SaltWire E-Edition

Veterinarians require unique skills, great compassion


A veterinarian is not someone who simply loves animals; they are educated, grounded and compassionate.

They also must be intuitive, honest and open individuals. Because unlike many other medical careers, a veterinarian’s patient cannot tell them where they hurt or how they feel.

Like most medical professions, achieving the end goal takes time, commitment and a significant financial obligation. Individuals who desire to have a career as a veterinarian must complete an undergraduate science degree before attending a regional veterinary college. A doctorate in veterinarian medicine usually takes four years of intensive study.

Veterinarians often deal with stressed or distraught pet owners during appointments. They must be able to manage each situation by keeping the pet owner focused on their pet and forgive any emotional outbursts. It takes a remarkable person with a steady hand to hold things together every day. Therefore, their bedside manner is exceptionally critical to their success.

Veterinarians work long hours dealing with everything from vaccinating adorable puppies or kittens to holding the paw of a beloved pet as they cross the bridge. There are many challenges and demands they must deal with throughout their day. Some of those stresses may include delivering devastating news to a pet owner. It takes a remarkable veterinarian to enter an examination room without letting the pressure of previous appointments show in their demeanour.

A veterinarian's career can be rewarding and stressful at the same time. But add a pandemic and their days were turned upside down. Some clinics were forced to lay off full-time staff, including veterinarians.

Most clinics had to enforce a closed-door policy. This meant pet owners dropped their pets off at the front door and waited outside or in their car for their veterinarian to call. If you required pet supplies, prescription refills or food during the closed-door policy, you had to call ahead and a staff member would meet you outside for payment. Thankfully those restrictions have been eased.

I have had the good fortune to deal with wonderful veterinarians and have the utmost respect for them. Veterinarians may enter their profession because they have a natural affinity for animals. Whatever the reason, they have chosen one of the most demanding professions available in the medical field and we should support and have the utmost respect for them.

If you have a cherished pet in your home that has received outstanding or lifesaving medical care, please thank your veterinarian.

Please be kind to animals.

Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.





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