Everyone around the world has been indulging in some activity or hobby to keep one’s sanity intact during the pandemic havoc. As it peaked into a lockdown after lockdown in our country, the summer was at its peak and with the shifting challenges of a new house, we kept us busy for a while. The ample space and the green environs prompted me to consider keeping some pets again – a long standing demand from my son. It had been a while since our cutest German Shepard left us heartbroken for years. We never could get ourselves to keep a dog again and I was firm that it could be anything but a dog this time around too.
We started with a few rabbits and then added a turkey and then a guinea fowl and then some hens. The love for animals just would not let us stop but the effort which went into looking after them with almost negligible help led me to curtail the urge any further. Also, the most dreaded fear of a pet owner – that of losing the dear pet became a reality with us losing on a few of the cutest rabbits and our turkey almost losing its eye to a botched-up diagnosis.
A combination of these two fears led me to ask around and try to ascertain who would be able to sooth our nerves when our pets would take ill. The search led me to an remarkable person who we have now known for almost four months and whose expertise and experience is remarkable. Dr M. Madhusudhan Assistant Director, Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Shanthinager Government Hospital is like a messiah for pet owners. The quiet demeanour and the capability are evident in every diagnosis and handling of pets by this amazing doctor.
Our turkey which almost lost its vision in one eye has been treated with care and the utmost diligence by Dr. Madhusudhan, over a period of two months along with an operation which was done sans instruments so as not to damage its eye. And to think that he almost did not become a Veterinary doctor!! He tells me that, “As a dream of every science student I also wanted to be a Human Doctor. Since I could not make it and as I got admission into the Veterinary Sciences, I took this up. After joining into the Veterinary Sciences discipline, I did not have the required passion towards the subject. One of the main reasons for not having the interest in the beginning was the language problem which is common for most of the students coming from the rural background. The second thing was the fact that in the beginning all were preclinical subjects. There was no direct exposure to the Animals or the Farmers or Clients. But once I was exposed to the clinics as well as the Farmers and Clients, slowly I developed a passion towards the subject. In this long journey I have constantly experienced various situations and have worked in different places. Today, I have not only become a clinician but also a resource person in my department where giving training to students from the College, orientation classes for my departmental colleagues and farmers is now part of my daily routine and work sphere.”
Wow!! No wonder that between 0830 hours and 12 noon the hospital comes alive with his cute patients and their worried owners. I have run into a huge billy goat which was baaing away to glory and my little rabbits were terrified of its sound. We have seen confused, sometimes in pain, doggies scamper in and looked after by Dr. Madhusudhan and his committed team with due diligence and lots of care.
I am sure he has had many instances with his clients (as he calls them) or their owners too wherein the animal was treated and relieved of his pain. When I ask him this, he recollects one incident amongst the many. This happened when he was working in the districts and he had a case of a foreign body obstruction in oesophagus of an animal. The owner & the animal had come from a long distance and they had been informed by the local vet that the case would require a surgery. As Dr. Madhusudhan examined the case and passed a stomach tube to assess the level of obstruction he says he tried to ascertain whether he could push the obstruction into the stomach so that it may get digested. As he tried, it luckily got pushed into the stomach and the animal got immense relief for it was struggling to breathe. He says that he can never forget the expression of relief on the face of the animal as he was standing in front of the animal while doing the process of passing the stomach tube and the owner of the animal was also very happy on seeing that the animal had got relief from the pain.
Pets become a part of our lives and their pain and problems heighten the anxiety of the owners because we know that even though they understand everything they still cannot communicate to us and it is our responsibility to make sure we are proactive and always aware of any problems that they may be facing. And the relief of the owner along with the relief to the poor animal is even more understandable under these circumstances.
In his illustrious career of dealing selflessly with animals and helping out farmers with information and knowledge while enlightening and motivating his students to be better veterinary doctors Dr. Madhusudhan has had his share of memorable moments when people remembered him most fondly and with genuine devotion. He tells me that once there was a Chief Ministers programme in his area when he was working in Districts. One of his clients from shepherd community told the Chief Minister that because of the doctor in the area (meaning Dr. Madhusudhan), one of his sheep which was having difficulty in lambing had survived and later he had been able to sell the sheep for a very good price, otherwise he would have sold that suffering sheep to a butcher at a throwaway price. The Chief Minister wanted to know the name of the doctor and asked the shepherd this. However, the shepherd told the Chief Minister that, he always, only calls the doctor by the name: “Doctor garu” (‘Garu’ in local parlance means ‘Sir’) and had never asked his name. Everyone on the dais including Chief Minister burst out laughing. On that particular occasion, the farmer asked for an extra round of medication for the sheep and CM immediately sanctioned it to the entire state. This led his then Director to appreciate him and Dr. Madhusudhan was complimented by everyone that he always left his indelible mark wherever he was posted. Bravo!!
