Working in a referral practice, I get to learn a lot about clients’ “regular” veterinarians. I have heard a few less than stellar reports, but most people have nothing but good things to say about their pets’ doctors.

It is common knowledge in the veterinary profession that we tend to be judged not on our medical or surgical expertise but on our compassion. This certainly jives with what I hear from clients. I have, on a few occasions, had owners rave about their veterinarian’s technical skills or the way in which he or she diagnosed an uncommon or complicated condition with aplomb, but far more frequently the compliments center on how the doctor interacts with patients and clients. Doctors who are concerned, sympathetic, and engaged get the highest marks.

Of course, the greatest veterinarians combine compassion with medical and surgical expertise. Is your vet one of these gems? If so, now’s the time to brag about them. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) is holding an “America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest.” If you love your vet, nominate him or her through the AVMF’s Facebook page. In 250 words or less, explain why your veterinarian should be America’s favorite. Photos of your vet and/or pet can be submitted as well. Nominations will be accepted through June 1, and all types veterinarians are eligible (research, academia, military, large animal, small animal, etc.)

The winner will be announced on July 21 at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual convention to be held in Chicago, IL this year. If your nomination is selected, you will receive $250, travel expenses, and a free night’s stay in Chicago so you can be part of the AVMF ceremony at the convention. Your veterinarian will also win a trip to Chicago, a named donation of $250, and complimentary registration to the convention, which can run up to $850.

Even if your veterinarian doesn’t win, I’m sure he or she will be thrilled to be nominated. A bad day in the trenches of veterinary medicine can sometimes make even the best doctors doubt their choice of career. Make sure you let your veterinarian know that you nominated him or her. A little recognition of how their work is appreciated will surely put a smile on their faces.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Monkey Business Images / via Shutterstock