Two years ago in an emergency situation, I met my vet and he has changed my life. The things I learned from Dr. Jason Sweitzer and the entire staff at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital have given me incredible insight into the world of veterinary medicine and fueled my passion for not just the science but ALL the people in it.
I cannot help but shed a tear every time I hear of one of these amazing people being verbally beaten down, sometimes to a point of no return. These people give their whole hearts every day and speak for those that cannot speak for themselves. It is very important to me that they know just how much they all matter.
1. They are not in this for the money. As a client with many animals, I often have to take them in early in preparation for procedures. This means I often see the vets and techs coming in around that time and I can tell you they are not driving Audis, BMWs, or Mercedes. However, when I volunteered at a local hospital and parked in the structure where the doctors park everything was a high end car. Vets make significantly less than doctors yet have just as much if not more education across various species and techs make significantly less that nurses.
2. Their day goes long beyond their shift. Your vet may be on a schedule of 8-4, however that simply means that if they are lucky they “might” get home to their families by 8pm. They do not just leave at their end of shift. They stay additional hours to complete records, call pet owners, and personally check that their cases of the day are stabilized and doing well. By doing this they sacrifice time with their own families and we need to understand and appreciate this.
3. They suffer heartbreak every day. Every time an animal comes in, be it for a checkup or a more serious matter, your vet is your ally. They do everything in their power to make sure your pet is healthy and you as a client are informed but in those times when it’s more than a checkup, they share every ounce of fear and concern you do. If it becomes a situation of euthanasia, their hearts shatter along with yours. Just because it is “part of the job” does not mean it’s ever easy or you get used to it. They do not teach you in veterinary school how to stop your heart from breaking and it often happens multiple times in a day.
4. Fatigue is part of the job. There are days when your vet may have multiple emergent cases she works tirelessly to help. This means an 8 hour day can easily become an 18 hour one and by the time she looks at the clock it’s 2am and she starts her next shift at 8am. Instead of driving home bleary eyed, she sleeps at the office.
5. They absorb a lot of rudeness. DON’T DO IT. Vets and techs have and give the most compassion of any medical professionals. It costs us as clients zero to be kind and compassionate in return. To always appreciate the efforts big or small and to remember that the vet seeing your cat for a routine checkup may have just lost a puppy to parvo virus an hour before and has given up their lunch hour to cry with and console a grieving family.
Next time you are at the vet try asking them how they are today. Let them know you appreciate what they do and that their efforts do make a difference. Even a few kind words can make a huge difference in their day.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Tracy Leal from Simi Valley, CA. I have been married for 23 years and a mom to 3 teenagers, 3 bunnies, 4 dogs, 2 parakeets and 2 goldfish. I am currently about to enter my final semester to earn my AS degree and then will be pursuing an RVT education.