It’s the holidays, and that means lots of things: peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
Just kidding, it means cranky people fighting in the parking lot, someone getting shanked over the last PlayStation, and passive aggressive fruitcake gifts.
I wasn’t always this cynical. I, too, was once a merry-eyed elf with stars in my eyes and garland round my neck, until I worked long enough in veterinary medicine. Then I began to dread the month of December. It is a month of ill portents:
- Too many people who blew their budget on Black Friday, cannot afford to work up their cat’s pancreatitis, and then blame it all on you in a waiting room explosion worthy of the Fourth of July;
- The strange but consistent uptick in euthanasias the week before Christmas. Always.
- Wondering where your card is from your favorite client then remembering with a pang of pain that they lost their dog to cancer in October. Yes, we feel sorrow for your pets. We love them too.
- Hearing the two most dreaded utterances in veterinary medicine:
1. Fifteen minutes of telling us how every vet before us has wronged them, but we are awesome.
We’re not flattered. We’re terrified. We know it’s only a matter of time before we’re next on the naughty list.
2. The four words you must never say: “Money is no object.”
Translation: That’s because we have no intention of paying the bill. Been there, done that, many times.
So please forgive your vet if they seem a little more harried than usual, if their eyes are open a little wider than normal or their smile seems a little strained. It isn’t you. It’s December and they are bracing themselves is all. Should you wish to improve their month, aside from being the lovely clients I know you are (and appreciate more than you know!) I propose the following ways to make some vet’s day a little merrier:
- Food, of course, always loved. Make sure to include the staff in the note. Usually they work as hard or harder than the vet and get none of the glory.
- Did I mention food?
- Cards. We read every one, especially on the bad days. I still have some from 2003!
- Pictures of your pets. They make me smile and I love them.
Feel free to send one to your favorite vet. Trust me, it’s as good as cookies.