Keep Records Online

Keep Records Online

Use Petly to safely store your pet's health records online.

Enter Pharmacy

Enter Pharmacy

CVAHKY provides discounted medicines for our clients' health needs.

Apply For Your CareCard

Apply For Your CareCard

CVAHKY offers a credit card through CareCard. Apply Now.

Welcome To The Blog


Dr. Keaton Smith is a graduate of the University Of Kentucky College Of Agriculture with a doctorate ...

Search Blogs

Visit Our Store

Visit Pharmacy Banner Natural





Apply For CareCredit


Click here for information on obtaining credit for your pet's care.



Dr. Smith's Journal

I chat about veterinary medicine and the life of a country animal doctor.

Unforgettable Patients: Phoebe Carter

Unforgettable Patients: Phoebe Carter

I want to introduce you to one of the best patients I ever had as a veterinarian at Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital.  This is Phoebe Carter, owned, loved, and cared for by a great lady, Sandy Carter.  Phoebe was born December 1, 1997. Let’s put that  date in perspective. I was 27 years old when Phoebe was born. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States and the twin towers were still standing. When Phoebe passed away last month, she was 20 years and 7 months old.

I did not own CVAH when Phoebe first came as a young puppy to get her vaccinations. She had been seen by another local veterinarian for a few years, but in November of 2001, she came to board with us over a weekend while Sandy was away for a trip. She stayed with us from that point on and I’m glad she did.

Phoebe was so full of life and character. She loved to be petted. These are the Sandy’s words to describe her best friend, “She loved car rides and she would sing for ham. Everyday she would get me up when she wanted a snack or just wanted me in her space. She always had to be touching you. My little girl would lay at my feet and I would stroke her hair.  She licked my hand four times before we came in for the last time.

Phoebe was a Christian dog …yup you read right. She would sing with me and when I would pray she would sit right beside me and then, give kisses!” In 2003, Phoebe developed some disc problems in her back. For the next couple of years, everything she did she had to be careful as to not further her injury. We treated her with a few injections and anti-inflammatories and she stabilized. In 2004, she became deathly ill from an acquired pyometra. This serious infection of the reproductive tract nearly proved fatal as we took her to emergency surgery to remove the infection.

Her tenacity was tested and she proved to be a strong-spirited dog. With a lot of prayers, and nearly a week in the hospital, she pulled through and did fine. In 2007 her sneaky behavior almost got the best of her when she ate a (gasp) chicken bone! The splintery effects left her with a serious gastritis and intestinal disease. She spent several days with me getting over her blockages and ulcerative disease.

unforgettable patients phoebe carter 2However, once again, she came through it with flying colors. Again in 2007, she faced the biggest struggle of her life. Overnight she developed an ulcerative tumor of the right mammary chain. It turned out to be Mammary Carcinoma and it was aggressive. Cancer isn’t fun for any species, and Sandy and I worried ourselves sick that we wouldn’t be able to remove it all, or that it had already spread.

The decision to perform a radical, bilateral mastectomy was made with a lot of prayer and faith. I am glad to report that within two weeks after the surgery, Phoebe was completely healed and never looked back. A true cancer survivor.

This wonderful canine taught me a lot of great lessons about life and about medicine.

One of the most important is that these are not just dogs, these are our our family.

  1. Family is worth fighting for and worth not giving up on in the face of a crisis.
  2. Next, not all bad cancers win!
  3. And lastly, prayer works!

I’ll never forget you, Phoebe! Sandy, thank you for sharing her with me, and with all of us! God Bless.


A Friday Poem: Sluggard
Reflections: Boy Scout Camp. 2015

Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 19 August 2019
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Latest Blogs

17 November 2017
Veterinary Medicine
The Valley Vet

Veterinary Medicine provides vast opportunities to see many strange and wonderful things. This profession also provides daily possibilities to make you look like an idiot. These stories give rise to the romantic ideas and dreams that everyone believes life as a modern veterinarian must be. I can’t deny that I have seen my fair share of crazy over the last three decades, but it’s the routine stuff that will drive you mad.

17 November 2017
Pet Care
The Valley Vet

Clients ask me all the time, “If this were your pet, what would you do?”

I appreciate your question, and yes I hear what you are asking of me. However, it is an unfair question and I sweat a little each time someone asks me. I do not want you to be offended in any way by my saying it makes me nervous because I truly am flattered that you have that much confidence in me to ask.

02 November 2017
Pet Care

Pet Obesity is a problem. We know this.  The question is, why are our animals so stricken with obesity? I mean dogs can’t open the fridge and make a sandwich nor remove the top of the soda-pop can. If one ever shows that talent, I'm buying him!!!

02 November 2017
Family Life

I heard the first crack followed by a loud pop. My hands tightened around the tree branches hoping that would save me in the event that things decided to go south, literally. I clung to the snow-covered limb not moving a muscle. So far things seemed to be holding. I could see the ground some 60 to 70 foot below me all covered in snowy powder from the night before, and I knew it would be of little cushion if I fell out of this tree.

02 November 2017
Pet Care

So, yesterday I was looking at a dog in my exam room when I made a horrible statement that got me in a lot of trouble. After I said it, I got “The Look.”

31 October 2017
Pet Care

I find it very interesting when reading The Bible that there are two famous parables related to the same subject: that of something that was of value that was lost and then found.

10 July 2017
Tough Cases

Every day at Cumberland Valley we are asked to deal with dermal tumors of some nature. Of course, as a rule of thumb, the sooner you identify and remove a potentially life-threatening lesion or mass, the better the outcome would be expected. Still, sometimes factors get in the way of early identification and we are presented with much larger growths that prove hard to remove.

05 April 2017
Tough Cases

I believe it was Lord Byron that penned the phrase, “Truth is stranger than fiction,” which of course I have been saying wrong all along as, “Life is stranger than fiction.” Whichever saying you hold nearest and dearest to your heart, I would enjoy reinforcing your philosophy with one of the craziest veterinary stories I have had the pleasure and awe in dealing with lately. This is the story of Cookie, or as we like to call him, Zombie Dog.


Keep In Contact

Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital

110 Lagoon Trail
London, Kentucky, 40744
P: (606) 864-9120
Email Us

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Thursday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Friday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Saturday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Subscribe To Blog