Saturday, January 25, 2014

The final question

Last year, I was emailed a two year follow-up survey from my alma mater Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Overall, I feel it is one of the best veterinary schools and my degree prepared me reasonably well for practice. The final question on the survey had me take a moment to ponder.

"If you could do it all over again, would you still become a veterinarian?"

Hmm...all of it?

I thought about the mental/physical/emotional and financial costs of school ("Vet school broke me" one friend lamented years later), after spending my whole life trying to get in. I thought about doing all of that for the privilege of entering a profession with huge mental/physical/emotional and financial costs. I thought about all of us who paid the ultimate price with our marriages and relationships. I thought about doing all of this against a constant backlash of "vets are evil/ignorant/drug-pushers/money-grubbers".

I also thought about my clients who trust me with their most beloved family members, who are scared and confused until they have me to tell them what to do. Clients who won't listen to advice from the internet or from their sister's neighbor's cousin's friend who's "had dogs forever", until they've run it by me. I thought about puppies who are ecstatic to see me at their second visit, about split second decisions where I literally saved a life, and about helping a soul pass peacefully to the other side.

On one particularly bad day, I texted my veterinary BFF, Meredith, saying "If I'd known the price I would pay to do this, I'm not sure I would have", and she responded with a supportive message that ended "Just remember you have friends who know firsthand the price you pay every day".

Oh, and the final question? I clicked YES.