We were warned, early on, by professors and clinicians that it would only be a matter of time before we were believed to know everything about animal (and even human) medicine and be asked for advice from family, friends, neighbors…you name it. I will admit, I thought they were exaggerating. But alas, it’s true.
Even though I am certainly not a doctor, and just shy of completing my first year of veterinary school, this exact scenario has happened on a few occasions. Most recently, my landlord knocked on my door one evening a few weeks ago in a panic holding his small Pomeranian mix under his arm. Before I knew why he was at my doorstep, he began presenting me a history in which he and his dog has just been at the park next to our complex when he saw the dog eat a few wood chips. After this, the dog “just wasn’t acting right” and he was worried.
I explained to him that I was not a doctor, of course, but I would do my best to help him get his four-legged friend the best care I could. The dog was hypersalivating and seemed lethargic. However, he was not having any trouble breathing and allowed us to open his mouth. With my handy penlight in hand, I peered inside and saw a wood chip so tightly impacted into his mandibular gum that I could not loosen or dislodge it.
Feeling relieved that I had located the cause of the problem, I was able to take both my landlord and his dog to the local vet and safely remove the wood chip. Being able to help the dog and his owner confirmed for me why I want to enter this profession. The human-animal bond is very special, and I am so honored to be able to work to protect it every day.