Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

by C.J. Kirkland

“Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” was a hugely popular disco song released in 1983 by the group Indeep. Many years and many remakes later every time I hear it I still sing and dance along to the infectious tune. The music and its lively beat always held my attention more than the words themselves- but that flip-flopped last night.

Because last night, a DJ saved my life from a broken heart.

That DJ was Dr. Jen, veterinarian and owner of Utopia Animal Hospital in Memphis.

My Cairn Terrier, Rudy, was knocking on death’s door when I took him to Utopia. The cause of his life threatening condition was an enigma. When we arrived at Utopia we were in our third week of mystification and Dr. Jen would be the third veterinarian to see him. I sat in the exam room and heard her speak of all the tests she’d run to try and get to the bottom of it but I wasn’t really listening. I was lost in reminiscence of the life my family and I had shared with Rudy.

Rudy used to lay at our feet during dinner, when meals consisted of Ramen noodles and whatever filler item was on sale at the discount grocery store. He lay at our feet when our white porcelain dinner plates were laden with prime cuts of beef and the highest quality of sides purchased at the gourmet, organic grocery retailer. Rudy was just happy to see and smell food, caring little about whether it was discount-fare or fine dining.

Rudy loved sticking his head out of the window of our used, oil-leaking, engine-smoking car just as much as he loved sticking it out of our brand new, two-door sports car. All he cared about was feeling his nose cut through the fresh air as we drove down the streets of Los Angeles; he cared nothing about the vehicle transporting him through those streets.

I began sobbing, thinking of all the great times we’d had with this little furry creature, and some of the profound lessons he’d taught me:

~gratitude in knowing that though we had little, we had.

~faithfulness in times of struggle and times of prosperity.

~appreciating the complex simplicities in this life, such as feeling the fresh air cut across our noses.

That day I tried coming to terms with the pain my heart was experiencing. I tried coming to terms with the reality that my time with Rudy may have come to an end. In between the thoughts and tears of despair I wished that I would have paused and given thanks more often for all the ways in which he had blessed me and my family.

But then, a DJ saved my life from a broken heart.

And she solved the enigma of Rudy’s life-threatening condition. In fact, she would not stop-did not stop-until she had done so.

I can think of only one way to thank the DJ: by installing a super-sized disco ball in Utopia’s lobby and keeping the hit song by Indeep on a repeat loop.

Utopia is located at 1157 Madison Avenue. Dr. Jen and her stellar team, including Dr. Smith, may be reached at (901) 746-8758
C.J. Kirkland is a freelance writer currently based in Memphis.
Call (901) 267-5287 or email