“If I had a dollar for every time I have been to the vet with a sick or injured fur darling…” Actually If I DID have a dollar It might even have helped pay for some of the exorbitant bills we have encountered over the years. But I digress.
Although I was always a nervous wreck and deeply concerned about darling fur darling, there was never a time in which I wasn’t completely comfortable about the level of care my fur darling was getting. I have met some incredibly caring, involved, kind, reassuring, concerned and gentle Veterinary surgeons who do everything they can to help both my fur darling and me. They seem to have inexhaustible empathy and regard for their patients and their owners. We have never seen a time when either my fur darling or myself have been put through unnecessary pain or worry. Even during follow ups or check ups, the nurses/receptionists are always kind, respectful and never rude, cold or disinterested. They know this is difficult for you and your fur darling and they want to do everything they can to make things a little less stressful for you all. Believe me, it is deeply appreciated. We even get calls and reminders about check ups and requests for feedback. In fact the whole thing is a very humanizing and caring experience and in stark contrast of when I go to the doctor, specialist or hospital!
Although I am still a paying ‘customer’ we are treated at best with indifference and at worst with something approaching hostility. No warm welcome. No smiling. No kindness. No reassurance and definitely NO empathy.
I remember the terrible time we had to bid farewell to our fur baby and we were inconsolable and shaken. The nurses rushed to us with a box of tissues, asked us if we would like to sit for awhile in the staff lounge while we processed everything, for which we were truly appreciative. Contrast this to the times I have been white and speechless with pain, throwing up, shaking and crying. We were left in this condition, in clear view of many other patients and waiting for nearly two and a half hours in this state. Much of this time my husband was left standing trying to hide his discomfort while focusing on helping me get through this terrible ordeal. No tissues, no words of comfort. No matter! I think it is fair to say that both professionals are paid, in fact the average pay for a Vet nurse and Veterinary Surgeon( $19.90 p/h and $40K – 90K) is far less than that of a Registered Nurse and GP ($29.97 p/h and $128K) yet it is clear that their are clear differences in levels of empathy and care.
This is clearly based on my own experiences and I won’t pretend to speak for the rest of you but I always intend to speak my truth, and therefore I will continue to do so. The last time we took little Master Cocker Spaniel for his vaccination, I was wheeled into the examination room while little one was sat up on my lap where he loves sitting no matter how much it hurts. The vet took him gently from my lap and placed him on the table, praised him for being such a handsome little devil and plied him with liver treats and patted him the entire time. Although he wanted to come back to my lap he was quite content to gobble down anything Dr Andrew offered and wouldn’t leave until he was sure there were no more tid bits on offer. During this time he was examined, weighed, temperature taken, gums checked, joints felt, tummy rubbed and finally injection given at the back of his neck. I was moved by how caring and supportive the whole experience was and while I was in such pain at the time there was a very real drawing for me to climb onto the table along side my fur darling to see what compassion feels like. To be touched by someone who might be lurking inside.
You see, it strikes me that although Vets can never know the language of their patients, ask how they are feeling, or even explain what is happening to them, they learn how to show kindness, compassion and care with their hands, their hearts and their eyes and that is what makes all the difference.
Will we never truly understand everything about the challenges that others face or ever know the exact words to say, but we can always afford some compassion, care and kindness with our hearts, our eyes and our hands; no matter who we are.
I have asked my husband that if ever I am truly in need of help and relief please, please, please take me to the Vet.