A quick Google search in vet news turned up at least three US vet hospital fires in the last month. Another guy a couple of months ago got extra press for his heroics in getting everyone out safely--but his whole place burnt down.

Now that’s a bad day. While he received accolades for managing to get everyone out safely, I’m sure his life has been a living hell since the TV vans packed up and moved off. “Great,” he must’ve thought. “All this publicity—just when I have no ability to take on new clients.”

I only hope all these hospitals had solid business insurance treating them well as they get their life and their practices back together.

We all know that phoenixes rise from ashes, as was the case here in Miami after one hospital, thoroughly decimated by hurricane Andrew almost fifteen years ago, grew wings big enough to win a Hospital of the Year award in Veterinary Economics Magazine. Thirteen years later this practice in southwest Miami is still thriving. If these vets caught up in their fires and their aftermath manage half as well they’ll be stylin’ for life.

Such optimistic thoughts were dancing in my head when I heard about a less publicized vet hospital fire here in my hometown on Monday. Somehow everyone had heard about it but me—I’d been off galavanting at the conference and hadn’t heard the news. I learned of it when yesterday's last client of the day came in with a new patient—referred over to us as a result of his regular vet’s tragedy.

Though all the animals had been saved and the building was intact, the business had been forced to shut its doors for an indefinite period of time after the flames wreaked their havoc. And now this hospital’s clients were off looking for new places to take their pets’ emergencies.

I couldn’t help thinking: Even if this place rebuilds and recovers, the damage has already been done. How do you get all your clients back? While many vets will be keeping a list of the clients from this hospital and faxing their records back to their original doctors, I’ve got to assume that not every vet will be taking on this extra assignment. After all, these are great clients! If they’re happy, why send them back?

That’s when I got to musing some more: One thing is having to close your doors after a natural disaster strikes everyone around you. Another is knowing you’re the only loser in the area…the day before a nearly-averted stock market crash with a recession looming on the horizon. Ouch!

The truly faithful can say, “God works in mysterious ways.” The rest of us have to content ourselves with hoping we’re strong enough to power through. I hope both thoughts are uppermost in my colleagues’ minds as they face their new challenges. May the force be with them!