Animal Clinic of Kalispell - October 2020




How the Pandemic Has Increased the Human-Animal Bond

Despite the quarantine and reminders that we should keep a safe distance from one another, I’m still not used to not touching people. Shaking people’s hands is part of my nature. Just the other day, I went out to meet someone for the very first time and, without thinking, reached my hand out to shake his. I only remembered we’re not “supposed to” when he didn’t take my hand. I feel like the guidelines that we’ve had to follow in our lives these past few months have everyone on edge and stressed. We crave being physically close to others, but people can no longer go to a restaurant and have a casual chat with their waiter, head out for a fun Friday evening, or even go to a park with their kids and talk with other parents there. This whole experience makes me realize and appreciate that there’s no such thing as social distancing with a golden retriever. That’s something I’ve noticed a lot in these times: Being home much more often has truly solidified that we need our pets. They play a significant role in our daily lives, especially these days when we can’t interact with people outside of our “safety bubbles” at home. Individuals who have been living on their own since COVID-19 hit have been particularly affected. They have no one to hold their hand or smile at them. That really reinforces for me how precious my time with my pets really is. It’s something I’ve seen time and time again both outside and inside the office. In the past six months, we’ve had record-breaking business because people are spending more time with their pets. Pet owners are recognizing that their pets need attention in a lot of ways, including with their health. Maybe their dog hasn’t had a recent checkup or their cat is due for a dental cleaning. Pet owners are also more attuned. They’ve been able

to notice when something is wrong and are concerned about their pets’ well-being because they value these companions and don’t want anything to be wrong with them. Not only are people paying more attention to their pets, but the number of pet adoptions has also skyrocketed these past months too. Many people who live alone or families who always considered adopting but never made the leap have finally done so. Now more than ever, people want to share their lives with someone, and because we can’t share those moments with other people, our pets have become an integral connection. My wife has been really wanting to bring another pet home. She’s fallen into a habit of looking for cats. I’ve had to remind her on several occasions that we have a perfect cat at home and not to rock the apple cart. Though, I will admit, most of the cats she’s looked up are really cute. What I find most interesting about this experience is the perspective shift many have had in how they think about preventive medicine and the importance of taking care of what they have. This is a lot different than it used to be. In my career, I’ve seen the concept of the human-animal bond change. Though the bond between pets and their owners has always been present, no one was talking about the psychological effect it had on people 25–30 years ago. It eventually became a more popular topic, and we began to see how this bond has changed our culture and that spending time with our pets is really valuable for us. As we all continue living through this pandemic, I’m thankful for the pets in my life and that they’re always there for me, even if they aren’t aware of their positive influence. I’ll write it again: Thank God our pets don’t know anything about social distancing.

– Dr. Jevon Clark



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My name is Tuxedo, and while I may technically be a Chihuahua mix, I’m really an ancient Tibetan miniature wolf. It’s in my paperwork! I’ve been living with a lot of other pets and my mom, Dana Klamecki, for a long time, even before we moved to Montana. Before I joined Mom and Dad’s pack, I was roaming the streets with my first pack in California. There were 25 of us walking around, looking for food and somewhere to sleep. At the time, I had never interacted with a human before, so it was pretty scary when a group of people gathered all of us up and took us to an animal rescue where I met Mom and her human son for the first time.

AND GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP How to Stop Procrastinating at Bedtime Though there are very real medical conditions, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, that deprive people of sleep, the reason most of us probably don’t get enough sleep is simply because we put off our bedtime. Instead of getting into bed, we opt to check off another item on our to-do list or watch another episode of our favorite show. This is sometimes called “bedtime procrastination.” We all know a good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so how can we stop putting it off?

It was really confusing at first, especially when they brought me home. I was away from my pack, but I wasn’t alone because there were two other dogs living with them when I came home: a pug named Packer and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Gucci. All of us got along well, and I was never lonely, even if Packer and Gucci were older than me. Everyone was so nice to me and gave me so much attention, pets, and food that I knew I was in a wonderful place. I love them all so much, but Dad is my favorite. When it came time for us to move seven years ago, that was also very confusing. Suddenly everything was packed up and we came out here. Even though it was a little scary, we were all pretty excited. But then, a week after we moved here, Gucci started to get sick. She’d always had some heart problems, and even though she was

taking her medicine, she wasn’t doing so well. Mom was really worried about her, so she started to look around for a local vet and found the Animal Clinic of Kalispell! As soon as Mom told Dr. Jevon Clark about Gucci, the doctor knew what to do and sprang into action. It was incredible! One day later, Gucci was doing even better than before, and Mom, Dad, and our whole family knew we could rely on Dr. Clark and his clinic to take care of us. He has done a lot for us, even as we’ve added new members to the family.

A good place to start is by keeping track of your day. The human mind isn’t meant to internalize checklists and task reminders, so use your phone or journal as a scheduling assistant. However you decide to keep track, make sure to give yourself a set amount of time to accomplish your tasks, like letting yourself watch TV for just one hour or blocking out three hours to help your kids with their homework. It might even help to set alarms on your watch or on your phone to let you know when your time is up on any of your activities. Another big part is creating an environment that is conducive to a good night’s sleep, and that starts with turning your electronic devices off well before you get under the covers. Smartphone screens, computer screens, and even some energy- efficient light bulbs emit blue light, which reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to bed. Instead of looking at your phone, try reading a book before going to sleep. If your screens prove to be too big of a draw for you when bedtime comes, it might be a good idea to move your devices to another room so they’re out of sight and out of mind.

Two years after we moved here, Packer passed away, and Gucci passed away a year later. We were all really sad and

the house felt emptier without them, so my humans decided it was time to adopt another pet, and soon we had

Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t start getting better sleep right away. Setting up good bedtime routines takes time. But if you stick with it — and maybe have someone else in your house hold you accountable to your commitments — you’ll start to get better sleep and have more energy to take on the day in no time.

