It’s another sweltering morning
in Memphis, Egypt. As the sunlight brightens the Nile,
Peseshet checks her supplies. Honey, garlic, cumin, acacia leaves, cedar oil. She’s well stocked with the essentials
she needs to treat her patients. Peseshet is a swnw, or a doctor. In order to become one, she had to train as a scribe and study the medical papyri stored
at the Per Ankh, the House of Life. Now, she teaches her own students there. Before teaching,
Peseshet has a patient to see. One of the workers at the temple
construction site has injured his arm. When Peseshet arrives, the laborer’s arm is clearly broken, and worse, the fracture is a sed,
with multiple bone fragments. Peseshet binds and immobilizes the injury. Her next stop is the House of Life. On her way, a woman intercepts
Peseshet in the street. The woman’s son
has been stung by a scorpion. Peseshet has seen many similar stings
and knows exactly what to do. She must say an incantation
to cast the poison out. She begins to recite the spell, invoking Serqet, patron of physicians
and goddess of venomous creatures. Peseshet recites the spell
as if she is Serqet. This commanding approach
has the greatest chance at success. After she utters the last line, she tries to cut the poison out
with a knife for good measure. Peseshet packs up to leave,
but the woman has another question. She wants to find out if she is pregnant. Peseshet explains
her fail-safe pregnancy test: plant two seeds: one barley, one emmer. Then, urinate on the seeds every day. If the plants grow, she’s pregnant. A barley seedling predicts a baby boy, while emmer foretells a girl. Peseshet also recommends a prayer
to Hathor, goddess of fertility. When Peseshet finally arrives
at the House of Life, she runs into the doctor-priest Isesi. She greets Isesi politely, but she thinks
priests are very full of themselves. She doesn’t envy Isesi’s role
as neru pehut, which directly translates to herdsman
of the anus to the royal family, or, guardian of the royal anus. Inside, the House of Life is bustling
as usual with scribes, priests, doctors, and students. Papyri containing all kinds of records,
not just medical information, are stored here. Peseshet’s son Akhethetep is hard
at work copying documents as part of his training
to become a scribe. He’s a particularly promising student, but he was admitted to study
because Peseshet is a scribe, as was her father before her. Without family in the profession, it’s very difficult for boys,
and impossible for girls, to pursue this education. Peseshet oversees all the female
swnws and swnws-in-training in Memphis. The men have their own overseer, as the male doctors
won’t answer to a woman. Today, Peseshet teaches anatomy. She quizzes her students on the metu, the body’s vessels that transport blood, air, urine, and even bad spirits. Peseshet is preparing to leave when a pale, thin woman accosts her
at the door and begs to be examined. The woman has a huge,
sore lump under her arm. Peseshet probes the growth
and finds it cool to the touch and hard like an unripe hemat fruit. She has read about ailments
like this, but never seen one. For this tumor there is no treatment,
medicine or spell. All the texts give the same advice:
do nothing. After delivering the bad news,
Peseshet goes outside. She lingers on the steps
of the House of Life, admiring the city at dusk. In spite of all her hard work, there will always be patients
she can’t help, like the woman with the tumor. They linger with her,
but Peseshet has no time to dwell. In a few short weeks, the Nile’s annual flooding will begin, bringing life to the soil for
the next year’s harvest and a whole new crop of patients.

A day in the life of an ancient Egyptian doctor – Elizabeth Cox
Tagged on:                                                             

100 thoughts on “A day in the life of an ancient Egyptian doctor – Elizabeth Cox

  • July 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm
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    If you enjoy our lessons, consider supporting us on Patreon! http://bit.ly/2Lazsg3 For a small monthly fee you'll be supporting several TED-Ed programs, and you'll gain access to some pretty neat perks!

    Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 6:45 pm
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    Peseshet?
    More like piece of ****

    (just kidding this was actually pretty funny to watch 😂)

    Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 10:47 pm
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    Rick Riordan gang where u at

    Reply
  • May 23, 2019 at 4:34 am
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    Baby's come from plants😕

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  • May 23, 2019 at 10:50 am
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    Bad spirits are the worst

    Reply
  • May 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm
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    YouTube: hey kid, wanna know how doctors were like in Egyptian times?

    Reply
  • May 24, 2019 at 2:01 am
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    We watch these in social studies class

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  • May 24, 2019 at 1:25 pm
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    So she’s still alive?

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  • May 24, 2019 at 7:16 pm
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    She forgot the calpol.

