As I reflect on the Thanksgiving holiday, most of the things I’m thankful for sound a bit cliché. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family, the people I work with who make my job great, and the pet owners who bring their pets to me and do right by them. I’m glad for the freedoms I have (thank you veterans) and the opportunities to do what I love. I think most of us could easily put together a “gratitude list” very similar to this in just a few moments.

But what about the truly important things that we don’t talk about so freely? What are the gifts we don’t discuss, but that make our lives SO much more rewarding? Here is my top 5:

1) Colleagues who listen without judgment.

We all know that getting a second opinion or seeking the wisdom of experience makes great sense for our patients and our own development. Still, we’re also all a bit insecure and hesitant to admit that we may not know what’s best in every situation.

That’s why I’m grateful for those colleagues (veterinarians, managers, technicians, etc) who happily answer questions and share advice in the exact way that they would want to receive it. These people are also the ones secure enough to ask me questions and give me the opportunity to return their favors.

2) Technicians who understand that I want to help.

To be honest, I can be a bit hard to work for if you’re not someone who loves to learn. I ask questions, quiz people, and teach whenever I can. I push people to be their best, and I know that sometimes life would be easier if I would just stop.

I’m grateful for the technicians that humor me, that want to learn and grow, and that understand I just want us all to be our best. I’m especially grateful for those that understand they are worth the effort I’m putting into, and demanding from, them everyday.

3) Technicians who take action.

Medicine is a dance, and it’s much more fun (and effective) to dance with people who know the steps and jump right into doing them. I’m thankful for the technicians who know their business and don’t wait for me (or any other vet) to tell them what to do. These technicians are pure professionals, and working with them is an eye-opening, job-changing experience. Every vet should be blessed to have the experience.

4) Pet owners who have questions.

I had a pet owner in the clinic earlier this week that apologized profusely for the list of questions she brought with her. I love people like this. I want to share my knowledge with them, and I know they will get a lot out of my time. I also know that their pet will benefit greatly from our time together. These pet owners are dedicated and I am always grateful for them.

5) Our support team.

You know those pet owners that send Thank You notes when their pets get better, or even bring in pans of brownies over the holidays? I’m grateful for those people. You know the drug reps that genuinely want to help our practices improve and bring us educational opportunities and encouragement we wouldn’t otherwise get? I love those guys. And those specialists that call you right back, answer your questions and make you feel like they’ll be there if you need them? Yeah, those guys are awesome as well. These people are all partners in the mental health, happiness, and success of veterinary teams. They all mean the world to me, and I plan to do a better job of letting them know it from here on out.

So there you have it. Those are my top 5 not-top-of-mind gifts that I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving. If you come into contact with any of these people, please tell them “Thank You” from me… or possibly from you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!