With the school year in full swing, classes are striking out with a vengeance (not literally), and preparations are underway for my class to start junior clinics. Pretty soon, we’ll all be busier than we ever thought.
As part of a series of pre-clinical orientation seminars, I spent the last two weeks discussing various aspects of the human-animal bond. I think it made me think more proactively about several aspects of our profession that I hadn’t thought of before. I’m not sure this is a good thing as I’m already extremely undecided about my career path, but it’s still fun to think about the possibilities.
The basis of the seminar focused on the special bond that people share with their pet, their service animals, and even animals they work with. It made me think back to my first pet and my first experiences with the human-animal bond.
My very first pets were two hamsters. My mom is not much of an animal person, so I was never allowed to have a non-caged animal, but we decided hamsters were a good alternative. I had an albino long-haired that I named Cotton, because she looked like a cotton ball when she slept. I named the other 8-Ball because of the pattern of her coat coloring. Cotton and 8-Ball were the same breed and got along pretty well, although they did fight occasionally. Unfortunately, 8-Ball died after about 3 years, but Cotton lived for about 7 years and I had grown especially close to her.
I kept Cotton in a cage in my room for the most part, and she learned how to be a bit of an escape artist. However, instead of breaking out and exploring the apartment, she would actually crawl up into my bed and nuzzle up with me (which of course, would scare me when I was sleeping, but whenever she broke out of her cage at night she always came to me). I used to talk to Cotton a lot, and I think it’s fair to say that she was my first confidant. I took it pretty hard when Cotton died, but she still has a special place in my heart.
I try to keep this perspective when discussing the interactions between people (and potential clients). Sometimes, from the outside, the way people interact with their animals can seem a bit far-fetched, but I think there’s something special about the bond that people and animals share, and it should be cherished. Each day on this vet school journey brings a different aspect about the profession to be excited about, and I’m looking forward to learning more and honoring that special bond shared by people and animals.