Hurricane Sandy: The Animal Medical Center Story

October 31, 2012

The view down E. 62nd Street on Monday night

By Sunday night, the Governor and Mayor had shut down all mass transit in NYC, our schools were already closed for Monday, and by Monday morning even the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading for the day. New York City was silent; everyone was indoors and the wind and rain of Hurricane Sandy had not yet arrived. Despite all the closures, The Animal Medical Center was open for business as usual.

As far back as anyone can remember, The AMC has never closed. We mean it when we say we are open 24/7. When a disaster is anticipated, the staff work together to determine how best to cover shifts and maintain adequate nursing and medical expertise for our patients. During blackouts, natural disasters, and human disasters, our staff comes to work prepared. Many employees came to work on Sunday with food, clothes, and bedding, planning to stay for the duration of the storm. The AMC stores inflatable beds for those employees sleeping at the hospital. The beds got blown up Monday afternoon since the electricity fluttered on and off during the day. Lucky for us, our favorite deli and neighborhood diner were still open.

It was a good thing we were open for business, as really sick animals needed care. Here is a sampling of the Sunday night admission list: a stray cat and a stray dog were brought to The AMC since the shelters were closed for the night; Harley, a cat, came in with complications of diabetes; Lexi, a bulldog, was admitted for serious vomiting; Gus the cat developed heart failure; Monkey, a Pekingese, required an emergency MRI and back surgery; a golden retriever named Aristotle became unconscious and he too required an emergency MRI ; Rysiu was admitted for feline bladder stones resulting in a urinary blockage. On Monday, he had an urgent surgery to remove the stones.

Visits to our emergency room were steady on Monday morning, but most scheduled patients cancelled their visits. The ER continued accepting patients overnight, even though there was at one point a foot of water in the first floor lobby. Our power went out from about 10 p.m. until 1 a.m., during which time our generator kicked in to run essential electrical equipment. Once the high tide began to recede, the lobby was squeegeed dry and, except for internet service that was slow to be restored, we were back to normal. The banners on the north side of the building are in tatters and our awning has a rip, but these are cosmetic only and we feel very fortunate to only be slightly damp around the edges.

New York pets were fortunate, too. For the second hurricane in a row, pets were allowed in evacuation shelters and in his Monday press conference, Mayor Bloomberg announced 73 pets had already been accepted into shelters.

Find more information about Hurricane Sandy and pets here.

For help in planning for the next disaster, click here.

Has The New York Times Gone to the Dogs

October 26, 2011

At first I wasn’t sure, but I noticed a suspicious increase in dog-related articles in the October 8, Op-Ed section of The New York Times. That Sunday alone, the Gray Lady published at least three fascinating articles prominently featuring dogs.

The first was an article on the replacement of German Shepherds by Belgian Malinois as the West Rhine-Westphalia police dog.

Another article written by a woman with memory loss from a traumatic brain injury recounted her inability to recognize her friends and how she learned to rely on her dog to recognize and greet people she once knew.

And yet a third article described a behavioral study of the interaction between dogs and sheep.

Two more dog articles last week!
I was sure the increase in dog related articles was a phenomenon when dogs were featured in the Weekend Arts section with a book review of New York Times Executive Editor, Jill Abramson’s The Puppy Diaries and in the Metropolitan section with an article on two Labrador Retrievers, Bonnie and Clyde, who reside in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s townhouse, but belong to his girlfriend, Diana Taylor.

This weekend the cover of the Book section has a color illustration of Rin Tin Tin and a review of his new biography.

Why is it always about dogs?
It really isn’t all about dogs, just mostly about dogs. Thank goodness for Gail Collins of the Op-Ed section who wrote one of the Times’ articles about cats last month.

However, both recent Times’ articles on cats are actually about the same cat, Willow: lost in Colorado, found in New York City.

Why shouldn’t the New York Times write about dogs, they are the most popular pet after all?
Not true. Current data says the 72 million pet cats outnumber the 62 million pet dogs living in the United States today! I suspect since cats have been branded as independent and aloof, nobody thinks they deserve more than one mention per month on the Op-Ed page, making the species journalistically underserved.

Did you know cats are medically under served too? Check “Fur the Love of Pets” on Monday and find out why.


This may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog on

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

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