During our vacation as I wandered into the vast, elaborate dog park nestled between the giant, towering red rock in Sedona, Ariz., sans a canine companion, I wondered if I was the only veterinarian who ends up doing something animal-oriented on vacation. My husband, Bart, and I looked a bit strange wandering into the park without our own dogs. We tend to gravitate to dog parks when we travel just to compare other parks to Salem’s and get ideas for what could be done to improve Salem’s dog park. As we wandered in, a nice couple with four whippets asked us why we did not have dogs. Going to a dog park without a dog is like going to a playground without a child — it’s very sketchy. After we explained our quest, we started chatting and learned that the woman had been a veterinary technician. Soon, I found myself standing in the sun in a stand of Arizona juniper and cedar trees with towering red rock on all sides talking shop while dogs of a dozen different breeds ran all about us.
The first Tuesday I was home, I talked to a fellow Rotarian who had just returned from an African safari in Tanzania. This trip is definitely on my bucket list, as I am a big Jane Goodall fan. Goodall’s extensive research on chimpanzees took place in Tanzania at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve on Lake Tanganyika. Her two-book autobiography, “Africa in my Blood” and “Beyond Innocence,” is a series of letters written between her and her family, colleagues and husband over the years. It spans from the time she was about 7 years old through her years in Africa. These books, tattered and worn, preside in premium bookshelf space where I can reach for them and soak up a little bit of Goodall’s Africa whenever necessary. Goodall spoke at my veterinary school graduation. To most involved in wildlife preservation and animal behavior, she’s kind of a rock star.