Lucy, a Labrador. Dr. Clark helped Lucy out a lot, too. A while ago, she had to get two surgeries on her back

The Cavaliers are Versace, Giorgio, Chanel.




OUR REMODEL IS FINALLY COMPLETE! We’re Excited to Welcome You to Our Fresh-Looking Clinic


At the end of August, we celebrated the opening of our newly remodeled office! We’ve had a few months to enjoy it, and we are still so excited to have our building back and looking better than ever.


Lucy the Lab with bionic back legs — thanks to Dr. Clark

legs because she had joint problems. Now, she runs so fast it’s hard to keep

This change has been a long time coming. I’ve been here for 12 years, and the practice is 40, and this has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve always liked our space and our location, but the inside never looked how I wanted it. Now, I am so proud to have an office that both looks amazing and accurately reflects what we do.

up sometimes! My mom likes to say, “She’s 9 years old and you would never

guess she had anything done.”

Because Mom loved Cavaliers like Gucci so much, she then decided to adopt a puppy from a breeder she knew. When she left for the day, I was wondering what this new pack member would be like. You can imagine my surprise, and Dad’s chagrin, when she came home not with just one puppy but three . In Gucci’s honor, Mom named them after luxury brands: Versace, Giorgio, and Chanel. Since I’m the pack leader, it was my duty to teach them the ropes at home. Even though it was a lot of work, I was happy to see how big our family had grown. Dr. Clark has kept me — like all my fur siblings before me — up to date with all my health needs. But my favorite person at the clinic is Dr. China Corum. Versace, Giorgio, and Chanel were some of Dr. Corum’s first patients, and it was through them that she became really close friends with Mom. They both really love pets, and the two of them ride horses together sometimes, too. Dr. Corum even has a coonhound named Johnnie, and we’re great friends. I’m also friends with her human daughter who loves to carry me around. I don’t mind — she’s always very gentle and gives me plenty of pets.

I used to dream about having a “nice, quiet, professional office” with nice furnishings, like my dentist, but vet clinics get DIRTY and are subject to destruction. It’s hard to have nice furniture or even a carpet

with animals coming and going. Veterinary clinics need to have a little more of an industrial aspect, and now, I have an office that’s perfect with high-end floors and furnishings that will hold up to abuse for a long time. When construction finished in early August, I wasn’t the only one who was thrilled to have it over and done with. Throughout the process, we lost two of our exam rooms, we had no doors for about a week (talk about chaos), and there was evidence of construction everywhere you looked. In the midst of the pandemic, it was a lot of stress for all of us, our clients, and their pets. But now, things are back to normal, and we have a fantastic office everyone is in love with. Getting our building back allowed everyone to take a deep breath and relax for maybe the first time in a while. These past three months working in our newly remodeled office has truly been bliss, and I’m hoping that our office continues creating a fantastic experience for all of us. And I’m glad I never have to do it again in my career!

One day, Dr. Corum, Johnnie, and her daughter came over to visit. The humans all sat down for dinner and that was when Dad convinced Dr. Corum to change my paperwork. Mom and Dad did a DNA test on me years ago and found out that I had a lot of different dog breeds as ancestors. Mom later said that Dr. Corum had to go through all these records to get it changed, and I’m happy she did. I am proud of my Chihuahua heritage but also very proud to now bear the breed of ancient Tibetan miniature wolf. See! I told you I have the paperwork to prove it! I’ve had a pack all my life. I grew up roaming the streets with one, but nothing beats the pack I have now. I love my family, our friends, and our doctors forever and always!

– Dr. Jevon Clark







Staying 6 Feet Apart? Not for Our Pets


How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep


Meet Tuxedo, the Ancient Tibetan Miniature Wolf Our Remodel Is Finally Complete!



Could a Llama Save Us From COVID-19?


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people have turned to their four-legged friends for help and comfort. In Nebraska, an 11-year-old girl and her pony, Peanut, cheered up nursing home residents through their windows this spring, while in Pennsylvania, an award-

helping scientists battle viruses for years. That’s because, along with her fuzzy brown coat and long eyelashes, Winter has a unique virus treatment hidden in her blood: llama antibodies. According to The New York Times, Winter has participated in past studies for both SARS and MERS — diseases also caused by coronaviruses — and her antibodies fought off both infections. Llamas have also helped out with research for HIV and influenza. It turns out llama antibodies are smaller than the ones found in humans, which makes it easier for them to wiggle into the tiny pockets in virus-carrying proteins. This superpower gives them the ability to “neutralize” viruses, including COVID-19. Studies are now showing that using these llama antibodies in humans could potentially keep coronaviruses from entering human cells as well. At least two separate llama studies have shown the effectiveness of these antibodies on coronavirus infections. This summer, a team of researchers from the U.K. discovered that llama antibodies “have the potential to be used in a similar way to convalescent serum, effectively stopping progression of the virus in patients who are ill” when given to those patients in a transfusion. They also suggested that a cocktail of llama and human antibodies could be even more successful at temporarily blocking the virus. Studies of the latter are in the works, and scientists around the world have their fingers crossed for success. In the meantime, Winter will continue peacefully grazing in Belgium, unaware that she just might play a role in saving the world.

winning golden retriever named Jackson starred in videos that kept thousands laughing. Pets like these have given the national mood a boost, but another four-legged critter deserves just as much recognition. Her name is Winter,

and she’s the 4-year-old llama whose antibodies could help us beat the coronavirus.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Llamas? Really? What will these scientists think up next?” But in fact, Winter wasn’t an outside-of- the-box discovery during the COVID-19 vaccine scramble. Llamas have been



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