Happy Veterinarian Appreciation Day 2023 from Vets Are People Too

Veterinarian Appreciation Day 2023: 5 simple ways to show appreciation to your vet

To veterinarians and support staff…

On behalf of animals and pet owners around the world who can’t or won’t say it, to veterinarians everywhere—pet vets, farm vets, wildlife vets, zoo vets, and food animal vets—and their support staff who work day and night for the love of animals, I would just like to say “thank you.”

Happy Veterinarian Appreciation Day 2023

To all vets and vet staff, thank you. Happy Veterinarian Appreciation Day 2023.

For pet owners…

5 simple ways to show appreciation for your vet on Veterinarian Appreciation Day 2023

Drop off treats

Vets and vet staff regularly skip breaks (including bathroom break) and lunch because they can’t leave their critical patients. Dropping off treats like cookies and donuts can help to boost morale and blood sugar. Just keep in mind that some staff might be allergic to nuts, so be sure to label your treats carefully. It may also not be a bad idea to check with management if they have policies regarding food gifts for the safety of their staff. If food items are not allowed, consider another way to show your appreciation.

Be patient

Pet ownership boomed in 2020 due to social distancing and remote work brought on by COVID-19. Companion animal vets’ workload almost doubled overnight and vet hospitals around the world struggled to keep up with the increased patient load. Even though the pandemic itself may be over, the results of the pet owernship boom it brought on isn’t over. Most vets are booked out at least one month ahead these days to no fault of their own. Be patient, schedule your pets’ care early, and don’t take it out on support staff who are trying to help get you in to see the vet.

Be kind to their staff

Veterinarians couldn’t look after their thousands of patients (yes, thousands) without their support staff. That includes receptionists, vet techs (or nurses in some countries), kennel assistants, and everyone who makes your visit possible. Vet hospitals are often dealing with staff shortages, which is unfortunately directly attributable to the abuse that they receive regularly from pet owners.

Receptionists often bear the brunt of complaints about costs, though they have no control over pricing. Vet techs/nurses and kennel assistants are regularly berated by impatient pet owners unhappy with wait times. These personnel are responsible for dozens of critically ill or injured patients—not just yours.

A vet receptionist once told me they cry regularly cry in their car after work due to the way they’re treated by the pet owners they’re trying to help. A vet nurse (in another country) told me they and their colleagues get PTSD from being threatened by clients. These are main reasons why vet appointments take longer and longer: staff quit for the sake of their own mental health and clinics become more and more short staffed.

Respect your vet’s education and experience

Your vet worked hard to be able to be there for you and your pet. Starting from high school (or earlier), they had to study hard to get good grades so they could get into the right college and vet school. They studied for 8 years (or more) to earn their degree in veterinary medicine. And they’ve been working overtime—often without bathroom or lunch breaks—since the pandemic began to care for all the pets we adoped during lockdown.

Google is convenient, but Google didn’t spend 8 years earning a degree in veterinary medicine. It didn’t spend its summer breaks interning in hospitals and being trained by experienced veterinarians. Google hasn’t examined or treated any patients.

If you’ve asked for an appointment, that means you know that your vet knows more about how to help your pet than Dr. Google. Even if you don’t agree with a vet’s opinion, you should at least respect the fact that it is given based on 8+ years of education and x number of years of real-life practice—and out of genuine love and concern for your pet.

If they had wanted to become a millionaire, there are many easier career options that pay a lot more wiithout the daily risk of getting bitten, scratched, kicked, and peed and pooped on. So, even if you don’t agree with a vet’s opinion, there’s never any call for personal attacks and accusations (privately or online.)

Say “thank you”

Believe it or not, this common courtesy is often forgotten by pet owners. Say “thank you” to your vet, the vet techs and assitants who helped take care of your pet, the receptionist who signed you in and checked you out. Without them, your pet wouldn’t get the vital help and care they need.

* * *

These were just a few suggestions for how to show your appreciation to your vet. Veterinary work is physically hard and emotionally taxing. Doctors and techs/nurses are on their feet without many opportunities for breaks throughout the day. Witnessing the suffering and death of animals on a daily basis is not something they can simply clear their head of at the end of the day.

When pet owners yell at them, accuse them of only being in it for the money, and not ccaring, it makes it all the worse and is often the tipping point. Kindness and a simple “thank you” cost you nothing, but it can make all the difference for those who are already struggling.

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