Our Shoes | Boulder Animal Hospital |
The veterinary profession is difficult. There are many rewards, but it’s more challenging than most clients realize; emotionally, mentally, and physically. The difficulties apply to the entire staff, not only vets. I’m writing this to let the reader step into our shoes in the hopes of creating a better understanding of what we deal with in order to work towards the common goal of helping people’s animals.
On a daily basis we move from new puppy exams, to full blown crisis situations, to euthanizing people’s beloved companions. It’s emotionally draining. Our profession has a suicide rate outpacing practically every other profession, aside from veterans with PTSD. We’re solving concerned people’s problems from open to close, often without a break, every day of the week. We go home fatigued, mentally drained, with a pile of medical records to finish because we didn’t get a chance to sit down.
A handful of clients don’t understand this. They’ll complain if they’re inconvenienced when we’re 10 minutes late. They’ll call and demand to speak to a doctor, regardless of the situation. They’ll complain if they need to leave a message, even though at times it’s all hands on deck because we can’t find applicants (the entire industry is short staffed, in large part because of burnt-out people leaving the profession). They don’t want to hear their dog is aggressive, even though it just bit an employee. They wonder why they have to pay to reclose an incision after they didn’t keep an e-collar on their dog and it chewed out it’s sutures. For some reason they think that’s our fault. And about 30% of people complain about the price of care, even though we charge a mere fraction of human medicine. At the same time carry a higher debt load with the same amount of medical training and one-fifth the amount of pay.
We work in an environment with barking dogs jumping all over us and cats that claw us in a heartbeat. Seldom a day passes without getting hit with urine, feces, blood, or pus. Sometimes the entire combo. People wonder why we charge for nail trims when they can’t do it on their own (most times it takes 2-3 staff members). And there’s a phrase we’ve heard, “you don’t care about animals” when we don’t give services away even though we’ve dedicated our lives to the betterment of animals. Some people will flat out harass our receptionist over situations our employees can’t even control. It can all be a real downer.
On the other hand, most of our clients are wonderful and bring us brownies with thank-you cards. They thank us profusely when we save their animals. They give us hugs and sing our praises. They listen to our advice and trust us. That means so much to everyone in the profession, and it keeps us going. And ultimately, we understand that an angry client is venting because they love their pet and are advocating for their wellbeing. Anger often comes from worry, and worry comes from love. We love our pets too. We’ve chosen this profession because we care deeply about animals and we’ve dedicated our lives to helping them.
The missing link comes into play when that small handful of people forget we’re on the same team. We’re here to help, and we are always grateful for those of you who understand that. For anyone that’s reading this, I felt it was important to give a small glimpse into our day so that we can continue to work together for the common goal of serving the needs of your best friends.
Our Shoes | Boulder Animal Hospital | Rise Vet is Boulder’s new breed of veterinary care located in downtown Boulder. Call us today to make an appointment for your pet. We are located in the Ideal Market Plaza, right next to Sweet Cow Ice cream and are excited to open our doors to you and your pets. We serve pet lovers in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and surrounding Boulder County.