Gregory looking for a home to climb

General Hospital celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year! I must admit I was a casual fan of the daytime soap opera back in high school. I’m sure it never occurred to my teenaged self there were far more cat fights than surgeries. But that’s how they do things in Port Charles.

Gregory, pet of the month
Gregory, chief candy-striper at the Beaches Animal Hospital.

Here in the Beach, our hospital turns a fabulous 40 this year but it doesn’t owe its longevity to steamy love scenes or Dynasty-style hissy fits in the OR. Maybe the doctors might get the odd paw to the jaw when taking an impatient patient’s temperature. And maybe there’s a fair share of petting, panting and purring going on behind the scenes but that’s all part of the job. The truth is the patients are animals … literally.

Beaches Animal Hospital (BAH) was the first veterinary clinic to set paw in our community back in 1973, loyally serving our beloved pets ever since!

I thought I’d google what one is supposed to give their partner after 40 years of blissful marriage. Traditionally, it’s a ruby. Described as possessing an eternal inner flame, this gem is the perfect symbol for a passion that has withstood the test of time.

One doesn’t necessarily have to buy a ruby to mark this special occasion. Anything red will do. Fuchsia is probably close enough. What says ‘Happy 40th Anniversary’ better than a bright fuchsia-coloured ribbon tied in a neat little bow and affixed to the accommodating tail of a charmingly adventurous and eternally grateful cat?!

Gregory is a one- to two-year-old domestic gray medium-haired cat of no fixed address. He isn’t a paying client of BAH, but he’s found a way to work off his medical bill. Given his sunny disposition and expert comfort cuddling skills, he’s been volunteering as the hospital’s Chief Resident Candy-Striper. He’s really good at his job. Ask anyone who’s spent time in the waiting room fretting over their fur baby. He’s got the cure for the waiting room blues!

Gregory made his debut appearance at BAH this past September. Some nice ladies spotted the stray while they were window shopping in Leslieville. Upon further observation, they discovered he was suffering from an open wound on his face. Without hesitation, they bundled him up and rushed him to the place where a passion for animals burns red as a ruby.

After running some biopsies, Gregory’s pro bono medical team deduced the wound to be the result of a hyper-sensitivity to an unknown allergen. Some irritant must have lodged under his skin and he wasn’t going to stop scratching at his booboo until they got rid of it or he had no more face to scratch. Surgery to remove the offending area was necessary. He didn’t know it but a neuter was also on the agenda.

Despite some missing facial fur taking it’s time to grow back (and of course the missing non-returnable parts), newly named Gregory emerged as giddy as a newborn kitty and mercifully itch-free!

Now that he was on the mend, it was time for his saviours to promote their latest rescue case for adoption. Then again, if this was a soap opera, we would be expecting some trouble right about now. Nothing ever goes this smoothly in daytime drama. The world absolutely must come crashing down at any moment for entertainment sake. In Gregory’s case, the world turned out to be a can of dog food.

As mentioned, Gregory was feeling as giddy as a kitty post-surgery. A giddy kitty thrives on mischief. Gregory’s favourite form of mischief is mountain-climbing. Since he’s not living in the Rockies, he typically uses the shelves stacked with pet food in the lobby as his range. He was either blindly reaching for a good grip to hoist him to the next peak or all that climbing was making him hungry. Whatever the case, his paw came into contact with a can of dog food on the shelf immediately above him.

Freeze-frame that moment and you’ve got the cliff-hanger scene. Cliff-hanger scenes almost always end badly. Gregory’s ended with getting smacked in the mouth by a gravity-abiding can of weight-reduction dog food which resulted in a cracked tooth and another trip to the operating room.

If this was a soap opera, the lead actor would not only survive but be completely recovered in time for the next episode. Our resilient young mountain climber needed a little more recovery time but rest assured he’s back being the giddy kitty his fans at the hospital know and love. Admittedly, I’ve become a fan too. It only stands to reason. To be that fearlessly adventurous, he’s got to be part beagle.

The girls at the hospital weren’t thinking about the perfect gift for their 40th anniversary when they tied the fuchsia-coloured ribbon on Gregory’s tail the same day they moved the dog food cans to the bottom shelf. They were just playing with him. It may be a real hospital where real surgeries happen almost every day, but like any good soap opera worth its weight in rubies, there’s always time for love.

Gregory is a one- to two-year-old domestic gray-haired cat awaiting your passionate (and permanent!) embrace while candy-striping at Beaches Animal Hospital, 2304 Queen Street East, Toronto, 416-690-4040, www.beachesanimalhospital.com. Happy 40th Anniversary, BAH!


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