It’s not just a job… it’s not just a pet… by Dr. Brenda Gough

I love my job. 20 years later I still LOVE my job. Because it’s not a job, it’s who I am.
I love my patients. 20 years into this and I still LOVE all my patients. Because they’re not just pets… they’re someone’s best friend in the whole world.

Will Rogers stated it very well.  He said, “To me the best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter…he’s just got to know.”  That statement was in a plaque on the wall of my father’s vet clinic from the time I can first remember, and now it’s on the wall in my office, inspiring me every day.

What other profession can you do the things I do in a day, and have it feel so incredibly rewarding. Happy days, sad days, angry days, frustrated days. That’s all part of it. And I love it.

I have seen many of my patients now from the time they were puppies and kittens, noseprints on my glasses and batting at my hair and stethoscope, through their adult years including the exploratory surgeries to remove the thong underwear, the feline blocked urinary tract issues, the broken bones and the cruciate ligament repairs, the pancreatitis from eating the Christmas turkey, and the middle of the night emergencies because so-and-so got skunked. Then into the senior years, where their cataract riddled eyes still look at me and then at the cookie jar and the tail still wags but they maybe can’t run over to greet me as fast. Or the senior cat who’s weight is down to nothing, thanks to good old hyperthyroidism.

I’ve seen it all I think, and then there’s something new I can learn every day, and I love that.

My work is challenging at the best of times. Like Will Rogers said, they can’t speak – so we have to read the body language, the physical signs, and interpret the tests as best we can to come to a diagnostic conclusion. Thank God there are always other vets to bounce ideas off of!  It’s so rewarding when we can figure it all out and come to a consensus that leads to that pet fully recovering!

I’ve said hello to many and goodbye to just as many, each one as hard on me as the last one… knowing that as we say goodbye, my client who has now become my friend over the last umpteen years, is now saying goodbye to their very best good friend. I wipe my tears away, then put on a big grin and walk into the next exam room to greet a golden retriever puppy who will be my next adventure for what I hope is a good long relationship.

Pets become family, clients become friends, and every day presents a new face,  a new fan of the cookie jar liver treats, and a new adventure through all the life stages!