A couple of years ago, I came across an article on the horrific problem of suicide in the veterinary profession. As a lifelong pet owner who’d had my fair share of vet visits, this came as a shock to me, as I’d always thought of veterinary work as a “nice” job for an animal lover.
I mentioned the article to my vet during one of my dog’s regular acupuncture appointments and he told me that 3 of his classmates from vet school had already taken their own lives.
As the owner of a dog with many chronic issues, I am a frequent flyer at the vet. On a recent visit, I witnessed abuse of vet staff by a fellow client who was angry at having waited 15 minutes for her dog to be brought out and refused to pay for blood work that had been needed to diagnose her pet.
Last month, my dog’s vet went to visit his father who was dying and ended up being stranded 50 miles from work due to weather-related road closures. He was criticized for not having “planned better” and expected to give discounts for needing to reschedule.
Too often, pet owners forget that vets and vet staff are people with lives, feelings, and families. It is behavior such as the above in addition to stressors such as compassion fatigue, financial burden from student loans, and burnout that cause the veterinary profession to be one of the highest in suicides and suicidal ideation.
In the 2+ years since I first read about this problem, I haven’t seen much increase in attention to the subject by the general public. While organizations such as Not One More Vet are doing their best to provide support to veterinarians in crisis, no real change can take place until pet owners start doing our part not just by helping to spread awareness but paying attention to our own behavior and treatment of vet staff.
As a pet owner with the ability to create websites and graphics, I decided it was time I started doing my part. My goal is to create a collection of social media posts, infographics, posters, etc. on a variety of topics that can be shared and printed to educate and encourage open discussion of this critical issue.
Feel free to contact me with post ideas and suggestions, but please note that my ability to create new content depends on how much time I have outside of work.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find this site useful!