My first meeting with Dr. Ray in 1999 was memorable. I had just moved to the west side of Michigan with my cat. Felix was a big, old, tough boy whose favorite pastimes were eating and getting attention. Three days after I moved, a Saturday, Felix wasn’t interested in eating. Worried that it may be something worse than the stress of the move, I checked the yellow pages to see if any local vets were open on the weekends.
Fortunately, I saw the ad for Mac’s Landing with Saturday hours. I called and Dr. Ray himself answered the phone. I explained who I was and why I was calling. Dr Ray offered to see me that day after their last appointment. How generous of him to fit me in on a Saturday!
Having moved from the Detroit area, I was a little surprised to pull up to see a house with the back of it converted to a vet clinic. Dr. Ray’s business partner, Dr. Kurt, and Kurt’s wife, Lisa, lived there full time. Walking in, however, I knew it was the right place for me to bring Felix. I loved how the doctors used their first names. It felt cozy. I was immediately at ease.
The moment Dr. Ray started examining Felix; I knew he was someone special. He talked to Felix in a special pet voice he would eventually use with all my animals. He squatted down, got right next to Felix’s face, and talked some more while he examined his teeth. He stood up.
“I smell infection,” he said. Totally taken aback, I had never had a vet tell me he could smell infection. I’m sure my face showed my thoughts. He said, “That may sound strange, but we joke around here about my nose, and I’m telling you I think he has some kind of infection.” Probing more, he found an abscess. He told me Felix needed to have a tooth pulled. He gave an injection of antibiotics and some medication for me to give Felix, and we set up a time the following week for him to have surgery. When I got home, Felix immediately started to eat again!
On my initial phone call, I explained I did not have a lot of money since I had just moved, and I know the price for Felix’s care was reduced. Felix and I had survived a lot together. Felix was FIV positive and probably nearing the end of his life. But, he was scrappy. He tore up Dr. Kurt’s arms by scratching him before getting anesthesia. After surgery, Dr. Ray called me to tell me he pulled 2 teeth, and Felix would need to stay overnight. I felt comfortable knowing people lived there and would be with him during the night.
Felix made a miraculous recovery. He went on to live another two years. If not for Dr. Ray’s talents, I know I wouldn’t have had those two additional years with Felix. Sadly, liver cancer was the end for Felix and Dr. Ray euthanized him for me. I know Dr. Ray is now up in heaven with Felix, taking loving care of him and all the animals, as he always did during his lifetime. He will always hold a special place in my heart and is someone I’ll never forget.