01 December 2009

Bless the Web!

I am a big believer in Synchronicity. I've simply lived through too many what an amazing coincidence moments to not start thinking that the universe is leaving a very clever bread crumb trail for me to follow and that I should be grateful.

The latest evidence that there is a massive conspiracy of goodness? Gabi, Brian and Dr. Alex.

My story begins (as so many do) with Brujo.

A few weeks ago I looked up to realize I was tardy in getting B a visit with his beloved vet. So I called the clinic, only to be told that Dr. Alexandra Barrientos no longer worked there and that no further information was available.


We adore Dr. Alex. In addition to being incredibly knowledgeable, intuitive, skillful and kind, she is one of the few veterinarians I have ever met who treats me like a valuable and intelligent partner capable of fully participating in the maintenance of my dog's health. She listens well and is happy to work with me, instead of insisting I let her do whatever she wants behind closed doors and then use my opposable thumbs to write the check.

And she loves our dog! She thinks he is cute and accommodates his needs. Instead of calling in a technician to wrastle him to the ground, Dr. Alex is happy to let Brujo stand on the table with his front paws on my shoulders because it keeps him calmer during the exam. She thinks about his total well-being, not just his lab results.

So, despite the 2 hours we had to travel each way, B and I always made at least one pilgrimage a year to see her, and returned home happy and reassured.

But suddenly she was gone.

I didn't know what to do. I took a few days to let the shock settle in. When I could no longer delay making an appointment, I decided to try one more time to find her. Short of hiring a private investigator, I figured my best bet was the Internet. So, I googled Dr. Alex.

I found one dead link to her bio on the old clinic's website, a few mentions of a different Alexandra Barrientos on LinkedIn, and this post on the Dog Dayz Playhouse and Retreat website about a dog in Indiana who had been a long-distance patient of Dr. Alex, dated February 2009. Not very encouraging.

Feeling desperate and having only this outside chance, I sent Dog Dayz an email.


I happened upon the good news about your dog Gabi marking 3 years cancer-free while googling for Dr. Alexandra Barrientos of Smith Ridge Veterinary Center. That's wonderful! My dog, Brujo, is a patient of Dr. Alex's too and we adore her and feel very confident in her treatments and advice. Sadly, I just called to make an important appointment with her only to find that she recently left SRVC. They were unable to tell me how to reach her, and I am wondering if you know where she may be working now or have any contact info.

Congrats on Gabi's continued good health.


Three days later, Brian wrote me back. Unfortunately, he'd had to put Gabi down after three and a half years of fighting her cancer. He hadn't had contact with Dr. Alex since. But he did happen to have an email addy for her, as she had worked so closely with him and Gabi through their ordeal. He didn't know if it was a personal email or one from the clinic, but he tried it. And she answered.

She'd left the clinic to start her own practice, which, coincidentally, was to have its Grand Opening four days after I got Brian's email. He gave me Dr. Alex's contact info and I immediately made Brujo's appointment. Within a week of sending that blind email to a total stranger halfway across the country, Brujo had seen his vet.

It was a web-based miracle.

So, the next time you (or I) think that your little blog posts or other bits of Web ephemera "don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world", think again. You may never know whose life you touch nor when, but, given how close together the Interweb has brought us, it's bound to help somebody sometime.

In that spirit, here is the contact info for Dr. Alex's new clinic. Just leave us at least one appointment slot a year, ok?

Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital
8 Nancy Court
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

ETA: I just found out that Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital is hosting an Open House this Sat, December 5, 2009. Lot's of fun stuff going on. B and I won't be able to attend, but say hi to Dr. Alex for us if you go.