Very understandable and relatable for me too. I have often postponed a visit to the hospital when he is not available. My son always says that whenever he sees him, his anxiety about the illness of our pets just disappears. This trust is built on the assiduousness and carefulness displayed by Dr. Madhusudhan which comes from his immense, valuable experience. No wonder that once he was complimented by a dairy farmer that he seemed to know the language of animals and that the animals and the doctor seemed to be constantly communicating with each other!!!
I could not agree more. My naughtiest black rabbit – our little Tasmanian devil does not even twitch a muscle when Dr. Madhusudhan handles him though he is one frisky and independent minded rabbit otherwise.
The pandemic has had its toll on everyone and to keep the morale of his staff upbeat amid these depressing times has not been easy for the good soul. Dr. Madhusdhan loves listening to the audio books and reading the relevant books of professional interest while he also loves listening to music. Since he is into emergency services which means he cannot postpone his work to next day, he must keep, not only himself enthused but has to inspire his team too, to attend to the hospital duties. Must be extremely tough, for he must look after the welfare of the staff especially when they do not get any proper transportation with restrictions everywhere due the pandemic. However, he is grateful to Lord Almighty that they have never had to close their hospital, even when most of the other institutions had a tough time in running their operations. This indicates how much of a committed doctor he is.
I can concur this myself, first-hand because with our numerous pets of rabbits, birds and turkeys we have had almost an everyday visit to the hospital and we find Dr. Madhusudhan there with his highly motivated team sharp at 0830 hours when the doors of the hospital are thrown open. This kind of steadfastness and dedication is possible only because of his love towards the animals and a huge sense of loyalty to his profession which has taught him to pursue through these tough times with this ardour. Kudos doctor!!!
It is never difficult for anyone to identify and grasp the passion in a person for something. “Relieving the suffering of ailing animals, so that there is always a ray of hope and curve of smile on the face of the farmer or my clients. Appreciating the meritorious students and motivating those who are lagging and need that extra help while giving confidence to my team members is what gives me maximum happiness,” he avers with his ‘masked’ smile. He goes on share that because of the virus threat, everyone is in a new outfit of masks, gloves and are always armed with sanitizers. At times it becomes difficult to recognize the people. He says that he has seen some of the people coming in total PPE kits and looking like UFOs! While some of the others take it to another level by struggling to put masks on the face of their pets too and of course the pets never accept them (The masks)!!!
Hilarious but poor owners would be worried about the dear pets!!!
Dr. Madhusudhan rightly observes that it is the thought which is troubling the people more than the actual problem of the virus itself. And its effects of devastation are something he sees more as he deals with the rural populace of our districts too. He says that the education system has collapsed while the economic downturn is so severe that those effects are more frightening than those of the virus itself. Animal food and fodder are largely affected due to non-availability of transport and the perishable products’ businesses have suffered even more. He has very astutely observed and discerned the side-effects of this pandemic. In his opinion there is no expiry date to COVID19, and this pandemic is not going to end immediately. The only thing people can do is continuing or enjoying whatever they are doing presently while taking all the precautions and improving the immunity of self while leading a disciplined life. Absolutely bang on target Doctor!!!
With no end in sight, I guess that this may be the most pragmatic approach to keep our sanity intact. Each of us must understand and be aware while being conscientious about the need to be responsible and not behave like there’s no tomorrow.
Like many of the teachers and the students who have been forced into online learning as the only option in present times, Dr. Madhususdhan concludes that as he is a resource person for his department and due to the pandemic restrictions in place, there are only virtual trainings. The communication is not duplex communication (it is simplex communication) and he misses the face-to-face interactions with his students and colleagues and feels that he himself is losing out on a lot of learning. I am sure his students and colleagues feel the same too but these trying times have made us resort to the best possible means available. The loss of learning for students would be irreparable though, agreed.
When I see such hardworking and honest individuals, outside my own home ( for my husband was in office every single day of the lockdown and even now is in office each day, till late – there was never a work-from-home for him in his present assignment!!) I am always left euphoric. Even if small drops in the ocean, I feel it is due to these handful of scrupulous and upright individuals that we have been able to push jungle raj off our society, especially in these turbulent times. Dr. Madhususdhan’s dependability and his thoroughness are also a great paradigm model for my young son. Role models like his father and grandfather and individuals like doctor are what are required for this generation. One cannot always be cynical, nor can one blame the system always. To make anything work, we must work yourselves, first! Dr. Madhusudhan has proved that leaving a mark even amidst chaos is possible with care and ample experience.