When I tell people that I am a veterinarian I am always asked what kind of animals I work with. I go on to explain that I actually only see animals with cancer, whether they are cats, dogs, ferrets or rabbits (and hopefully, one day, horses). Ninety-nine percent of the time the reply is "How sad, how can you be around such sick animals all the time?". Although there are aspects of my job that are sad there are many more aspects that are happy, exciting and emotionally touching.
Prior to becoming a veterinarian two of my own dogs were diagnosed with and treated for cancer. I was devastated, but I was so thankful for the help of the veterinary oncologists and technicians who were there to help me and help my dogs. That is the happy part of my job. I have the privilege of being the veterinary oncologist who is there to help people and their pets. I am able give people more time with their best friend and I can help sick animals feel better. There is nothing that makes me happier then seeing a smiling owner being pulled across the waiting room by a tail wagging dog or seeing an owner snuggling their purring cat.
At the Veterinary Cancer Center I also have the unique opportunity to be involved with research and clinical trials. Many of these clinical trials are looking at medications and treatments that will not only benefit our four-legged friends but may also help humans with cancer. Being on the cutting edge of cancer research for humans and animals is very exciting and rewarding!
Another aspect of my job that I find very rewarding and touching is being able to help someone say goodbye to their best friend. There a few things more difficult then making the decision to let your friend go. I consider it a sacred responsibility that I am trusted to help an owner say goodbye and allow that animal to transition peacefully. I am honored to be present in the last few minutes of a long relationship and hear the words of love and thanks that all owners have for their pet as they take their last breaths. Yes, it is sad but it is important and I am a better person and a better doctor because of every euthanasia that I have performed.
The Veterinary Cancer Center