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Meet Dr. Brem: A Veterinarian With a Love For Small Pets

rabbit vet

Some people know what they’re going to be when they grow up when they’re young. Not me. I wanted to be a writer, an elementary school teacher, an interior designer, and even a Pizza Hut waitress. Veterinarian didn’t cross my mind until I was well into my 30s, well into my career as an editor, well into my “grown-upness.” 

What planted that thought was a 4-pound rabbit with white fur, a black mustache, and gray eyeliner who could no longer walk. Her name was Nika. 

Ensuring Nika had a good quality of life took a lot of work, and it required me to learn things I didn’t know until then that I had an interest in. I had rabbits for years, but Nika made me realize how much I loved medicine and caring for animals. Ten years after she passed away, I was a vet. 

rabbit vet

Bringing The Rabbit Love To Small Pet Select Blogs

In case you haven’t guessed yet, I love rabbits. Along with my husband and two dogs, I live with 10 of them – seven fosters and three of our own. But thanks to pre-vet-school volunteering with the local shelter I foster for, I discovered the joys of rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice, and more. Critters just make me happy. 

My favorite clinical rotation in vet school was my exotics rotation, and my favorite days at work are when I get to see at least one small mammal. So I’m really excited about this new blog – I now get to write about them! I’ll be sharing with you information, tips, stories, and fun facts about critters and their health, nutrition, behavior, and lives in general. 

Before we get started on all those possibilities in future blog entries, though, here’s a little more about me:

Fostering Rabbits

I recently took in my 101st rabbit foster! I have a photo of every one of them on a section of our living room wall, and I just counted. The fosters’ names are on the backs of the photos because there’s no way I would remember all of them.

I started fostering 13 years ago, and although I’m not a fan of changing so many litter boxes (Is anyone? If so, I’d like to hire you.), fostering has been the most rewarding activity I’ve ever participated in. 

As a fosterer, I socialize rabbits to new experiences, including human love sometimes, I litter train them, I occasionally bond them with other foster rabbits, I facilitate introductions with the single rabbits of potential adopters, I help with adoptions, and I spay or neuter those who aren’t already.

Integrating Dogs With Rabbits

Our dogs are named Laika and Soda. I always get asked what breed they are, and the answer is total mixed-breed, “super-mutt” if you will. We adopted Laika at, we think, 3 years old and Soda as an 8-week-old. I had always said that I didn’t think I could handle a puppy well, and I stand by that statement!

I really value my sleep – and my socks, furniture, throw pillows, remote controls, etc. – too much to attempt crazy and destructive puppyhood again! (But we’ll see…) 

Laika is actually afraid of the buns, and our last dog was neutral, but Soda is a little too, umm, eager to be around them. Now that she is an adult and has settled down some, we have started working on integrating them. More on that to come hopefully. 

The Bunny Crew

Our rabbits are Sterling, an American chinchilla; McGill, a mini Rex whose name comes from my all-time favorite TV show, I Love Lucy; and Biscuit, a lionhead mix. Sterling is blind and an old lady at 12 years old, but she still loves to play with toys, eat, and cuddle.

For every rabbit of mine who has passed away, I have a tattoo on my left leg. Since some of their names were things like “Thistle”, “Willow” and “Clover,” I have kind of a nature-y montage going on. This is rather appropriate for me I think, since I am a bit of a tree-hugging granola girl as a friend once called me. 

Hobbies and Favorite Things

My favorite places to be are those with trees and streams. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14 years old, I recycle almost everything I can, I believe that making even a small difference in the world is important, and I’m an advocate for animal adoption and spaying/neutering pets. (It’s hard, but at work, I try to remain fairly impartial on those last topics except where health is an issue, like spaying/neutering reducing the risk of some cancers.)

My favorite sport (come to think of it, really the only sport I like to watch) is football – in particular I’ve been a fan of the Tennessee Titans since I was living in Nashville when the team started up and the Iowa State University Cyclones since that’s where I went to vet school. 

I also like reading (favorite book: Watership Down), gardening (favorite plants: hydrangeas), hiking in state parks (favorite one: Ledges near Boone, Iowa), smelling autumn leaves (favorite one: all of them!), and eating Haagen Dazs ice cream (favorite flavor: coffee). 

Why I Love Being A Vet

And the best part about being a vet for me? Talking with clients about their pets’ health, whether in sickness or in wellness. I understand what it’s like to not know what’s going on with one of my pets and to feel helpless when one is sick, and now as a vet, I want to help minimize those feelings for owners. 

As an introvert, I’m sometimes exhausted by the end of the workday, but I feel like I’m doing something that helps people – and their animals.

I’d love to know about topics you’re interested in learning about from a veterinary perspective! Please let us know in the comments or on social media!

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