Lab meeting–Part Two

Our second unusual lab meeting took place in the Prius on our way home from Hearts United for Animals (HUA), close to Auburn, Nebraska, a small town about 60 miles south of Omaha.


HUA is an animal shelter with a huge facility, and they save dogs and cats in Nebraska and from around the US. They have a very large ranch-like facility, in a beautiful rural area staffed with many dedicated workers and volunteers. My understanding is that they pride themselves on saving all animals of all ages–from puppies bred under horrific conditions at “puppy mills” to strays and older dogs that some owners can no longer care for. Very impressive!

This was “the” visit, where my kids and I came to see a specific dog whose current name is Vi. We were looking for a dog with Labrador features, but since we have no particular interest in “purebreds,” we were simply searching for a medium-to-large sized dog with a nice temperament who is friendly with kids. What we found was a mixture of Labrador with a dog with a a similar temperament, from the Pointer family, called a Vizsla.

Initially, Vi was a little shy with us, but within half an hour, she was chasing down balls, and getting tummy rubs. We spent about 2 hours at the HUA, and when we piled back into the Prius, it was all over but the voting. The Lab meeting committee admitted the candidate immediately–what a gorgeously cute and affectionate dog! I was delegated as chair of the training committee, having had previous experience. My kids are co-chairing the naming committee–a committee to which I was not invited to join–possibly due to my quirky sense of humor. In any case, pending a house inspection by the agency, it’s a done deal for early August.

Just as an aside, before I put up a few choice photos, I wish that the backgrounds checks for gun owners in this country were half as thorough as the way HUA checks out families that want to adopt.

Tennis, anyone? This ball is falling apart.

Very affectionate! The dog, not me.

I know when I’ve been licked…

Photo is a bit fuzzy, but that’s a winning smile!

I’m even planning to take off a few days from work to help her settle in. Big excitement in the family.

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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6 Responses to Lab meeting–Part Two

  1. stephenemoss says:

    Steve – looks like you’ve found a fine pooch there, but I would be concerned at the proliferation of committees in your household. If your kids ever create their own HR Department you’re sunk – or perhaps CR in this case.

    • Steve Caplan says:

      Yes, the kids seem to have absorbed the academic love of bureaucracy and committees. There will probably be a “Program of Excellence in Dog Training” and a “Project for acclimatization and adoption…”

      One thing I forgot to mention about the Vizsla breed, is that they have been ranked among the top 5 for families with children, and have been given the nickname “Velcro” for their desire to go EVERYWHERE with their humans.

  2. “I was delegated as chair of the training committee”

    aka Lab Manager?

    She’s lovely – looking forward to more photos!

  3. cromercrox says:

    Dogs are great.

    That is all.

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