Vet Blog

The Kindness of Strangers

November 19, 2019

Why veterinary medicine is a "people business"

A client comes in one day with a pet in critical condition. He was a small Chihuahua who'd been attacked by a larger stray dog. He needed very costly, life-saving surgery and follow-up medical care that his owner just couldn't afford. It was devastating. This is, by far, one of the hardest parts of what we do. While this pet's owner was being faced with one of the most difficult decisions of her life, another client was waiting in line behind her to checkout. Seeing what was unfolding before him and knowing the decision the owner would have to make, he did the only thing he knew he could do- he paid for everything. On top of the charges for his own pets. His generosity made all the difference in the world to this lady and her dog.

This is a people business. Over my nearly two decades of practicing veterinary medicine, I have heard "You are so lucky to get to work with animals because people are awful!" from friends, family, and acquaintances more times than I can count. Worse yet, when asking a candidate during a job interview why they would like a career in vet med, they answer "I love animals, I just hate people." Suffice it to say, those interviewees do NOT get hired. You cannot be successful in this industry without loving people and having a heart for serving them.

The purpose of a veterinary team is to educate, counsel, and empathize with our clients. We cannot be effective advocates for our patients (the animals which, of course, we do love) without building relationships with their people.