As veterinarians, we are interdisciplinary by nature. We have a foot in many different fields from animal welfare to policy and from food safety to zoonotic disease. Our professional decisions and actions are broad and far-reaching.
This also means that we encounter a lot of potential criticism for the decisions we make, because they not only affect many people, but they also impact them in very personal and highly emotional ways.
Sometimes, this revelation terrifies me, because I know that I can’t please everyone. Yet most of the time, it inspires me because it shows me how much of an impact veterinarians truly have. The human-animal bond is woven through everything that we do. From a puppy that walks into the clinic for its initial exam to the 16-year-old senior dog whose owners are weighing his quality of life after chronic illness has made his pain barely manageable, we need to tailor our compassion and empathy to a wide range of situations.
All animals have a human who is responsible for them, from wildlife to livestock and companion animals. As veterinarians we are advocates for our patients, clients, and the world they live in. A daunting task? Of course. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.