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When I had to leave Hannah the student behind

I love having vet students with me.

It keeps me on my toes, helps me to remember to articulate the thought processes in my mind, and forces me to re-question each step that I take. Sometimes they update me on new thinking or ideas, and I find that I tend to get as much from their presence in the practice, as I hope that they get from being with us.

But one year, I found a more practical use for a student.

We rarely make house visits, but I had been sent out to a collapsed large dog who could not be safely transported into the clinic. It sounded like it might be very urgent, so I only paused long enough to grab the visit box, pre-packed for such eventualities, and my student, Hannah. 

This was in the days when you still had to rely on maps and the client’s description of how to find their home. We headed out into unfamiliar territory, and I was grateful to Hannah for navigating us there whilst I concentrated on the narrow roads. 

Our business satisfactorily completed, we were able to relax and think about lunch as we meandered home. The sun was out, it was summertime, and a lovely drive. We were just passing a petrol station when I realised that we were rather low on petrol. I congratulated myself on noticing, and pulled in to fill up.

It was only after I had helped myself to a tank full and reached back into the car for my purse that I experienced that dreadful sinking feeling when you realise you have done something really stupid. I had left my handbag at the clinic.

“Hannah, do you have any money on you?” I asked, hopefully.

It seems we had both left without any means of paying. 

With some trepidation, I decided I needed to speak to the person on duty. I offered to leave my student behind as surety, and nip back for the money. Apologising profusely, and promising to return briskly, I abandoned her. Driving home, I gave myself a good talking to, including such thoughts as to never ever go anywhere without the means to pay for petrol again, and what if another emergency crops up, and will Hannah ever forgive me?

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