When you save an animal's life. When you save an animal's life or some little old lady comes in here and gives you a hug because you have saved her animal's life. That's what it's all about. Some people don't think it is. Some people think it's money. The most rewarding thing to me is what I do for the animal.
Even if you love animals, success in veterinary medicine depends on how much we love the two-legged creature at the OTHER end of the leash! You want to avoid people who work with animals because they do not like people. They may not say this outright, so again be on the lookout for nonverbal communication.
Probably the biggest thing I dislike about it is having to put up with the general public. I don't mind the hours working. Some people do, not me. But, people griping, complaining about a bill or, you know, it just kind of¦you can be having a great day, and somebody come in and complain about their bill, and it just ruins your whole day. That's the thing that I hate about it. I really do.
You may already know the answer to this from their interview paperwork, but it is still good to ask. Many people probably still do not know that NAVTA has the AVA designation and there are formal programs, both online and in person, available to train an AVA.
When I was doing large animal; obstetrics, delivering calves, doing that was the most exciting part of the practice. Because every one was different. The exciting part of what I enjoy doing more than anything in this practice is surgery, whether it's general surgery or whether it's emergency. I enjoy it because it's just me and the dog in there, and one other person. I think it's probably the most rewarding part of this thing is the surgery that you do: the saving the lives, the making lives better. I just enjoy the hell out of surgery.
I like the challenge of diagnostics. I like the satisfaction of saving an animal's life. I like the things that we do to make animals live longer, live more productive lives, spaying and neutering, and all healthcare. Now our cats are living to seventeen or eighteen years of age, and our dogs are fifteen and sixteen, and when I started practice, if you had a fourteen-year old cat, it was old. And then once in a while, it's rewarding when somebody comes up and thanks you for what you've done for (Fifi) or (Foofoo). If money was in it, I wouldn't have done large animal. Because large animal[care] was rewarding; delivering calves and treating sick animals, and the fire engine calls were lots of fun, but there was no money in it. There never is any money.
That we make lots of money. That is the most common misconception. We are probably the lowest paid of all the professionals. If you talk about lawyers and dentists and even chiropractors. You could even put chiropractors in there. You know, we're probably one of the lowest paid professional group that there is. That's the biggest misconception. That we are filthy rich, and we ain't. We just¦we're just about like anybody that has a business. Just making it¦
I grew up on a farm and I enjoyed working with the animals there. And we had an old time veterinarian there that was pretty rough around the edges. I worked farm animals, I worked for people, I did routine healthcare for sheep and cattle and things, and I just kind of migrated that way.
At some point I finally decided that was what I wanted to do for my life's work. I knew it when I was fourteen or fifteen years old, but it's something that takes many people a while to figure out. There's some place along the way that the light finally comes on and says, This is what I want to do. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's what most people in veterinary medicine do.
Not only do you want to know why they chose to come into the profession of veterinary medicine, you also want to know why they chose to be an assistant versus a front office person or veterinary technician. In other words, are they only interested in the veterinary assistant position because that is the only opening you have right now? Ideally you want someone who enjoys and chooses to be a veterinary assistant for his or her own personal and professional reasons.
Diagnostics. The animal has very little ability to tell you where it hurts; whether they're feeling better or whether you're doing the right thing. You have to rely on the owner, you have to rely on the sixth sense. Diagnosing sick animals is the most challenging part of it all¦Diagnosing and being able to have a working relationship with that animal to know whether it is doing better, and taking history from the fifteen to twenty minutes you spend with a person in there¦I can't have somebody come in with a sick dog, and drop it off and say, Here, fix it. Because I've got to have a whole lot more information than that. Diagnosing sick animals is probably the most difficult and challenging of all the things that we do.