The people here Clappison Animal Hospital could almost be considered “unsung heroes” for all they may go through day in and day out. This job can be smelly, dirty, emotionally draining and sometimes can feel completely thankless. Veterinary staff endure it all for the sheer love of the job and a deep-rooted passion for helping animals.
Not just one person
Every one of us here plays the part of more than only one person; We are not just a Doctor, Nurse, Assistant or Receptionist. We are surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, radiologists, ultrasonographers, manicurists and pedicurists, groomers, comforters, chew toys, scratching posts, wrestlers and cleaners. We are even urine and bowel movement celebrators or cleaners depending on the situation. Our days involve a lot of poop and pee and sometimes worse, and on occasion, it has found its way on to us!
Not all Pets Love Us
Most pets can be the sweetest, kindest little friends at home. However, a visit to see us could be the complete opposite of that. On occasion, we have been face-to-face with what seems to a flesh-eating beast, gunning for blood. We have to know how to work with these animals to keep everyone involved (owners included) safe. I can’t tell you how often an owner has been bitten hoping to help thinking their pet wouldn’t harm them. Though we are trained on how to restrain these very unhappy pets, we too have our share of “battle scars”. Ask any one of us we can tell you a story about them all!
Each of us here has the opportunity to continue our education by attending numerous seminars. Online webinars and meetings with many different companies to make sure that your animal will get the best, most up to date care possible.
Our workday doesn’t end
While most people can leave work behind at the end of the day, we seem to take it home with us. We have this ability to acquire pets much like squirrels gather nuts. In this industry, there is no shortage of abandoned, orphaned, injured critters that need a helping hand. We spend much of our day caring for these poor creatures and usually end up adopting many of them ourselves. We also spend much of our time transporting some animals (i.e. injured or orphaned wildlife) to other facilities better equipped for them.
The Physically Demanding
A gym membership? Why? Every day is a work out for us. Many of us are average size people, but sometimes we possess the strength of the Hulk. We have had to carry massive dogs, lift many up and down off of tables. We could win a grappling match with about any animal and begin a Zumba or yoga workout at pretty well anytime.
The Mental and emotional toll
Compassion Fatigue is defined as “a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create secondary traumatic stress for the helper.” This is one of the most common concerns for many staff members at veterinary clinics. We routinely deal with situations from very ill pets to emergencies and end of life procedures. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard these situations are on all of us. We are all in this industry because of our passion and devotion to animals but also to the families. When you as a pet owner are stressed, concerned and worried we are working hard to make them feel better and get them back to you and your family. When you are grieving for them, we are silently grieving on our own as well. We are blessed to see many new puppies and kittens come from a family, and each year we watch that pet grow with those families. Many of us bond with the families over the years and when that precious pet nears the end of those golden years we too feel the heartbreak.
Now with all of those points mentioned above would any single one of us change a thing? Nope. Not! As mentioned above, we have an undying love for animals and are passionate about being an advocate for your loving pet.
Written by: Amy Hanchiruk, Animal Care Assistant