Mel tells us in a heartfelt letter what Family Pet Animal Hospital and a slime mold have in common. Hear her out.



The moment we met her, we knew Mel was a unique and lovely human being and hired her quickly for our Client Care team.  Not only is she smart and incredibly capable, she’s an amazing creative writer as well.  We knew there would come a time that she would move on from Family Pet to pursue her creative writing dreams.  Alas, that sad moment for Family Pet has come, but “congratulations” are certainly in order for her.

We are extremely excited that Mel has landed two incredible opportunities. The first is a much sought after spot in the Clarion Workshop in San Diego, California for the summer – a rigorous 6-week workshop for writers of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and otherwise speculative stories.  Participants are required to write a story per week and receive feedback from participants of the workshop as well as from esteemed authors.  Come fall of 2018, Mel will begin earning her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa as a fiction writer in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In addition to writing a collection of short stories as part of her graduate program, she’ll also be teaching literature to undergraduates.

We wanted to share with you her heartfelt and hilarious departure letter that she wrote to us.  Enjoy this talent.  We’re sure we will all see amazing things from her in the future.

Mel, pictured with Cole and Watson


Dear Family Pet,

As my last day (May 31st) approaches, I feel that it is high time for a gushing memo.

On the day in September 2016 that I received my first phone call from Linda—the obligatory screen to make sure I was not prone to arson—I had interviews scheduled with a donut shop and the reception arm of a hair salon. My goal that fall was to find a job that would allow me to continue writing my weird short stories in my off-time, and that wouldn’t sap my creative juices during the day. I was looking for something breezy, something low-pressure, something that wouldn’t demand a lot of critical thinking and emotional investment.

Well, as everyone here knows, I didn’t find that job.

What I found instead was a role that rapidly started to mean a lot to me. As I spent time as both a Client Care Coordinator and a Doctor’s Assistant, I was floored by the compassion, trust, and meticulousness displayed—indeed, necessitated—by every position in this hospital. Very few workplaces can boast that their employee base is also a community. But at Family Pet, that communal aspect is essential. Everything we do, from talking with clients to solving problems amongst ourselves, is contingent upon a shared pursuit of honesty and empathy. The hospital simply could not function as it does otherwise.

Honestly, Family Pet reminds me of a slime mold.

Please, hear me out. I know this memo is already way longer than is acceptable, but this needs to be said.

Slime molds can form when several cells join into a mass that functions as a single organism. Though it has no one governing brain, it is capable of “calculating” the most efficient route between itself and a piece of food. Scientists actually use slime molds to plan public transportation systems—when they place food over major cities on a map, they observe the routes that the slime molds take to get to the yum-yums, and can model railways accordingly.

Family Pet is like a gigantic, glorious slime mold. All of its employees work together to map the best route to a pet’s well-being. From the inside, it is a complex network of people performing a wide variety of tasks at any given moment. From the outside, it is a unified front, an institution whose devotion to its clients is as obvious as the smell of a soiled cat carrier.

I’m going to miss it!

Thank you to everyone who helped me learn the ropes. I had never worked with animals before I came here, and you all took a chance on me despite that fact. I’ve learned so much, and I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the friendships that I’ve made. I will never forget this job, and it has helped me to grow in so many ways, in so many directions. Just like a slime mold.

— Mel


We are so grateful for all that she’s given of herself to Family Pet’s patients, clients, and staff during her time here at our practice.

Congratulations, Mel!  We wish you the very best (and we’ll miss you terribly)!


All your slimy, moldy friends at Family Pet Animal Hospital