Successful relationships are based on clear expectations and commitments. For example, when I go to my favorite restaurant, I know I can expect their usual level of great service and delicious food. And the owners can expect that I’ll pay my tab, behave nicely and respect the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” sign. I hold up my end of the deal, knowing that they’ll hold up theirs, and vice versa. Same goes for my children’s day care. I bring my kids in clean, germ-free and with healthy lunches packed, and the staff does their part to make sure that my children are cared for, educated and looked after until I arrive on time to pick them up. We each know what to expect from the other.


As a veterinarian, I had a brainstorm the other day: What if expectations between pet owners and veterinary teams were just as clear? We each have our needs, abilities, strengths and limitations. Would we understand each other better — and work better as a team to care for pets — if we agreed on what’s fair to expect of one another? I think we might. Here’s what I believe pet owners should expect from me — and what I hope I can expect from them in return:


1) I, your pet’s veterinarian, promise that I will always act in your pet’s best interest. I’ll listen (I mean reallylisten) when you tell me what your concerns and questions are. In return, I ask that you remember that I am a human being, flaws and all. I have only two hands and one brain. At the end of the day, I have a family to go home to, too. I’m just a person, but I’ll be the person who puts your pet first whenever I see him or her.

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