If you’re like me then you probably played around with the idea of becoming a vet when you were a kid. Everyone who is an animal lover usually does this, but only a few actually go on to become vets. It’s not an easy road to becoming a veterinarian. The schooling in long and hard – not to mention quite complicated between needing to learn the anatomies of multiple animals and also learning surgical techniques for all sorts of cases. While one would think that being a vet is a rewarding job where you get to play with cute animals all day, the reality is much grimmer. Being a vet can actually be quite emotionally taxing, as one veterinarian shared in a very sentimental post.
Dr. Tracey Lee Richardson decided to share a very real look at what it means to be a vet. Posting to Facebook, she shared that she had experienced a very rough day. During her shift, Richardson had to euthanize a dog that was quite sick. During this particular moment of euthanasia, the owner’s son was on FaceTime, singing a song that he had written for the pooch. As Richardson described it, “it was absolutely beautiful.” The vet immediately began to cry and stayed with the family to cry and comfort them.
It was after this emotional goodbye that Richardson said she had to go on and get ready for her next appointment of the day. The vet then said that her next patient wasn’t a cute puppy or kitten, but rather another ill dog whose time was nearing the end. Needless to say, it was a very difficult day for her. And while she does admit that sometimes it can get very overwhelming and difficult, she does still love her job. Despite the emotionally difficult parts, she doesn’t have any regrets about becoming a vet.
Still, the vet wanted to point out that there is a hard side to the job. As she wrote in her post, “This is a HUGE reason the suicide rate is extremely high in my profession. So please always be kind to your veterinarian and veterinary staff. Our jobs are much harder than we give off.”
And it should be pointed out that many people might not be aware of the fact that veterinarians have a very high suicide rate. And statistically speaking, according to TIME, female vets are roughly 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide as compared to the general population.
Not only is there the question of “compassion fatigue” that affects vets’ mental health, but also the owners of their furry patients can also greatly affect a vet’s mental state. As it turns out, vets often have to deal with being harassed by the owners. Many vets often report being asked to waive fees by people who don’t want to pay for their pets’ medical services. It’s not all puppies and cuddles.
Given the insight into what vets often go through, we should all have a newfound respect for our veterinarians. They truly pour their hearts and souls into keeping our pets happy and healthy.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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