A Farm Vet's Gratitude
Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. As we enter the holiday season, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on just a few of the many things that I am thankful for on a daily basis:
5) My Profession – While spending a hefty proportion of my work day with my arm inside the business end of a cow is not exactly glamorous, I am proud to be a part of this small group of hardworking, compassionate professionals. Although I am a single-doctor practice, I have a strong support system of fellow veterinarians to celebrate successes, commiserate over the hard times and discuss challenging cases.
4) Beautiful Farmland – I spend many hours on the road, working as a farm vet in central and Eastern Virginia – 23 counties in all. Sometime it would be nice to have less windshield time in my life, but I would be hard-pressed to find a better “office” view. From the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, I appreciate all that rural Virginia has to offer.
3) My Family – Right now I’m in the midst of fall calving season, one of my busiest times of year. I cannot adequately express how thankful I am for the support of my husband and children. They welcome me home at any hour and in any condition. They are always happy to hop in the truck with me for an emergency vet call. The life of a livestock veterinarian is unpredictable, and they keep it running smoothly for me. I am also thankful for my parents and sisters, who have also tagged along on emergency calls and altered holiday plans allowing me to be more flexible for my clients.
2) Cows...and other Farm Animals – I am constantly in awe of these amazing creatures and their ability to feed and clothe us. Whether it be a placid Hereford moseying down the chute with grass hanging out of her mouth, a tremendous Holstein producing 200 pounds of milk per day, a determined pot-bellied pig avoiding a pedicure, or a mischievous goat stealing supplies out of my toolbox while I work, these animals provide me with challenges and amusement each day.
1) The People, the People, the People – While a love for animals led me to become a veterinarian, the job is truly all about people. Whether it is bringing new life into the world, maintaining the health and welfare of a herd, or relieving suffering at life’s end, there is nothing more rewarding to me than the relationships I’ve formed working side-by-side with farmers who labor daily caring for their animals. It is the people that make working through a polar vortex or a heatwave or a midnight emergency in the rain completely worth it. We share in our successes, cry over heartaches and brainstorm to find solutions as we strive together to provide the best possible care for their animals. I am filled with love and admiration for the people I am proud to call clients, neighbors and friends.
Being a veterinarian is so much more than a job. It’s a calling. And it is a good life that I am ever thankful for. I am extremely grateful to be involved in agriculture every day. It’s a wonderful feeling to contribute to the production of food, such a simple, basic need. So this holiday season, my wish is for everyone to enjoy a hearty meal and a full serving of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!