Dr. Sam's Veterinary Housecalls

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while now, and since it is snowing I figured this is a good day to get caught up on inside work, including this blog post.

A few months ago I decided it was time to have my two furry children checked out. It actually started because Fuchsia, my long haired cat, had stopped grooming herself in her old age and I wanted he checked out and possibly sedated and then groomed. But just about a week before my other cat, GinSue, started acting really weird. I knew that she had been off, she hadn't been sleeping with me for weeks, but I figured it was due to the crazy schedule I have during August and that she was just mad at me, or experiencing some anxiety.

I had read an article about another local vet who makes house calls for euthanasia, and had bookmarked that site thinking I may need it one day. But that sparked a thought that maybe someone else would come to the house and see the girls, saving me the time and the agony of binging them into an office. So I looked up veterinarians who make house calls and stumbled upon Dr. Samantha Ottinger.

And before you ask, yes it costs a little more. There is a "house call" fee above the regular visit fee and any other testing fees. But it wasn't so expensive to be cost prohibitive, and in fact in the end I thought it was well worth every penny (and more).

I made the appointment via email, which is great for my crazy schedule. We decided on a Monday and Dr. Sam and her assistant Lexi arrived. It was amazing- they had these kits all ready with everything they would need, a scale, the laptop, it was impressive. What was more impressive was how GinSue handled the visit. She acted like it was any other of my friends coming over, and although some of the poking and prodding offended her a little, she didn't run and hide during the exam at all. Since Fuchsia is a more cranky cat, she did eventually hiss and spit a little, but nothing near the anger and abuse I expected her to dole out to our visitors. The whole experience was much more comfortable for me as well. I got to sit on the floor, hold them while blood was taken, and in general be part of the procedure, rather than just having them whisked away from me to some unknown part of the office.

So while the news for Fuchsia was good, she is old but healthy for her age, it was not good news for GinSue. Some of her lab work came back off the chart, and it was diagnosed at CRF- Chronic Renal Failure. Our little furry girl is on a path, and we know where it will end, now all we can do is make her comfortable along the way. About a week later I made another appointment with Dr. Sam and she and Lexi came out to administer some subcutaneous fluids to GinSue before I left on a trip with my Mom. I got her medications and left my dad in charge. Honestly, I didn't expect her to be here when I got back.

But here she is and she is doing well. She is comfortable and responding to her medications well. Dr.Sam answers all of my questions quickly (via email) and is honest, reliable, comforting, but realistic. And when it s time for GinSue to leave us, Dr.Sam will come to the house and go through the process of euthanizing her with us, and be sure she is cremated properly, and return her to us in the end. Knowing that is very comforting to me.

So please, if you are in need of a vet, call Dr.Sam. You ultimately may not like the news you hear, but it is impossible not to like the doctor you will be getting it from.

Samantha Ottinger, DVM
PO Box 152
Bath, PA 18014-0152
(484) 809-9838


October 17th Mulhenberg College

Last April we took part in the College's Earth Day Celebration and we were welcomed with open arms. It was a wonderful day and event, so we searched out how to vend at the campus more regularly. So now once a month we go and vend and give 20% of our sales to EnAct, and on campus environmental group.

We set up inside the Student Union and we vend for about 6 hours, It is super easy to get in and out of the building, we live really close. There is a place to get food and drinks right there and we are close to the restrooms. All the things that make vending pleasant.

Add in a very intellectual student body who is engaging and you have a great day no matter what the sales figures are at the end of the day. October was not as string as September, but if I remember college, it was easier to spend money at the start of a semester than at the end of it when that money was gone. We also vended on a Monday rather than the Wednesday we vended on in September so that may make a difference too depending on class schedules and such. We are trying to plan for one more day at the end of November so student shave an opportunity to purchase holiday gifts and then we will be back in 2012.

October 15th 2011 White Horse Farm

This is the most beautiful place to have an event. The farm is wonderful, the alpacas and goats are adorable, and the food is beyond excellent The barn we vend in is clean, dry, spacious, well lighted, easy to get in and out of. The day was super windy so I was glad that I decided to vend inside and pay the extra money than vend outside. I think we would have had to leave, it was too much for me to handle out there.

Now for the cons. There were almost double the amount of vendors this year and I made half the amount of money as I did last year, and they did not double attendance from last year. See the math problem here? I have this theory that since the economy is soft right now, people are coming to events with a stricter budget to adhere to. This means that they hope to spend this year what they spent last year (or maybe even less) and adding so many new vendors dilutes that money over more people. The only way to keep that from happening as much is to drastically increase the number of people attending. So in this case, what was a pretty good event for just a few vendors ended up being a mediocre (or worse) event for many vendors.

I love the day, I love the event, I love the people. But it is over an hour away from home and takes up quite a bit of gas and tolls to get there. I have to admit, I doubt we will be back next year as vendors. I will go and see the alpacas, have lunch and shop, but won't have a booth there.


