Last month I conducted a virtual careers talk.
A local school had identified that they have several pupils that might want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. They asked me to offer some insight into the reality of working with animals.
I have frequently attended careers events at local schools, although never before via a laptop camera.
It takes me back to when I was that age, and making a similar decision.
With the benefit of several decades’ worth of maturity, I can now recognise that my choice to work with animals was based on a false premise.
I thought the huge advantage of working with animals would be that I would not have to interact with people. The truth is that being a vet for pets is as much about communicating with pet owners, as it is about being able to understand a pet’s woes or diagnose their problems.
Luckily, there were six years at vet school to help me broaden my horizons and prepare myself with better communication skills.
At school I was perhaps a little too bright for my own good. I recognised that I was low on the popularity stakes, and was frequently bullied. Sometimes I felt that only animals were kind and gentle enough not to want to tear a piece of my spirit out. At least if an animal attacks, it is usually for an honest reason.
But although my reasons for choosing this profession may be suspect, I am so very grateful that I did.
It gives me a tremendous sense of wellbeing to know that I can be of assistance during a crisis. That I am the person pet owners can turn to when they feel helpless in the face of a pet problem. I love the trust that my animal patients generally show me, and I never take offence at the odd one who fails to love me.
Better still, I am now surrounded by team members who respect me, and by clients who frequently leave us five-star testimonials so that if ever my spirits drop, I can remind myself that what I do is valued and appreciated.