We as veterinary professionals live in a very busy world. We have many things coming at us all at once and must be able to prioritize and juggle several tasks. The society we live in is very different than it was years ago. Society is very technology driven. We can connect to technology in many ways, it has been a blessing to veterinary medicine. Clients can schedule appointments online, have their prescriptions filled while they put in requests on their mobile devices and we can even email over lab results or send text reminders for appointments.
Technology can allow us to connect in so many ways, but it also can be an avenue to disconnect as well. The times of a face-to-face conversation is limited and waiting rooms are full of people checking their various social media apps, playing games or tuning out others around them while they wait to be called in for an appointment. Instead of interacting, people choose to tune out the world around them.
As a practice manager, my office is very close to the lobby. I can hear when clients are disgruntled and can eavesdrop on random chit chat amongst our clients. I also have the opportunity of hearing someone repeatedly tell their dog to sit for about 15 minutes straight. Spoiler alert, the dog never sits. Often people will chat about what breed their dog is or how their cat hasn’t been feeling well lately. But you would be surprised how quiet it can be sometimes in the lobby. People tuning into their mobile devices while completely ignoring the people around them.
Today, I learned that our ability to make connections with one another is still there. Our lobby contained a preteen boy who was engrossed in his phone while his mother was in an appointment with their pet. An elderly man checked in while waiting for his scheduled appointment time. From my office I could hear the boy ask the man what type of dog that was, as he had a dog like that, his family had to put to sleep a few months ago. The elderly man answered and then said, “That’s really tough to go through, isn’t it?” To which the boy replied it was.
The conversation could have been left there. Instead this boy and this man proceeded to share their stories of the pets they had lost. Not just sad stories, but funny ones, random ones. These two continued to talk about all kinds of things for the next 30 minutes. Here we had two completely different people, from two completely different generations and their love for their pets brought them together. My heart soared as I listened to them share stories and memories. They truly were getting to know one another. When it was time for the man to be seen, he said goodbye to the boy. The boy gave his thanks for talking to him. I was truly sad the conversation had come to its end.
I am reminded of how hard it is to connect in this world, and I wonder if we all could have these beautiful stories, if we just stopped and connected with the people around us. If we just asked questions and were interested in the people who are in the same room. This scenario reminded me that there are still some things that can bring people together. Their love of their pets is universal. It can bridge gaps. I am a shy person, but I hope to remember these two and stop and look at the people around me. Ask them their story and tell them mine. By connecting with each other there is hope. And I hope some day I can be that light in someone’s 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.