In the past I have spoken about clients that were difficult. Let me talk about the clients that make this job worth doing. People talk about why they got into a specific field; and, in veterinary medicine, people always say that they really love animals. I get it, so do I. However, for me it was more than animals. I got into veterinary medicine because of the people. People that I want to help. I have been blessed on many occasions with wonderful clients coming into my life. They became more than clients. They became friends and family to me.
Several years ago, I was called out to a farm to look at a baby donkey that was recently born, but not doing well. This little baby was very weak and sickly. This was a situation where the foal received little to no immunity and this was going to be an up-hill battle. In fact, a lot of these cases are near impossible to turn around. This foal needed a lot of care and attention. Unfortunately, that was not possible at the farm. I offered to bring the foal home with me. This was long before I had the staff I do now. It was just me and an assistant and a receptionist. I took the baby home and kept him on a blanket in my living room. I treated and monitored for about 48hrs and the little baby did not make it. The moral of this tale is that the client was so thankful for the effort and dedication that I showed this little baby that he was grateful and brought me a very large supply of country ham. We became fast friends for life. This farmer and his wife lived near us, and we formed this great connection. I am very sad to say that he passed away not to long ago. He is greatly missed, and his wife and I are still fast friends. She is my wine drinking buddy. She is still a client, but with the dogs now instead of the cattle and donkeys.
I have watched children grow up and have children of their own. It is crazy to watch them grow up and become wonderful individuals. I have cried over dying patients, I have held their hands when we made the decision to let them go. I have brought life into the world and helped escort it out. These high emotional times galvanize bonds are special and meaningful. Maintaining close relationships is what this is all about. I have spoken to veterinarians that go out of their way to avoid relationships like this, but it truly is the best reason to keep doing this job, to stay in this profession. Without them, it is just a high stress job, with a lot of cranky people and dogs that try to bite you.
I write this under the “Tales from the Vet Truck” because a lot of the relationships I have formed started on the farm or in someone’s home. Traveling in the vet truck really provided me a unique opportunity to really get to know people and that is a very good perk to this career.