Yes, I really do love, love, love my job. But not everyone is so lucky. Indeed, I believe all of us pass through a period where the veterinary life seems to merely limp along. Even mine did for a time (I credit blogging for dragging me out of the pit of doom.) Hence, why I so loved this line when I read it:

"In the hustle of a busy day, trying to balance appointments and surgery and medical records on the fly, squabbles to solve, equipment on the fritz and the fear of these new, leaner times in the air, it's as easy to forget the smell of puppy breath as it is to forget the smell of the mountaintop."

So intoned Dr. Marty Becker at the CVC conference in San Diego last week. Dubbed "America’s Vet" for his folksy everpresence on the Good Morning America and his "Chicken Soup for the Soul" style of charm, he inaugurated the conference with his 35,000-foot wisdom to great appeal, or so it would seem to me, given the stirring “puppy breath” line. After all, I think nothing recalls the raw emotions of a wannabe-slash-newbie veterinarian more than the smell of puppy breath.

All of which made me want to recall all of the many reasons I love my job. But it seems others have beaten me to it. Here’s the heart-warmingly low-tech video that scooped me. Nevertheless, I have my own list, too:

1. Creature comforts

Outwardly "evil" though they may behave at times, my patients are my raison d’être. They rock!

2. Bad days be gone!

Having a bad day? Kiss a kitten. Somehow this always works. Go figure.

3. Flexibility

Can you imagine having a job where, when opportunities present themselves, you can simply say, "I need x, y and z days off." Or, "I need to leave at x on y day for z activity." Well, I don’t need to imagine. I gots me one.

4. Financial upside

You won’t catch me mentioning this too often so hold onto your hats: Given how much fun I have at work, how can I possibly complain about getting paid half of what my human-care medical colleagues make?

5. Great people

Though I may complain over the two extremes that comprise the two tapered ends of the client bell curve, the majority of my clients are happy, well-adjusted animal lovers who do their best on their pets’ behalf. Nice people always make my day.


Are you a vet-industry person? Add your own reason. Even if you’re not, I know you’ve got an opinion on what it takes to make a great career choice — or a bad one — so offer it up...

Dr. Patty Khuly

P.S. - And thank you Dr. Becker. We all need a reason to forget the creepy-crawly clients, obnoxious stressors, and all-teeth accoutrements to our profession. "Puppy breath" rang just the right note.

Pic of the day: "Not the most cooperative of subjects...but certainly the most affectionate." by LensENVY