Holding On To What Makes You Happy As A Veterinarian

Veterinarian uses literature to help other veterinarians and veterinary students find joy in profession.

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I’m guessing that when you realized you wanted to be a veterinarian, it wasn’t because you were super excited about doing paperwork or thinking only about the science side of it.

When was the last time you took a step back from your day-to-day veterinary life, away from your clients and patients and even from your staff and practice and reflected on why you became a veterinarian or why the job makes you happy?

The Society for Veterinary Medicine and Literature wants you to remember the reason, as well as help veterinary students hold on to that reason. “Literature can help them retain their sense of joy about becoming/being a veterinarian,” Dean Elizabeth Stone, DVM, MS, MPP of the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College said, according to The New York Times.

According to their website,  “The Society promotes the reading and discussion of literary works to explore important issues in veterinary medicine—and for the intrinsic pleasure and value of reading and discussing good literature, a way of renewing one's joy in being a veterinarian and a human being. It also promotes the exchange of ideas between writers and veterinarians, animal scientists, animal behaviorists and others interested in animal life, and among the different areas of veterinary medicine.”

Sometimes it takes looking at something differently to renew the happiness you once found in it.

Dr. Stone and Society co-founder writer Hilde Weisert believe that literature is a way to enrich the veterinary profession and the relationships that go along with it. Robert Frost’s poem “One More Brevity” is about rescuing a Dalmatian, becoming his owner and subsequently losing him – a situation many of us (and probably several of your clients) have experienced. Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman is a fun way for young children to simultaneously learn to read while focusing on one of their favorite animals – one you’ve probably treated.

Stone and Ms. Weisert saw this connection and initially turned their idea into a reality at North Carolina State University where the elective course they taught used animal-themed poems and stories to discuss ethics and debate life-or-death decisions veterinarians have to make. They also used literature to help veterinary students cultivate relationships with their patients and clients. From there they’ve done several readings and released an anthology.

Every year, they welcome incoming Ontario Veterinary College students with a Mark Doty poem called “Golden Retrievals.”

Why did you become a veterinarian? What about your profession makes you happy? Let us know in the comments.

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