"Nurse Martha"
Season 1, Episode 23a
123a sm
Production code: 0123a
Original Airdate: February 18, 2009
Vocabulary Words: examine, observe, research, symptom, vaccine, test, treat, checkup, veterinarian, healthy
"Ice Scream"
"T.D. Gets the Scoop"
Nurse Martha is the first half of the 23rd episode of Season 1.


Being able to translate animal speech sure comes in handy when Martha gets a job as the vet's assistant. But when Mrs Clusky 's niece brings her puppy to the vet — and he speaks nothing but incomprehensible puppy talk — Martha's going to need more than her linguistic skills to figure out what's wrong.

Summary Edit

It begins at the vet's clinic. Mariella and Helen are next to a table, which Martha is on, while the vet is looking in her ears. Skits is nervously circling the table, and Helen asks why he is nervous because he's had checkups before. Martha stammers that Skits is nervous because he's had checkups before. Helen is confused, but Mariella says that he knows what's coming. Helen asks what exactly is coming, and Martha, also nervous, says a vaccine is coming. Helen asks what a vaccine is as the vet is giving Martha an injection. Martha says, "Ow!", and then explains "that's a vaccine". Skits barks and trembles in fear. Mariella explains that a vaccine is a shot that keeps you from getting sick. Helen thinks they should make a vaccine so that you don't need to be vaccinated ever. Martha, now on the floor, shakes her fur out, while the vet calls her a very good girl. Martha calls the vet a very good veterinarian, while the vet feeds her a dog biscuit, which Martha says is excellent. Mariella tells Skits to jump up, but he is hesitant. Martha, licking the floor, tells him the sooner he gets his vaccine, the sooner he gets his biscuit. Skits jumps up, to which the vet says that she wishes she had a system like Martha's as her job would be much easier. Martha asks if the vet would pay her in biscuits. When the vet says yes, Martha is up for the job.

At the Lorraine household, Helen is reading a book about dog anatomy on the living room floor, and sharing a bowl of popcorn with Martha and Skits. Martha thanks Helen for taking out the book as she was curious to see how her insides looked. Helen asks Martha what she thinks, and Martha says that she is glad the insides are on the inside because the outsides look much better. Skits thinks she meant it looks better outside and goes to run out. Martha tries to explain that "outside" and "outsides" are different words, but gives up. She then asks about an illustration. Helen points to the picture of a dog's stomach and, while feeding her some popcorn, says it's where the popcorn will go after she chews it. Martha eats it without chewing, seeming confused at the prospect of chewing. She then asks about another part of the dog's anatomy and Helen explains that it's the intestines, where the food goes once the stomach is done with it. Skits barks and Helen feeds him some popcorn, then tells Martha that she's doing a lot of research for her new "job". Martha doesn't know what research means, and Helen, throwing Martha some popcorn but missing, explains that doing research means studying; finding out facts. Martha looks for the popcorn, declaring she wants to "research" where the popcorn went. She then finds it under the couch, trying to retrieve it, while quipping "my research has produced results". Helen says that Martha probably doesn't need to know all that information, as the vet won't test her in it. Martha says that she knows the vet won't test her, but the information might still come in handy. She then imagines herself as the vet's assistant, diagnosing Pops with fleas in a fancy, technical way. Helen says that fleas are not life-threatening. Martha says they are not life-threatening, but they are annoying. She then scratches her neck.

At the vet clinic, Martha and the vet look at their first patient: a small dog. It's the dog's first checkup and the dog scared. The vet says that the examination is simple. The dog barks and Martha says that it's not an examination like a test then adds it sort of is, but it's more of a checkup to see if the other dog is healthy. When the vet puts her stethoscope on the other dog, the dog dislikes it. The vet asks why, and Martha explains that the other dog finds the stethoscope too cold.

Later, the Parkingtons (who look nervous) arrive with John, who barks. Martha says that John says his food makes his stomach hurt. The vet says that John just needs to be put on a new kind of food.

Then, Bob arrives at the clinic and gets a shot, apparently having said swear words, which Martha declines to translate.

Then, Nelson arrives at the clinic. Martha asks if the vet has a treatment that will turn him into a dog (she doesn't), which offends Nelson and he hisses and swats at Martha, who falls off her stool, knocking it over, and she says that Nelson mistreated the assistant.

At home, Martha watches a medical drama with Helen, which she doesn't like as she believes the acting is bad. She changes the channel several times, before landing on one she enjoys.

