Do NOT miss Dogs in the Garden this Saturday!

We got your attention by having both dogs and garden in the headline, didn’t we? And for good reason because this Saturday is NOT to be missed!

Dr. Doug Mader, a triple-board certified veterinary specialist and veterinarian for more than thirty years, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about Dogs in the Garden.

Dogs in the Garden will be held at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.

This is a free event and family pets are welcome to attend.

Dr. Mader will be discussing his book, The Vet at Noah’s Ark. Book sales will benefit the Florida Keys SPCA.

Dr. Mader said, “I have been a veterinarian for now about almost four decades and still to this day love what I do. People always ask me would you do it again if you could? Absolutely no question about it. My goal when I wake up in the morning is to promote and prolong the human/animal bond and it doesn’t just apply to your dog and cat pets. It could be your fish in your tank. It could be the beautiful birds you see as you walk around the Florida Keys, any appreciation that we as humans have for animals and the fantastic feeling of goodness that they bring into our lives. I’m so blessed that I get to do what I do every day.”

The bond people have with pets cannot be overstated.

Dr. Mader said, “There are numerous medical studies that cite the benefit of pets to senior citizens, how it lowers their blood pressure, lowers their heart rate. There’s been studies that have shown that you have a 30 percent less likely chance of having a heart attack and if you do have a heart attack, like a 40 percent chance of recovering if you own a pet. Just the psychological impact of having something in your home that you can talk to, and that responds to you and loves you unquestionably, it’s just immeasurable what pets can bring into our lives.”

The Vet at Noah’s Ark references the name of the vet hospital where Dr. Mader worked in inner city LA.

He said, “When you look at the theme of the story, which unfortunately, was a veterinary practice in the middle of the inner city, during a period of severe racial unrest, surrounding the Rodney King beating and trial. People of our generation, definitely remember that like it was yesterday, younger generations, it’s only something they learned in school. But the sad thing is, is that that same theme keeps repeating over and over and over again. So you could take away the 1992, and it could be yesterday. But the story is really not about that. The story is about the human/animal bond and it features a dedicated group of passionate employees that work in this inner city hospital, and risk life and limb to take care of animals. Technically, the book is a memoir, because it’s written in the first person about a period of my life. But the actual story itself is really about the hospital, and about people and the human/animal bond. It’s filled with all sorts of really fun anecdotes about some great clients and some great pets. Sadly, it’s a real book. So there are some stories where sometimes things didn’t always work out. The only criticism I’ve gotten so far is that people said that they cried a couple times, which in the real world, unfortunately, that happens. But the bottom line is, there’s so many positive stories in there, about that bond, it’s a good read. That’s what I’ve been told.”

The book definitely includes unusual situations.

Dr. Mader said, “It was really a unique location of our hospital because we were kind of right on the cusp between the poor part of town and the multimillion dollar part of town. The governor of California, George Deukmejian and his wife used to bring their cat to us. So we would have the governor sitting in our reception area right next to people from the poor part of town that couldn’t even afford shoes for their children. So it made for quite an interesting array of stories and the whole spectrum from the extremely poor to we had Hollywood producers coming in and Rolls Royces”

People valued their pets, despite their financial challenges.

Dr. Mader said, “I could probably call myself a really bad businessman because I’ve never turned anybody away. If somebody has an animal that was sick over the years, I’ve always done everything I could to work with them because you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to help people and help their pets. I had a hospital up in Marathon for 27 years and we live in a small community, you know everybody. You can’t turn people away, you’ve got to be able to help people. Not everybody has the same means as everybody else. So there’s usually a way to work it out so that we can get people the help that they needed. We were always very proud of the fact that we are able to be part of the community and work with people and keep their pets healthy.”

What prompted Dr. Mader to write the book?

He said, “I’ve always been a bibliophile. I’ve loved to read since I was very, very young. Long story short, I started out my career working with horses and I was a blacksmith. I used to shoe horses. That’s how I put myself through school. I worked with this veterinarian who was an amazing talented horse doctor and he gave me a book called All Creatures Great and Small, written by a veterinarian named Dr. James Herriot. Most everybody’s heard of him, and everybody that’s ever gone to veterinary school probably went to veterinary school because they read his book. So I read his book. After I read his book, I found out he had written others. So I read his whole series of books, he wrote four of them. I told myself two things. One is I want to be like him. And two, someday I want to be able to write a book like this. So in my professional career, I’ve been heavily involved in academics and private practice. I’ve written for medical textbooks that are used in veterinary schools all around the world. I promised myself when I retired that I would actually sit down and write a book just like James Herriot. So that’s basically the genesis of this. When I finally finished up my career, and I got done writing all my academic works, and my peer reviewed papers and everything else, I sat down to do something, follow my passion, and I wrote this book.”

The book also contains information about the LA riots.

Dr. Mader said, “I think one of the ones that comes to mind, of course, is trying to keep the hospital in one piece and not burn to the ground during the riots, because the hospital was is in the inner city and the rioting literally came to within about two blocks of our hospital. We had employees sitting on the roof all night long with guns, and keeping vigil over the hospital. We had all the windows boarded up. It’s amazing how all these people came together to try and protect the animals and take care of them. I’ll never ever forget that. It occurred 30 years ago, and I’m still very good friends with most of the people there. I’ve lost contact with a few of them, but they’re just incredible people that love animals, and they’ve dedicated their entire lives to preserving and protecting animals.”

Dr. Mader has another book planned.

He said, “I promised myself I would try and follow in the footsteps of James Herriot. The sequel is about finished and it also occurs in Los Angeles. The people here in the Keys will be happy to know that the third book, which I’m outlining right now starts when I moved to the Keys in 1997. So the third book will be about my life here in the Florida Keys. I was born in the Upper Keys. So there was something about it, I always wanted to come back. I came back to visit in the early 90s and I fell in love with it. As soon as I came back to visit, I knew that someday I was going to end up here. It’s such a fantastic place to live, as you know, and the people are great. The community is great. I couldn’t see living anywhere else.”

For more information on Dr. Mader, click here: