oviedo-Johnson, who manned the phone and the front desk.

“We see an array of everything,” she said. “We’re always busy on the holidays.”

Many pets are brought to the clinic after eating chocolate, toys, ornaments or even human medications, the staff said. Cases run the gamut from broken legs and dislocated eyeballs to gunshot wounds and raccoon attacks.

Holly, a 10-year-old dachshund, had eaten three dark chocolate bars this week. She and owner Yolanda Boyd waited in the lobby for about an hour Thursday morning for a diagnosis. Although she was lethargic earlier in the morning, Holly had perked up since their arrival at the clinic, Boyd said.

“Her vitals were good, so that was a good sign,” said Boyd, a Tumwater resident, who was told Holly could have problems with her pancreas. “That little 50-cent candy bar is going to be quite expensive.”

Boyd also offered advice for fellow dog owners that she wished she would have followed: “Hide your candy bars.”

Located at 3011 Pacific Ave. SE, the animal clinic has six full-time veterinarians, with two of them on duty during a bustling Christmas Day. One veterinarian, Dr. Paul Chauvin, had been working since 7 p.m. Christmas Eve.

“That’s pretty much the story with all holidays,” said clinic manager Ted Westby, whose brother, Dr. David Westby, started Olympia Pet Emergency in 1996. “On Christmas, we try to keep it so that people don’t have to spend all day here.”

Other people came to the clinic Thursday to bring home their pets. Jared and Melissa Sule glowed like Christmas lights upon reuniting with 4-month-old Thea, a gray mastiff who had suffered a collapsed lung after chewing on a piece of bark.

Thea eagerly licked her owners’ faces in the lobby, two days after the Olympia couple had brought the pup to the clinic.

“They took such good care of her. She was a little spoiled princess,” said Melissa Sule, adding that two other dogs also awaited Thea’s return. “They’ve been smelling her crate. They want her home.”