Clinic Stories

The Blizzard of the Century

A predicted snow storm on January 6, 1996 lived up to its hype. By the next morning a record 30 or more inches had fallen in Northern New Jersey and New York. The “Blizzard of the Century” resulted in a two day state of emergency; only emergency personnel were allowed on the roads. At North Jersey Animal Hospital were over a dozen hospitalized animals and boarders that needed care. Several were on fluids and one was diabetic. Hoping the street would be plowed I hand shoveled the driveway at home. By 8 AM my neighborhood was untouched so I set out on foot.

Walking in snow to the top of my legs, the first vehicle I saw was a police car stuck in the middle of Valley Road extension, a four lane road. One policeman was behind the wheel while his partner tried in vain to push the car. A few hundred yards later a county plow on the way to free the cruiser passed. Suddenly walking got easier.

Before long the police car drove by, followed by the plow. The plow driver stopped and shouted out of his window “What in the f—k are you doing out here?” I explained my situation and he shouted back “Hop in. I’ll drive you there.” He was on his third straight shift with instructions to keep going. Most plows were sitting unused because drivers couldn’t make it in to work. He plowed our lot enough to get to the front door and park a few cars and I was in business. The phone rang constantly – “Is my dog being taken care of?”, “I’m stuck in Chicago and can’t pick up my cat”, “My dog is sick and I can’t find anyone who is open.”

For two hours I did treatments, walked dogs, cleared snow and answered the phone. By that time my wife arrived and clients started making their way in. We saw a dozen outpatient animals, all sick, and did four surgeries. We did not leave the office until 8:30 PM. Driving home we passed the King George Diner with the lot full of snow plows. Thanks in part to a helpful plow driver, what should have been a quiet day ran late.

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