My Pre-furred State of Being

I have spent my entire life wanting to be a veterinarian when I grow up.  I think there was a month or two when I was about thirteen or fourteen when I was really active in my church, and for those two months I considered that maybe I wanted to be a UU minister.  Well, when that month or two was over, I was back to wanting to be a vet.

 

again, me in my Preferred State of Being: covered in dogs

I started working at a local vet clinic when I was fifteen, and never really stopped after that.  In high school I went abroad for six months and obviously could not keep my job while I was on the other side of the world, but no worries!  I found a Clinica Veterinaria where I happily worked every Saturday morning.  When I returned to the states, it was back to work at the hospital, and after not working with animals for one measly semester in college, I never took a break again until my first real-life job.  I decided to take a break from veterinary medicine and try something a little more human oriented.  I thought maybe animals weren’t my thing anymore… after a year and a half of rape crisis work, I went back to the dogs (and cats and rats and bunnies and birds… you get the idea).

 

Me in Chile circa 2002. No, I didn't medically treat these llamas, but I may have tried to hug them.

The big thing that I didn’t do in all of this time was actually finish my classes to apply to vet school.  Every year I have said, “This year I’ll finally take X so that I can get my application in for next fall,” and every year something comes up: I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I refuse to skip my honeymoon so I can take the first Organic Chem exam.  Not the worst excuses, but finally I realized something.

I don’t think I want to be a vet.

That said, I do (of course!) still appreciate a face-in-cat situation. Even if the cat is slightly perturbed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to leave my job at the cat clinic and wondering what would come next.  I put together a list of the things I have loved about all of the veterinary medicine work I have done in the last almost-11 years (seriously, almost 11 years? Crazy!):

  1. Working with people and animals. One or the other doesn’t quite cut it for me.
  2. Troubleshooting with people about their animals, a la, How can we get your cat to take its pill? How can we help you transition a new pet into the house? How can we get your cat more active or your dog more engaged? etc)
  3. Working with the same people over time, and getting to know clients. I love recognizing people when they come in; I love that they know me by name and that I know them well enough to stop and say hello around town.

The thing I realized is that none of this is specific to medicine. So… here goes something else?  Monday was my first day of officially no longer having a full time job.  Of course, I still got up at 6:30, dropped my wife off at the bus, took the dog for a run through the woods, and then went to my volunteer position at a wildlife sanctuary.  As I pulled up to my driveway after all of that, I glanced up and there was a bald eagle flying over our house.

(this is not the actual eagle, but this is what it actually looked like)

I’m seeing hope around every corner.  Here I am, knowing that I’m on the edge of something big, and feeling like I’m waiting for it to materialize in front of me.  I have a petsitting business and a domain name – could I someday expand this to a training/behavior business?  Do I go back to school for something awesome?  Does someone reading this know exactly what all the signs point to?

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6 Comments

Filed under Menagerie, Vet school

6 responses to “My Pre-furred State of Being

  1. I feel really excited for you. I definitely feel you are on the verge of something big. Finding your calling. I’ll keep sending you positive vibes that you’ll find the perfect career soon.

  2. Kristine

    I think you are definitely on to something big. How exciting! I wish you the best of luck with discovering your true passion.

    It was only six months or so ago that I realised I have a interest in dogs. Isn’t that strange? Before that, I thought maybe I wanted to be a pastry chef, maybe a social worker, maybe an occupational therapist, maybe a lawyer? Heh. I am way too old to still be so indecisive. But now I think I want to eventually make money while playing with dogs. Just haven’t figured out how to go about that yet.

  3. My friends’ sister is in a similar position and she’s doing a program at NYU for animal behavior, instead of vet school! I think you have a natural affinity for animals, they’re clearly your calling, so something along the lines of pet-sitting, pet-training, maybe pet boarding, would be great!

  4. I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian as well and then one day I realized I didn’t want to /cure/ animals, I wanted to /teach/ them and their people how to be more awesome together. I hope you find your ‘calling’ 😀

  5. Goose

    I bet there are probably quite a few things that combine what you like and that you’ll find fulfilling, so maybe just doing more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t is a good first step. Glad you’re brave enough to search for something more and better…that’s brave and inspiring. I still have some guilt around getting an expensive graduate degree in elementary ed and not using it directly, but I’m happy I’m not doing something I don’t want to do simply because I felt stuck doing it.

  6. Your description of a “face in cat situation” made me smile. I totally understand that one.

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