I’d like to correct a logical error we, as veterinarians, have been making, that we should look at as more of a typo. In veterinary medicine we should change the spelling of alone to allone.

I have felt alone and helpless in my darkest times. I am a thirty-four year old veterinarian with ADHD, elementary school puns, and pre-pubescent humor; married for over ten years, with two children under the age of five each with their own problems; working 60+ hours a week in 4 days, living back in the town I grew up, racking up several injuries, in braces recovering from jaw surgery; and love to teach and care so much about others that I don’t take time for my family or myself and break down crying on the freeway at 2:45 AM coming back from work. That kind of alone.

Thankfully, I had recently joined a veterinary support group. A group dedicated entirely to supporting each other, in whatever way we may need. I shared my unique story and problems. Through my colleagues, I shared every single struggle, every aspect of my life.

My colleagues helped me shine a light in the darkness of my life and realize that I shared everything. We shared everything. Someone had been through what I was going through, often multiple people, and they had survived. They offered insight, resources, support, and something much greater.

Owner holding a cat

I am proud to be a part of a profession of colleagues so great that they take time out of their equally busy and stressful lives, for me. I would like to pay forward a small part of that. In the darkest and most obscure situation, where not another car or light could be seen anywhere for miles, I had felt alone, broken, clinically depressed, and starting down a path towards suicidal ideation. Through their efforts, I realized that I am not alone. We are not alone. We are all-one. I submit we need to edit our mental autocorrect to permanently change alone, to allone. We are ALLONE.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.



Jason Sweitzer, DVM, RVT is an associate veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA. He does general practice and emergency medicine for small and exotics animals, as well as wildlife, with special interests in behavior medicine, management, and teaching. He balances his life with family, playing field hockey, and voluminous quantities of bad jokes and puns.