'While You Were Sleeping': Local clinic solves middle-of-the-night pet problems

Angel of Mercy Animal Critical Care providing emergency services

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Tim Stewart - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Tucked in a strip mall on San Antonio’s Northwest side is a middle-of-the-night saving grace for some people who own pets.

Angel of Mercy Animal Critical Care, located in the 8700 block of Grissom Road, is a clinic that provides overnight emergency care, mostly for dogs and cats.

“We see a lot of dog fight wounds, cat fight wounds. They usually get abscesses. Sometimes you'll see respiratory infections,” said Deborah Ridder, a veterinarian and founder of the clinic.

Ridder has seen a lot during her more than 35 years in animal emergency medicine.

Every now and then, though, she says she and her staff do see things that surprise them.

“I think some of the more bizarre things we've seen have been related to surgeries and pulling out various foreign objects out of dog and cat stomachs,” she said.

 What they do on a nightly basis, though, makes a big difference for pets and other people. 

'On a recent night, Ridder and her staff came to the rescue of a small dog with a swollen jaw. 

The animal and his human family hadn’t been able to sleep all night and showed up at Ridder's door shortly before 2 a.m.

After an extensive exam, the pup was put under anesthesia and Ridder quickly determined he was suffering from dental issues. She ended up extracting five rotten teeth. 

“It's challenging. It's rewarding. It's interesting,” Ridder said, describing her career. “It's just gratification to see that you've helped an animal get through a crisis and get it stabilized.”

The job also is somewhat unpredictable.

Ridder never knows what type of crisis she may encounter, or just how busy her clinic might be on a given night.

Sometimes, it seems to rain cats and dogs.

“I'll go home and sleep. Get up and come back to work. Go home and sleep. Get up and come back to work,” she said, laughing. 

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