Couch to 5K Week 5- Day 1 Another try- Again

So a chest cold and some general self misery has kept me from running for the last few weeks. But I had a good talking to myself, and watched the pounds crawl back up the scale and promised myself to get going again.

So I started again with Week 5 Day 1. I finally found myself a route I like and can modify as I run farther. It is a series of lops, kind of like two figure 8's next to each other, so I can just keep adding loops around my self made "track". And I ate before I ran, so now I can do this with food in my tummy and not get sick to my stomach.

So how did I do?? I think I did pretty well.

Walk 5 minutes- Done
Run 5 minutes (ran 4:30)
walked 3 minutes- done
run 5 minutes (ran 3:00)
walk 3 minutes- done
Run 5 minutes- Done!!
walk 5 minutes- done!

So I am feeling pretty good. After the first interval my chest was on fire but by the end I seemed to have found a rhythm and felt invigorated. I also stubbed my toe near the end, but I kept going. It might hurt tomorrow but no real damage done- gotta love my Vibram shoes, they keep even a klutz like me from hurting herself.

OK, time to go jump in the shower, got a day of selling a head of me, can't be all sweaty gross for that!


Jordan UCC Bazaar & Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts

Saturday dad did the fall Bazaar at Jordan UCC in Allentown. He reported back that it was a pleasant day. Load in and out were easy, the food was good and inexpensive, the pies are great, and his neighbors were friendly. The congregation is happy and many turned out just to explore the used book sale, or attic treasure sale and then have lunch. The event has many components to it and it can be a fun few hours of indoor entertainment.

Our sales were mediocre, but the event may have actually been plagued by good weather, as it was actually nice enough out for outdoor activities, which may have hampered attendance. The church is just a few miles from home and we hope to take part again next year. It is especially nice that it falls on the same weekend as the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Show, so we can attend a show both days of the weekend.

As for Chestnut Hill: OK, so I was a bad, bad girl this year. I forgot about this show and I sent in my application late. I got a spot, but not my old spot from year's past. I was quite a way's away from where I used to be, right in the hustle and bustle of it all, and the slow sales showed that many of my usual customers couldn't find me in my new location.

Sales were quite a bit down from last year, but I just need to get on the ball next year and be sure to get my application in on time. The weather was beautiful and warm, the food is always plentiful, affordable, and very tasty. The artisans are always the best quality, and are plentiful, I would guess easily a few hundred of us turn out to line the streets for the day.

It is also wonderful that the show is only on Sunday so I can double book the weekend with a Saturday event someplace else. We will have to see how next year goes, but I am pretty sure a spot more central to the activities will help sales for sure.

A Very Merrie Halloween * Allentown House Tour

A Very Merrie Halloween- 1803 House Emmaus PA- October 1, 2011

The 1803 House in Emmaus was once known for it's craft show. But as all things do, it ran it's course and slowly died. But the house is resurrecting a festival to take it's place and I think with the right plan it could be better than the Memory Days of the past.

This was the first year of the Very Merrie Halloween Festival and it was wonderful to take part in it. First, it didn't try to bite off more than it could chew- there was a half dozen artisans, kids crafts, food, story time, an apple pie contest and of course house tours. For a first year event I thought the attendance was astounding and I think they were happy with the event as a fundraiser.

I hope to continue to take part as the event grows each year, it is only about a mile from where I live, it was a superb day with strong sales, and i loved getting to tour the house and learn so many new things.

Allentown House Tour- October 2, 2011

Last year the house tour tried to add on a craft area to the house tour. This would give people something to do as they waited for the tours to leave, or to do when they were done. I haven't personally taken the tour but I have heard wonderful things about it from those who have. This year the craft portion was, for all practical purposes, rained out. The weather forecast looked as if we were going to be able to get the short time we were to be there in without incident, but a few hours into the event the rains came pouring down and the already sparse attendance washed away with the rains.

With only a half dozen or so vendors this small event could be great, especially as the house tour grows in attendance. However, it is tough on the rainy days. Sales last year or this year certainly weren't strong, but since I live nearby, and I can do another show on Saturday someplace else, we will probably give it one more try next year before deciding the fate of the event in our schedule.


Couch to 5K Week 5- Day 1 Another try


So I think I finally figured out a route that has some hills but no killer ones, is challenging, can be expanded as I run farther, and is on quiet roads. YAY!!!

Today I:

Walked 5 minutes
Ran 5 minutes
Walked 3 minutes
Ran 5 minutes (ok 4 minutes 57 seconds, just as I gave up the time was called to stop)
walked 3 mintes
Ran 4 minutes 40 seconds (I only gave up because as I was trying a new route, I ended up on a killer hill right at the end. Next time I take a right rather than a left)
Walked 5 minutes

So I really consider this day conquered. I did this on about 5 hours of broken crappy sleep. But the day was beautiful, the air was crisp and cool, not humid at all. I felt my lungs expand and not scream about it.

OH- and for the first time after the first five minutes I felt like I could run longer, maybe a minute or two more... that's cool.

So Monday I give this day's routine one more try and if I can do it I will go onto the next day.