I've been a vet for 10 years. Started out as a large animal vet, mostly dairy cattle, just north of Madison, worked as an emergency vet, and most recently (about three years ago) worked for 10 months as a monkey vet, which was the low point of my career.
But in between, for six years, I ran a mobile small animal practice in Madison, WI and the surrounding area. I loved coming into people's homes. Usually, the people and the animals were more comfortable than they would be in the traditional veterinary office. I saw a wide variety of animals, but mostly dogs and cats, and often geriatric animals. I made a lot of friends, animal and human. I had alot of adventures during this six years, and with my other veterinary work. People (like my mom, in particular) often say I should write it down. I did this work right up until the time I started at the Primate Center here in Madison. A horrible place to work, to be, for animals and humans. I left after ten months for medical reasons and have not worked formally as a veterinarian and I miss it.
I'll run into former clients at the coop or in the park and they'll tell me of their animals. Its been a long enough time period, that many times they'll say something like: "Remember old Rex? We had to put him down a year ago." Then we'd reminisce about what old Rex did and how much fun it was for me to visit him, the way he would great me with his whole body wriggling barking with excitement, even though he knew I was going to do something unpleasant, like give a vaccination or express his anal glands!
Today I received an email from a former client telling me that her wonderful dog, Will, has lymphoma. She's seeing a vet who is a friend and an excellent practitioner. So Will is in the good hands of my vet friend and the loving hands of his owner. I remember Will the first time I met him. A large German Shepherd, I have to admit I found him a bit intimidating. He had that big bark and a posture that told me in no uncertain terms that this was his house and his yard. Over the years I watched him grow from a young dog to a middle-aged dog. We became, I think, friends. Now, he's an old dog. I haven't responded to my former client yet. She's doing some alternative treatments which I'd like to know about since I'm always looking for new ideas, new learning. But really what it's about is connecting with her and her dog, that timeline we all three shared for a good number of years. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll go visit, if that seems appropriate. Pay respects to an old friend. I'm not sure. Right now I feel sad. Like I always do when a former client tells me their pet is dead or dying.