Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The New Bolton Center
I've concluded that equines get better care these days in the U.S. than humans, if the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania is any indication. Barbaro went there for good reason: the care and professionalism is unparalleled.
Laurie and I arrived, our respective mounts in tow, to be greeted by a wonderfully efficient and kind staff. No waiting for paperwork; no pause for admission: our forms were already prepared and waiting to be signed, while two kind young women stood by with lead ropes. Beau and Tommy were escorted to their immaculate stalls, heaped high with fresh straw, and their culinary preferences recorded. Did Beau want orchard grass hay or a mix of timothy and orchard? Would the occasional flake of alfafa mix be alright? It was not the usual alfafa, mind you, but a special import from the west. "The horses love it," I was told. "They gobble it down like Godiva chocolates." In the meantime, a perky third-year resident fluttered around Beau, taking his vitals and inspecting him closely.
Once the horses were settled, Laurie and I went to clean up from our long, hot trip before meeting with Dr. Busschers, the energetic Dutch surgeon overseeing Beau and Tommy. Patient and thorough, she examined both horses and talked through their respective treatments with us. She promised to call me immediately after Beau's surgery, and this morning she proved as good as her word, explaining the results and subsequent follow-up care. These days I'm lucky if a M.D. returns my call within a week--and only if I leave countless e-mails and voice messages.
Little things caught my attention, from the area where we could leave the horse trailer to the trash bins for the content of muck buckets. Another (cute British) resident advised us not to eat at the cafeteria because of the "mean" chef. We took his recommendation and dined at a bistro up the road to very happy results.
On the way back, Laurie decided it was high time I learn how to drive a truck and horse box. She handed me the keys and sat back, ready to relax on the way home (the horse box comes later). So here we were, two middle-aged broads in a big-ass Ford truck, blasting country western while we tooled down highway 95 back to Maryland. I loved every minute of it.
As the picture shows, all I need is a beer and a hound dog by my side.