Why I am a vet

 Andrea muses on why she is a vet, and why she would still chose to be a vet….

“If I had a euro for every time someone said to me “Oh, you’re a vet. I would have loved to have been a vet!”, I reckon I could have had a nice foreign holiday on the proceeds by now.  Ever since the day I entered vet school, I have felt proud to be part of such a highly-valued profession.  Of course there are times when one does not feel so valued …there are days when it seems that every animal you meet hates you and that you are constantly giving people bad news about their animals.  However, when asked about my job, I still feel pride in being a vet.  To be a vet is a fairly noble calling… I know we are not responsible for world peace or anything, but vets are people who decided to commit themselves to caring for animals.  Helping sick and injured animals and advising people on the well-being of animals is at the heart of what most vets do every day.  This is more than just a job, it is a vocation.  Veterinary medicine is not a 9-to-5 job that finishes when you go home every evening; practising vets in Ireland must provide a 24 hour service to their clients, 365 days a year.

So what advice would I give to someone thinking about being a vet?

1)     Realise that every animal has a person attached, so vets need to like people as well as animals in order to do the job and enjoy it;

2)     Being a vet can be very rewarding but it is not as well-paid as some people might imagine.  There are better paid (and easier) jobs out there… so this is not a career to enter for the money;

3)     A veterinary medicine degree is very versatile ….there are vets working with farm animals, pets, wildlife, in research, in animal nutrition, in public health, in drug development, in education, in government, and in other fields of science.

I have met vets who say how all-consuming being a vet is and that, if they have their time over, they might opt for Engineering or something with more regular hours.  It is only fair that people realise this about veterinary medicine.  As for me, I still would not change my original decision….I think back in particular to a sleepless night spent treating a small dog that was having seizures from eating poison.  I brought the dog home and treated him throughout the night while waiting for the poison to leave his body.  My cats were not impressed at all by their new housemate! In the morning, the dog finally recovered, woke up and immediately tried to bite me!  He did not appear to appreciate my efforts and his owner was probably unaware of the night of work that went into keeping her dog alive.  However, it is one of my proudest memories to this day.  So personal satisfaction is a big part of what being a vet is all about!”

Andrea Dwane MVB

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