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  • May 25, 2019 at 1:57 am
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    Peseshet debe tener su propia serie.

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  • May 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm
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    I am from Egypt

    Reply
  • May 26, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Thousands of years and we still have no cure for camcer.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2019 at 5:23 am
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    Piece o shet

    Reply
  • May 29, 2019 at 10:44 am
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    Imagine finding yourself in that world even for a day
    Would have been amazing to see

    Reply
  • May 29, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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    What if both of the plants grow

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  • May 30, 2019 at 1:00 am
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    Imagine the House of Life being burned down like the library of Alexandria..

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  • May 30, 2019 at 7:50 am
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    My doctor didn’t do rituals on me before treating me, gave the hospital a 1 star on yelp

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  • May 30, 2019 at 8:35 am
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    Theres always gotta be an egytian god or godest for everything

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  • May 30, 2019 at 9:33 am
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    PEICE OF SHET

    Reply
  • May 31, 2019 at 3:50 am
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    3:45 – is that cancer, as some others seem to think? Or is it a disease, like I’m thinking? If it is: which one?

    Reply
  • June 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    There's a lot of wtf moments in this video. like seriously wtf were they smoking back then?

    Reply
  • June 1, 2019 at 8:47 pm
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    This isn't very acurate . Usual only men could be scribes let alone be a doctor , only if your family was very rich / high in power there was a chance women could be a scribe but never a doctor . If you where a female doctor you would be executed on charges of blasphemy .

    Reply
  • June 2, 2019 at 5:44 pm
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    It didn't work. My beer died.

    Reply
  • June 2, 2019 at 8:11 pm
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    I don't think that's true… We didn't study any of this in history and all what we have studied proves the opposite of what you are saying

    Reply
  • June 3, 2019 at 5:55 am
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    Poor Peseshet!! After examining so many patients and prescribed them remedies,she didn't even get a single penny 😂😔😒

    Reply
  • June 3, 2019 at 1:08 pm
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    4:12 someone’s having Quadruplets!? 0-0

    Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    Egyptians are freaking smart then came the romans, and British people and Americans study their ancient lives.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 2:34 am
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    4:13 looks like someone's having twins

    Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 4:27 pm
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    Pes-o-shet

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  • June 6, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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    begone poison you have no place here, now imma proceed to deface your arm 😀

    Reply
  • June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    Anciant Egiptian medicine is old and unique in human view. Thank you. Best wishes for this video author.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2019 at 9:03 am
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    As an anti-vaxxer, I shall learn all the ancient incantations to cure measles, polio, influenza, hepatitis, etc… i shall also burn incense and myrrh at the temple. Anyone want to come with?

    edit: for people who didn't get the sarcasm, this is a joke (srsly? incantactions to cure the diseases cited?? lols)

    Reply
  • June 9, 2019 at 7:59 am
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    What a moron. Haha.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2019 at 3:24 pm
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    Priests are full of themselves, but it's ok to recite incantations before helping a kid with scorpion bite.

    Reply
  • June 10, 2019 at 12:56 am
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    4:10 Your having twins ( get is )

    Reply
  • June 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm
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    She time travel because using pens and paper.

    Reply
  • June 16, 2019 at 4:16 am
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    Yes! 😀

    Reply
  • June 18, 2019 at 8:12 pm
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    I read the news today, oh boy…

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 4:07 pm
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    0.02 what does it mean exactly??

    Reply
  • June 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm
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    That is interesting, science and religion mixed together. Although I think that may make the rate of success a little better, because hope helps too.

    Reply
  • June 22, 2019 at 8:26 pm
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    2:23
    I’m dying 😂

    Reply
  • June 22, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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    3:30 it’s the plague

    Reply
  • June 22, 2019 at 10:51 pm
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    Imagine how much money would Peseshet make if she was living in an american-style neoliberal capitalism where everything is for money, even people's health!

    Reply
  • June 24, 2019 at 4:44 am
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    G O D O F T H E A N U S

    Reply
  • June 25, 2019 at 1:37 am
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    That's a nurse not a doctor..just saying

    Reply
  • June 27, 2019 at 1:59 pm
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    Hello from egypt

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 9:14 am
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    Imagine trying to get treated for a scorpion sting and the doctor just starts rambling Kali Ma…Kali Ma!…

    Reply
  • June 30, 2019 at 7:47 pm
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    Thank you

    Reply
  • July 9, 2019 at 4:10 am
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    Who’s watch in 2ol9? §~§

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 6:49 am
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    I’d just cut the damn tumor off.

    Reply
  • July 12, 2019 at 1:48 am
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    I'm surprised ancient Egypt had female doctors

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  • July 12, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    quack !

    Reply
  • July 18, 2019 at 5:14 am
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    Hi. Can you change the intro sound ? Its kinda annoying 🙁

    Reply
  • July 18, 2019 at 11:17 am
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    Everytime I hear here name I keep hearing "peez-a-shit"

    Reply
  • July 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm
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    Can women even be doctors back then?

    Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 4:27 am
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    The worst doctor ever.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 1:15 am
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    You peseshet

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 3:59 am
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    Scorpion stings? Allow me to chant an incantation: "Poison poison go away, come again another day, little Billy don't die today, Poison poison go away."

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 5:52 am
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    0:52 – That is a comminuted fracture, before the time of Ilizarov (a famous Russian surgeon who developed an orthopedic fixation apparatus that is still in use today).

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 6:42 am
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    Mm nice little massage with a little tug down there

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 11:17 am
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    Why they look like aliens?

    Reply
  • July 22, 2019 at 3:03 am
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    That tumor was brutal. So glad to live today where life expectancy is higher and things that were otherwise death sentences in the past are now treatable

    Reply
  • July 23, 2019 at 6:46 pm
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    TED-Ed should do one based on how contrasting and funny are the things humans understand from the very same 4:33 long video analyzing the comment section here. Please…🙁

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 2:09 am
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    The Egyptians were like the only religion to be sorta nice to women

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 1:14 am
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    Теперь жду "Один день из жизни Хранителя Ануса"

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 3:42 am
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    At least they made them dark skin, but still tryna pass them off as Arabs lol. Ancient egyptians were negros ppl wake up stop the bs

    Reply
  • July 28, 2019 at 8:32 am
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    I heard it as pieceofshet

    Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 10:14 pm
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    All this is wrong

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 9:00 pm
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    My doctor has the same health recommendations

    Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm
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    Can you please Explain how peeing on a plant every day let’s you know if you’re pregnant 😂????

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  • August 7, 2019 at 4:17 am
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    She was a real pess uh shet

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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    Is that pregnancy test real?

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  • August 10, 2019 at 10:46 pm
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    🐸

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:56 am
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    i wish i could be guardian of the royal a-nOOSE

    Reply
  • August 16, 2019 at 4:25 am
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    IT'S NOT A TUMOR!!!

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  • August 18, 2019 at 4:44 am
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    Her name sounded like “piece of sh*t” 😂✌🏻

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  • August 23, 2019 at 2:13 pm
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    Peseschet
    Molly, Peseschet

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm
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    Today Pasashet teaches anatomy. While she just wrapped some cloth around a heavily broken arm.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 8:16 pm
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    In the future, I wanna try out the pregnancy plant thing. I'm kinda curious, not gonna lie 😂

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  • August 25, 2019 at 8:58 am
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    Glad the animated characters weren't white washed.

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 11:32 am
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    Too bad the lady with the tumor on her arm wasn't able to go see #DrPimplePopper

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 3:18 pm
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    لو انه مترجم

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 5:45 pm
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    G A R D I U N O F T H E R O Y A L E A N U S

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 11:25 pm
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    "doctor" huh?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 3:02 am
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    I'm impressed with the gender test!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:43 am
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    2:23 only me?..

    K…

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  • September 2, 2019 at 8:59 am
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    Can you make video of more story Heath of day of school nurse

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 6:26 pm
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    For all the comments on pregnancy test:
    They did not wait for the grain to be ripe, just to grow a bit.
    And there is some truth to the reaction of the plant with urine, but emer and barley is utter nonsense.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm
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    3:28 ah yes, she is every teacher in America

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  • September 3, 2019 at 6:58 pm
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    I am a very hard “Sinuhe The Egyptian” fan that I already know all of these.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 4:50 am
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    “I know exactly what to do!”

    recites spell

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm
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    Modern doctors:BOIIIIIII

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 6:02 pm
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    Were they also feline veterinarians ?

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 7:30 am
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    Came here because of my Ancient Civilzation Teacher

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm
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    Wtf is this?

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm
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    My friend: History is boring
    Me: 2:23

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  • September 9, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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    Loved the pregnancy part

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 4:45 am
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    g u a r d i a n o f t h e r o y a l a n u s

    Reply

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