I received extremely sad news from a former co-worker that one of the first vets who I worked with had suffered a heart attack and passed away suddenly. I was extremely shocked. As I grieved the loss of a great man who taught me so much, I reflected on the impact he had on my life and the lives of so many other people and animals alike.
I was fifteen when I began working as kennel staff in the small animal clinic that he and his wife owned. The only thing I knew when I applied for and accepted the position was that I wanted to be a veterinarian one day. I had never worked as staff at an animal clinic; my only experience was shadowing doctors for a day or so at a time. He took me under his wing and helped me embrace my passion for helping animals as a member of the veterinary profession, even as a kennel assistant. To him, your staff title didn’t mean anything. He treated me with respect from day one, gently guiding me to love veterinary medicine even more every day.
He shared stories of his vet school years with me. He made me even more excited for my future. During the three years I worked with him, he brought me into exam rooms and trusted me to assist him in physical exams, procedures, and surgeries. The genuine compassion he had for every animal and owner that walked through the clinic doors was awe-inspiring.
The world lost a wonderful soul. I can only hope that when he crossed the rainbow bridge, he was met by every beloved four-legged friend whose life he touched. As I continue my veterinary journey, it will be my goal to ensure that his passion for our field lives on in everything I do.