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Learn to not be judgemental

It’s Tuesday morning after the long weekend, in Ontario it was family day. I spent yesterday morning visiting with my sister and her family after a ‘sleepover’ with the nieces. It’s back to work today, but I say this post on Instagram and wanted to share. First, the image was blocked due to sensitive content, so I didn’t look at the image until after I read the post - copied below. If you really want to see the original post, I’m sure you can find it on Insta. But the reason I wanted to share the post is because of the script. It talks about how veterinarians need to learn not to be judgemental.

Posted @withregram • @drgerardopoli I CHALLENGE you not to JUDGE! It’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to look at this image and hear what happened without judging. However, I believe it is VITAL as vets we learn to be non-judgemental when it comes to what happens to pets, as it could just save your career.

I know this is terrible to look at 😢 ... it was caused by a toddler who put a hair band around the cat's neck, just before the family went on holiday, the cat was then cared for by an elderly family member who did not notice it and it remained there for around a week.. I can hear your scolding questions as to why and how this could have happened, and whilst that is a justified and natural reaction, I want you to shift your perspective for a moment. Imagine how devastating it would be knowing that your young child did this to your beloved pet, then how you would feel walking into an animal hospital and having to tell the truth, knowing the judgement you will face, but putting that aside to get your pet help.

You only have so much energy, conserve that energy for building bonds with owners, not wasting it on draining emotions such as anger, resentment and judgement.

I really believe that learning not to judge the negative, but rather focusing on building a connection with owners and working towards developing solutions around the care of their pets, is a much more powerful and positive way of being. You will find you will get to the end of busy day not feeling drained and frustrated, but grateful and feeling like you had a positive impact.

When clients come in with their pets, you have to be able to read them, read their body language and the intonation in their voice. When a patient comes in in such poor condition, and you start thinking why did they not come in sooner? You have to start thinking, they are here now to help their pet. Thinking back to our breast cancer dog, I could have gone into a spiel with that owner about how this was preventable, instead, I let the owner know she did the right thing by bringing her in. I had to let her know that her dog was suffering, but it was not the time to go into my educational spiel about spaying of female dogs. That spiel was missed early on when her dog was young and healthy. This was not the time. Instead, I let the owner know what was happening now and my best recommendation for the dog. I also knew that I could not let this dog leave our hospital because she would die in transport. That meant euthanization at a much reduced cost than we normally would charge.

In a different scenario, a dog comes in with terrible ears, and the skin around its eyes and mouth is raw from rubbing. The owner thinks the dog is dying, but it likely has allergies. Turns out he had gotten the dog from his son, due to changes in his son’s household. But this ‘new owner’ didn’t keep him on his allergy diet, he bought something else. Taking a simple stepwise approach, with a lot of follow up, will help this dog and owner get back on track.

Yes, I feel terrible for these dogs and seeing them in the condition that they present to me breaks my heart. But that means being an advocate for the pet in a compassionate manner and working with the owner, so that the owner can then go forward with the information needed to care for their pet. Try to approach the situation as a team, you, the owner and the pet need to win together.

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