Try playing a word association game with someone using “Cavalier, King.” What first came to mind? I suspect that the vast majority of people would think of LeBron James before the dog breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. There is no understating how much LeBron James has contributed to the sport of basketball and American popular culture in general. He is a household name who has influenced countless athletes, young and old. “The King,” apart from his many accolades, particularly stands out to me as being a consummate professional. He is a true leader who exudes professionalism, be it in the form of expecting the best from his teammates and getting them to play better or taking a minute out of a game to high five a Special Olympian. Off the court, his philanthropy is inspiring and commendable, especially that done to help his hometown of Akron, Ohio. But what is the connection between James and veterinary medicine? I honestly have no clue, but I do know that we can learn from his attributes to better ourselves as veterinarians.
When I tell people that I am studying to become a veterinarian, I often hear something along the lines of “That is such a noble profession.” I wholeheartedly agree. I want to help alleviate animal suffering but also want to educate people as how to best prevent it in the first place; after all, this is a professional commitment. Veterinarians are blessed with many skills to do good in this world, so we must be cognizant of this responsibility and take advantage of our skills. We need to inspire our coworkers (our teammates) to do their best job. We need to be self-critical and always strive to improve, even if others treat us like the MVP. We need to take into consideration clients’ financial constraints (and our own for that matter), doing our best to positively impact the lives of our furry friends and the people who care for them. LeBron may be “The King,” but in the veterinary game, we are all royalty and need to act accordingly.