As in most other professions, in veterinary medicine, we are often exposed to some of the worst examples of the human race. It is not uncommon to hear statements like, “if this [treatment of the pet] is going to cost me more than 50 bucks, I’ll just take her home and shoot her.” Meanwhile, people of this ilk may drive a huge $60,000 diesel pick up truck, and/or wreak of alcohol. Obviously there is money available for the truck and the booze, but none to get treatment for the loyal companion who never asked to be owned by such scum.
Then we get home to see political scandals, violent religious fanatics, con artists, and gang violence on the news to further contribute to our overall disillusionment with humanity. Sometimes it is enough to make one feel as if it is pointless to try to infuse good into society by making the world better and safer for animals, by not only treating their illnesses and preventing disease, but also by changing the hearts of those who are ignorant to the fact that animals feel pain, cold, and hunger, no differently than we do. Why bother? Doesn’t life prove time and again that people are inherently bad, perhaps that it is actually the minority, not the majority of people that have a conscience, that have the ability to act selflessly, and that want to make meaningful positive contributions to society?
While some of my colleagues may have occasion to despair when having the unfortunate circumstance of crossing paths with less than honorable people, I do not. To be sure, it saddens and frustrates me to have interactions with people who possess little compassion or exhibit lack of moral values, but it is experiences like the one I had today that sustain me through these times, reminding me that there are great people in the world.
A new client came in today with a feral cat that she had been feeding for a few days since she recently moved here. She and her husband moved here because her mother and mother in law are both quite elderly and stricken with dementia, and she refused to put them in homes. Here, she was able to find a large enough parcel of land where she could have a house for she and her husband, and also have room to have a separate cottage built for the mother and in law to live in – all this while having access to an Alzheimer’s resource center and support group in the area. She had retired early to care for these ladies full time.
She had planned to take in the feral once she had her house settled, but she found the kitty flat out in her garden this morning, unable to move or walk. When the kitty was brought in, she was poorly responsive, and after a thorough examination it was evident that the kitty had experienced a significant trauma, perhaps a fall, hit by car, or kicked by person. After we determined that there were no serious internal or external injuries, we administered symptomatic care which perked the kitty up, and were able to discharged her.
This person who had just met this cat, did not refuse one diagnostic or treatment, and happily paid her bill without even blinking an eye. She also intends to keep the kitty as her pet and assume all responsibility for her. The owner was especially grateful that the visit did not take as long as anticipated, so she could get back to check on “the girls.” She could not have been more sweet and personable.
I so enjoyed my interaction with this new client that I felt compelled to blog about it this week, as a reminder those that may have occasion to lack faith in the human race. While you have every right and reason to feel the way you do, just remember that this lady and others like her exist.