I have had a very recent lesson and insight into both the human and the animal bond that our profession fosters, with an annual event that VCSS presents. At our Celebration of Life on September 25, clients and referring veterinarians (in some cases, clients are also veterinarians!) are invited to enjoy an afternoon barbeque and a chance to meet socially. Pets are welcome, and this year’s event was another profound lesson in the importance of the very human aspect of veterinary care. I saw and heard such amazing expressions of appreciation from clients directed at every member of our team. There were tears and there was joy, as clients expressed emotions to our receptionists and to our technicians. Many current canine patients were in attendance, and in several situations, the “next” pet was actually there, with memories and pictures of the pet we actually treated. There were no cats present, as this was an outdoor event, but there were lots of feline patient pictures on cell phones!

I realized with a sudden insight that this event and the expressions of appreciation was also profound in its personal impact on our staff members; in the day-to-day bustle of doing our jobs, it is easy to forget how important all those relationships with are, and the appreciation our clients gain with the involvement of our team members. I saw receptionists and technicians equally overwhelmed that clients and patients were so happy and appreciative to see them. I think these bonds translate to every type of practice, and fostering the ability for our team members – technicians and receptionists – to be involved with and committed to our patients and their families provides rewards that are difficult to measure. It makes me proud of my team, of course, but it also makes me very proud of our profession. Doing our best to provide the best care to our patients has incalculable importance to our patients, of course, but also to our patient’s families, to our team members, and to ourselves. National Veterinary Technician Week is coming up October 16-22; this seems a very appropriate time to recognize the invaluable contributions our team members make every day. We couldn’t do our jobs without you!

John Wooldridge DVM, DACVS