Veterinary Teams – Show Your Empathy

A few days ago as I was driving home it occurred to me that almost everyone I know owns or drives a car.

Then I realized, even with that being the case,  few people know more about their automobile that what it takes to fuel it.  They take it to the car wash so it looks good and smells nice.  Maybe they even buy fancy rims or seat covers to make it stand out.  But, how many could change the oil, clean the fuel injectors, adjust the transmission or simply change a tire?  Yet America loves it’s cars.

For more years than I care to tell, I have been working with veterinary clients.  Similar to car owners they rarely understand much more than basic pet “maintenance”.  They feed various qualities of food based on price, marketing hype and slim animal nutrition knowledge.  They take the pet for grooming so they look good and smell nice, buy them spiffy collars, sweaters and the occasional Halloween costume to make them stand out.  People love their pets. 

Are you seeing the pattern?paw_charities

Everyone is an expert in their own field.  Perhaps your clients build houses, are IT professionals or teach math at college level,  but they don’t live in the animal health world – our world.   When veterinary teams understand that the pet parents who walk through the door of a  veterinary hospital have the well being of their pet at heart but are not veterinary care experts, we understand the need to work harder to communicate our message…in a way it can be understood.

It is easy to be “judgey”- I know because I have been there.  Highly outraged that the owner of that emaciated dog didn’t notice sooner, or that the kitten anemic with a flea infestation was presented only after it collapsed, I have fumed.  As someone who has always believed my job in veterinary care was to be a voice and a champion for my patients these events are hard to tolerate without some self-righteousness showing up.

But then, I step back and thinkthey don’t know  what I know, don’t have the education I have and they haven’t seen what I have seen.  It is then I tell myself,” don’t  judge…at least they are here now….at least now I have a chance to educate them  so these issues don’t happen again.”

Ignorance is not a crime – lack of empathy for our fellow humans should be.   Learn to TEACH not JUDGE.

After all – I can’t repair the car I drive everyday.  Can YOU?

 

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