Later, Butterscotch is taken to the vet, looking unwell. The vet asks Mrs Clusky and one of her nieces if they've noticed additional symptoms. Mrs Clusky says that the vet has to ask her niece as Butterscotch is her dog. The niece doesn't know what a symptom is, so the vet and Mrs Clusky explain what a symptom is. Mrs Clusky's niece says that Butterscotch hasn't been eating or going to the bathroom much. Mrs Clusky asks how long Butterscotch has been sick for, and Mrs Clusky says that it has been since yesterday, a few moments after the triplets came over to show her their new puppies. Butterscotch barks but due to his young age, Martha can't make out what he's saying. The vet says that she has to keep Butterscotch under observation for a few days to run some tests. The girl tells Butterscotch not to worry as she will be back to collect him soon. She then kisses him. Mrs Clusky and her niece then leave, leaving Martha worried.

Later, at the clinic, Butterscotch is still under the weather but he's playful enough to attempt at playing with the stethoscope and Martha while she and the vet examine him. He then chews on a wire. Martha, wearing a green coat along with the vet, tells him off in Dog. He obeys.

Then, the vet shows an X-ray of Butterscotch that reveals that something he possibly ate is stuck in his intestines. Martha asks what Butterscotch's treatment is and the vet says that it's probably surgery and that the thing he ingested could be a whole laundry list of things. Martha says that it probably isn't a laundry list he ate as she's eaten a lot of paper before and it didn't make her sick. The vet explains that it's just an expression, meaning a lot of things to do and then adds that she will have to do an exploratory surgery on Butterscotch (who's asleep in his cage) to sniff it out. Martha asks if the vet will smell his insides, to which the vet says no, it's another expression and explains that it means to look for something you don't know what it is.

Martha walks down the sidewalk, looking forlorn. She passes a house, where Mrs Clusky and one of her nieces are sitting on the steps, and the latter one is crying and saying "Oh no". Mrs Clusky says that Butterscotch will be back the moment he recovers. Martha wishes she could help and sniffs the air, which reminds her of the "sniff it out" idiom, which in turn inspires her.

She then wakes up Skits, who was asleep on the couch, telling him they have research to do. The pair then runs down the street, Martha declaring they need a lot of noses.

Martha summons Rinty, Cisco, John, Francois, and two others in Dog.

She then asks Mrs Clusky if Butterscotch was sick before he came to visit, and Mrs Clusky says no. Martha concludes that he got sick while in her yard, and then tells the other dogs that if Butterscotch ate something which made him sick, it was in the yard, and tells them to get their noses to work. They comply, while Martha tells them to examine everything, leaving no blade of grass unsniffed.

Rinty finds grass, but Martha says it's just regular grass, Cisco finds a pail of water under the drain pipe, but Martha says that it is just rainwater. Francois finds a mouldy dog biscuit, but Martha doesn't think the mould could be harmless and eats it just to make sure (she's fine).

Mrs Clusky asks if the dogs' search proved fruitful and Martha says that the vet is right: it could be a whole laundry list of things. This reminds Mrs Clusky that her laundry has been hanging up since Butterscotch got sick. Then, while Mrs Clusky folds her laundry, Martha comes to a conclusion while looking at the laundry line.

At the vet clinic, Martha reveals her induction: Butterscotch ate a sock. She explains that seeing as Butterscotch jumped up and chewed on high objects while being examined, it can be presumed that that is something he likes to do. She then says that what probably happened was that Butterscotch knocked over the laundry basket that was on the ground, jumped on it, grabbed sock off the line, and ate it, but it got stuck. The vet thinks this is a logical explanation for Butterscotch's symptoms and that it may have saved his life. She then says that now's the time to bring in the laundry.

Mrs Clusky, one of her nieces, and Martha wait in the waiting room, bored. Eventually, Butterscotch, now restored to full health, is returned to the girl, with a cone on his head and licking her face. The vet says that she needs to see him in three weeks to take the stitches out, and in the meantime, the girl has to prevent him from roughhousing with his siblings. Mrs Clusky asks what was wrong with Butterscotch, and Mrs Clusky says that Martha was right; he did eat a sock. Mrs Clusky declares that from now on, she will refrain on doing her laundry on days when the triplets visit. They then leave and the vet gives Martha a biscuit as a "thank-you".


examination, observe, research, symptom, vaccine, checkup, stomach, intestines, plus two idioms "sniff out" and "laundry list".


  • Triplets


  • It is unknown why the puppies' barks could not be comprehended my Martha.
  • According to Martha, the dog that was on its first checkup is a female.
  • Martha makes a reference to a movie viewed in Martha's Pickle.