A Pet For Everyone
07/09/2010 - Acts of Patriotism
The best way to fight compassion fatigue, which is quite simply the wear and tear on our emotions as we do our work, is to have compassion satisfiers. These are the reasons we wake up in the morning, pull on our scrubs, and head off to the practice or facility where we work. For most of us, at the top of that list of satisfiers are the animals we have the honor of helping. While we adore some animals and merely tolerate others (depending mainly on their attitude when they see us at work), there is rarely an animal that fails to make us smile. Whether it’s the smell of puppy breath or the tiny mew of a kitten, the little ones tend to be the best creatures ever. I am reminded of this once again as I pause to watch my new yellow tabby kitten, Thomas O’Malley, play with his own shadow!
It’s funny, while I describe myself as a ‘cat person’ for the most part, I have also found great joy in what the profession calls “pocket pets.” Dwarf hamsters have been amazing little personalities in our household, and my first ever guinea pig has been one of the most expressive critters I’ve ever known! What about you? Are you a traditional dog or cat person, or do you share your life with other types of pets? If so, then you know how friendly a frog can be, how to make a hermit crab happy, or perhaps find fish to be more your speed. Rather than just settle on one, you can be like me and have a wide variety of animals enter your life.
When in practice, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the bond between a non-traditional pet and the pet owner if you cannot or have not shared that type of relationship. While we may not understand why someone would adore a snake, nonetheless if our practice sees exotics, then we must take what we know of our love for our own pet and assume the same love exists between that pet owner and their snake. Even if you’ve never seen the appeal of a reptile, you must honor that bond when one comes through your doors. It can be difficult to say the least, but we must respect these relationships regardless of the type of animal involved. There is a match for everyone out there!
Our clients expect us to understand, and it will also help us enjoy our jobs more, when we can connect even just a little bit with the pet that comes into the exam room. At home, we should indulge in the human-animal bond by having our own pets to adore. Animals are job satisfiers when we’re at work and the love of our lives when we share a home with them. We have every right to enjoy that love, and not just when we’re on the clock.
When it comes down to it, I would be hard pressed to say just which of my pets I love the most. Between the dog, four cats, two bunnies, guinea pig, hamster, and Glow fish, I know that I have enough love to go around!