Last week, the last Saturday of April marked World Veterinary Day. On this day we honor those workers who have devoted their lives to the health, care, and welfare of animals.
Vets endure a lot. While some dogs love the vet, most pups find the clinics to be pretty scary places. They get poked and prodded by strangers. They have to stand on a not-very-stable-feeling scale. And the smells are just plain weird. But the vets and their techs are always ready with their treats. My vet always has cookies and cheese whiz at the ready to pacify a nervous dog.
One of my dogs gets so barky at the vet that instead of sending him away (like one of his obedience schools did), they suggested that I bring him around more often. Not for an appointment but just to go inside and hang out. And so we did. This boy still barked, but as a tech took him around to meet everyone without me, he slowly became more acclimated. He learned that not everyone there wants to hurt him, and he learned that if he sat quietly, he could get a treat. He sat quietly for so long that he earned himself a ridiculous amount of treats. It got to the point that he didn't want to leave.
My dogs' vets are the most wonderful people. While the one dog has been apprehensive, the other one absolutely loves it there. She shows up with wiggles and wags, thrilled to be there. In seven years, she has had lumps and bumps that have had to be removed. When she was attacked by other dogs, the vets have carried her into the examination rooms. One vet once gave me some frightening news about my girl and then showed extraordinary kindness as I unsuccessfully tried to hold back tears. I trust them completely with my pups and am more grateful than I could ever say.
These days, vets are among those on the front lines. They are caring for pets during a time of quarantine. They continue to show professionalism in anxious times, and keep our best friends healthy.
Even though World Veterinary Day 2020 has come and gone, our pets' doctors can always use appreciation. I refer my vet clinic to as many people as I can because their care is precise and exemplary. I also send them thank you cards and have brought them cookies to say both "Thanks" and "Sorry" about my grouchy pup. As we thank our first responders and those holding society together, let's remember to include vets in that group. Our pets are family, and when they're ill, we feel pain too. Without vets, that pain would be even greater.