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Friday, September 25, 2009

Do you love your job today?

I have been primarily a rescue vet for several years now. I provide veterinary care for animals from shelters, and rescue groups in group quantities on a much more frequent basis than the individual pet owner client. In a town of only 1200 people, the quantity of individual pet owners is limited, and I have had to create this niche for myself. I offer rescue care services at significantly discounted rates. I do more work for less money.

Every once in a while, I get to feeling a bit slighted. Why is that vet worth more than me, as they drive by in a Cadillac Escalade. My student loans are probably higher than his are! I work more hours than he does! Not to criticize what other vets are doing. I don't know any vet that does not work hard. It is the nature of this business. Things happen in spurts. You will have 6 emergencies one weekend then none the next two weekends. You will have a day with nothing but routine vaccine appointments, then suddenly EVERYONE wants to get their pet in today because it is sick! Veterinarians work very hard for their money. So why am I so willing to work so hard for less money? Am I hurting my kids by not making more money to put away for their future? Am I hurting myself and my husband because I am not making as much money to invest in our retirement years? Am I hurting my kids because I am never home on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons with them? (Do they even still show Saturday morning cartoons? Maybe not with kid networks doing what they do... I don't know...Do they still call them cartoons?)

I have learned a lot of things about myself. I have learned that I am willing to make less money for myself if it means I can assist groups with few funds but huge hearts. I am willing to work hard for less money if it means feeling good about what I do.

I still worry that I will regret doing this in my retirement years when I wish I had put away more money. I still worry that when my kids are ready for college that I will wish I had set aside more money to help them.

But there is something that I do not worry about. I do not worry about what my kids will think of me. I hope my kids will someday look back at what their Mommy has done, and say to themselves, "I hope someday I can make a difference." I just hope that when they are doing whatever they want to do, that they take time to help others. Maybe they will help fundraise to fight cancer in children. Maybe they will read books to the elderly people in assisted living. I hope I am there to see it, so I can tell them how proud I am of them.

Although I have those days when I feel does not outweigh the days when I feel so fulfilled. I look into the eyes of the animals that truly need help, and I help them. I give them what they need. I tell them as I put them under for their spays or neuters "Don't worry, you are going to a wonderful new life." They are going home. They may not be going straight home, most likely a foster home first. Some of these animals have never left a cage. The experience of a home and family for them will be frightening at first, but they adapt, and they experience something new...something wonderful! Some of these animals were left by their families. Often heartbreakingly so. These animals are getting a second chance to be loved.

The biggest benefit is the people for whom I do this all this work. The volunteers for the rescue groups, the volunteers for the shelters...they are doing the best part of the job. They are watching these animals grow, experience, learn, and forgive. They are falling in love with these animals. They are watching these rescued animals from all different backgrounds meet their new families for the first time. They are then letting them go. Often heartbreakingly so. And they do it for free.

What better type of person is there with which to surround yourself?


ameow2002 said...

Just gets better and better! Worth the wait when they are this good!! WE appreciate you. And remember at the end of the day that YOU are the only one that has to live with the choices that you made. Some of us have bigger hearts and some have bigger wallets. Just depends on what is important to you and where your priorities are. Can you buy happiness and personal satisfaction? How bout a room at the final resting spot in the sky? Me thinks not!

Anonymous said...

I'm an old lady of 65 now and I made the same sort of choices you have do what I felt was right over what was profitable. I don't have much money but I have everything I need and we never went homeless or hungry. Are you making the right choices...absolutely.

Mary Delaney said...

I think you already know you are making the right choice. You can live with this choice, not just today, but as your children grow up and choose their life's paths you'll see how it has influenced them. My parents weren't perfect, but at 53 I remember so many small things they did...buying me my own flag when I was very young and teaching me flag etiquette...explaining that animals had exactly the same feelings I did...showing me to respect elderly people and their knowledge...taking me out on the water and learning to sail and appreciate marine life...
I don't know if you believe in God or not, but I know he will always provide what I need. We have a roof over our heads and take care of our animal family. The bills are paid and some weeks there isn't much left over. We could have chosen more lucrative professions and given away less of our salaries to animal shelters and sanctuaries but we made our choices.

lana schippers said...

The thing is...we all get up in the morning because we love what we do...or we make enough that we ignore the fact that we hate it....every once in awhile people get both. I think what you and people do in rescues is for the animals...they put them before anything else...that is why we volunteer, because we love and care about animals. I hope your choices keep you happy and sane, it is hard to do everything...and make everyone happy. Rescue in itself is's easy to help...not easy to swallow the politics within. Keep up the great work...when people feel your passion good things folow wherever you go. Lana