My Christmas-motif salad wreath emoji

My staff said they needed to speak with me this afternoon. Well, of course. Had we not just enjoyed a dinner and dancing together on Saturday to celebrate the holidays? I met their loved ones. We shared food together. There were contests and prizes and drinkable holiday cheer and overall it was quite the festive occasion. With a day in between to recuperate, everyone was at their sparkly best back at work.

Monday started with a raccoon from the zoo. Her swollen cheek was returning to normal and no abscessed teeth were found, so we shipped her back to the zoo. We tackled two broken legs, a cat and a Great Pyrenees puppy. Both are expected to heal. We saw several birds. One, an enormous 30-year-old Blue and Gold Macaw parrot, screams the entire time we work with him. Oh, sorry, you heard him, too? My ears are still ringing. He was having his annual exam and a nail trim, for pete’s sake. We tended to an elderly rabbit whose x-rays revealed severe arthritis in the lower spine. We prescribed both an anti-inflammatory medication and one for nerve pain (neuropathy). We enjoyed a visit (with vaccinations) with a young Shepherd puppy that just found its Forever Home.

Good news arrived on another front : A 7 pound little stray with breast nodules and rotting teeth had been adopted. For Christmas this little dog not only found a Good Samaritan (shout out to the Stouts!) to address all of her considerable medical needs, but today the biopsy of the breast masses showed that they were benign! With no evidence of a deeper cancer, she can look forward to many healthy years to come. (Side note: I’ve said it before, but can’t help point it out again: Older unspayed female dogs run a 25-percent risk of developing breast cancer, usually malignant. Have your puppy “fixed” while she’s young to prevent this. It really is that simple.).

I fielded questions about pet snakes, lice on rats, a pet pig, and found time to do a little surgery. So when my staff flagged me down I slowed down to give them my attention. “DrMac, when you send an emoji on your phone, do you think you’re sending a Christmas wreath?” First I had to redirect my mind, away from veterinary medicine and onto “emoji”.

Just in case you’ve spent the last 20 years stuck in a Jumanji game, an “emoji” is a cute little symbol meant to convey a person’s thoughts or facial expressions or a symbol. Emoji’s can be inserted into a conversation during text messaging on the ubiquitous cell phones. You needn’t say you are happy, you can simply send a smiley face. Same with “sad”, “embarrassed” and a host of other feelings. These little cell phone symbols also pop up unexpectedly, as your “smartphone” detects the theme in a sentence and suggests a complementary emoji. A turkey showed up around Thanksgiving on my phone, and with the advent of the Christmas holidays, I noted a tree symbol pop up, trimmed in holiday ball ornaments, and another of a Christmas wreath.

So I began to include a Christmas tree in my text messages, whether or not it was pertinent to the conversation. I was being festive. As soon as I saw the wreath, I began to send that out, also, alternating one with the other.

On Monday afternoon this non-medicine related question came out of left field and I took a moment to adjust. Yes, I admitted, I’ve been sending out text messages with Christmas wreaths. I was puzzled.

Three of them began to howl, collapsing into themselves with laughter, barely able to sputter out “You’ve been sending salads!”


The sad truth came out. Those tiny little colored balls decorating my “wreath” were cucumber and tomato slices. Worse, when the emoji was sent from my I-phone to an android phone, it transformed into a bowl of….salad. Not remotely wreath-like. Well, you can’t let little things like this get you down. I have now sent out a text to my nearest and dearest saying “Greetings! I’m sending you my exclusive Christmas-motif salad wreath emoji, which I mistakenly thought was the accompaniment to the tree….” So here’s to happy holidays to all and if I send you a salad wreath just enjoy it, ok? Related image Image result for salad emoji

Christine McFadden holds a license to practice veterinary medicine and surgery. She has cared for the family pets of Merced at Valley Animal Hospital for more than 30 years. Send questions or comments to

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