I had a very busy Friday today, packed with interesting surgeries and medicine cases…one of those days that it is exhilarating to be a veterinarian. But among all of those exciting cases, it was a routine post-surgical re-check that stood out most in my mind.
The owner of the dog I was re-checking is a young mother of two children and owner of three dogs who I have been seeing for years. She is a personable, intelligent young lady, her children who she home schools always well behaved and so engaged in the veterinary visits, constantly asking me questions. Her husband, who I only see occasionally because he is often working, also seems like a nice, mild mannered man. Long story short, it is always a pleasure when I have visits with pets from this family. It was even more of a pleasure today. I always protect the identities of people I write about when blogging about my experiences, so for the sake of this article, let us call this lady Cheryl.
While I was tending to this Cheryl’s dog, another senior age lady was having her dog seen by the other veterinarian in my practice, who had to order a rather extensive – and expensive – work-up for her dog. She left her dog for testing right about when Cheryl’s dog was being discharged, when Cheryl overheard her in the parking lot talking to someone on the telephone about the measures she had to take in order to pay for the work-up (Cheryl never did share the details of what was said).
Upon hearing her, Cheryl came back into the hospital and asked my receptionist to pay $300 on the lady’s account, about half the cost of her dog’s work-up. Cheryl also asked that her identity not be revealed to the lady, opting instead to remain an anonymous Good Samaritan to this who clearly could use the help to pay for her dog’s health care.
Cheryl as it turns out, is not only the lovely mom, wife, and pet owner I have enjoyed working with for years, she is also the best kind of charitable person…the kind that gives for the sake of giving, wanting no recognition for her good deed, just doing what she feels is the right thing to do.
I was so moved by Cheryl’s selfless deed today, that on a day where nothing was routine, where every case challenged every bit of medical and surgical skill that I have, looking back on the day, all I can think about is what Cheryl did for that lady who she does not even know.
In a world where we seem to be increasingly prone to viewing the financial misfortune of others as being the result of some fault of their own, or increasingly protective or own bottom line out of the fear that the aftermath of troubling economic times has left us with; random acts of kindness seem to have become less abundant than in times past. Cheryl reminded me today of the goodness that still resides in the human spirit despite the world’s best attempts to squash it.
I hope in reading this post, you are inspired to engage in some random act of kindness, to do your own little part to make the world a little bit better by helping someone in need.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital and CEO/Chief Editor of the veterinary information and blog online community, Web-DVM.