I honestly have the best clients in the world.
Even though I’d only been practicing for a short while, I really loved (and still love) my job. Going to people’s homes and treating their pets had its pluses and minuses, but it opened my eyes to so many different styles of pet-parenting, management, and the lengths people were willing to go for their pets. It also made me really good at dealing with cats – my experience with cats was really limited. The creativity that needs to be used in order to restrain a cat (or any aggressive pet) in its own house can be pretty crazy, but the satisfaction in seeing your plans work out is beyond anything else you could feel.
I decided to send a message to all of my clients, letting them know that I was leaving for another city to do my postgraduate studies, and that I was grateful for their support. I’d been thinking of leaving a farewell message for a while, and given that I am leaving tomorrow, it made sense to send all of them messages now.
So I formulated a general message, and sent it to all my clients whose pets I’ve visited on more than two occasions. I informed them that I’ll be leaving tomorrow to do my postgraduate, that it was a pleasure working together, and that I was grateful for their support. I didn’t really think beyond sending the message, and when the replies started pouring in, I was delightfully surprised.
Reading through their replies, I realised that my love for my job, and my love for their pets had reached them, without being distorted or misunderstood. I was really grateful to see them wishing me well for my future, and being sad that I wouldn’t be handling their pets any longer.
A few days ago, one of my clients wanted an on-phone consultation, and at the end of the consult, teasingly asked me as to when she’d see me performing surgeries and opening a private practice in a clinic or hospital. When I told her that I would be leaving the city in a few days to do my postgraduate program in another city, she whooped with joy, and heartily wished me all the best. I wasn’t used to seeing such shows of emotion from others, but hearing her excitement over the phone left me with a grin from ear to ear, and the warm, fuzzy feeling inside my chest at the end of that call stayed with me for hours later.
That call, and the replies I got today for my messages, made me realise that while your knowledge and skill as a doctor is very important, your passion and love for your job matters just as much. As ideal as it would be if all veterinarians chose this career path because they loved animals and wanted to work with them, it doesn’t really work that way. Some people land into this career by choice, but most end up here by chance, and not everyone loves animals, sadly.
As a pet parent, however, my love for my dog will help me recognise – and empathise – with another person’s love for their animal – be it any animal. And as a doctor, knowing how much a person can love the animal they take care of will help make the right decision – it might not be easy sometimes, but you will be able to make the right decision.
And even if you didn’t join the profession due to your love towards animals, your love for your job, and your passion to grow in your chosen field will show, and will make an impact on the people who require your services. Quite a few of my colleagues aren’t crazy about animals, but their passion towards their jobs, and getting better at what they do every day makes them excellent physicians and surgeons.
With time, anyone can become good at what they do every day. You can teach an unskilled person how to secure a cannula intravenously, and if they do it multiple times every day, they will be able to master it, maybe become better than you, even. At the end of the day, I feel, people will come to you because of how good you are, but people will gravitate towards you because of your passion for what you do.
Are you honestly the best you can be? Probably not, because tomorrow always brings with it the opportunity to become better. But the need to grow, to improve and be better can always stay at its peak, no matter how things change.
I did my best by all of my clients, and I’m truly grateful and humbled by the fact that they were able to recognise and appreciate that. As I finish my last bit of packing, I’ll carry with me the respect and affection I was able to earn from the people I was able to help.