November is a thankfulness, gratefulness, “feelgoodness” kind of month. I, for one, am grateful to be a veterinarian and honored to have had many, many animals in my home and under my care.
How many animals, you may ask? In our home, the peak was maybe 16 to 17 great pets: always several dogs; 10 cats at any give time; guinea pigs and chinchillas and parrots and parakeets and several little animals running about.
And patients? The number is well over 10,000.
A Veterinarian’s Fantastic Journey
On my first day of vet school over 30 years ago, I left my South Philadelphia teeny-tiny, 12-foot-wide row house. Betsy Ross’s house, a few blocks away, trumped our house for diminutiveness — it’s only 9 feet wide.
My 1-year-old twins and my very special and supportive husband were on the little stoop of that shotgun house as I left for the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School.
That was the beginning of a career that has given me a world beyond my greatest dreams, a great financial debt and thankfulness each step of the way.
Pets Who Have Thanked Me
Every animal I have helped has thanked me back tenfold. I remember the happy paw of the dog who ate 3 pieces of underwear and went through exploratory surgery. That paw thanked me, and I thanked him back.
There was the kitty suffering from severe pancreatitis who began to eat again. She rubbed her face on my hand as she gobbled up some food. She thanked me, and I thanked her back.
There was the rabbit with a severe impaction who felt better and ran to eat fresh greens. She thanked me as she ran to her salad, and I thanked her back.
There was the egg-bound bird who felt great again after passing that egg. She chirped my ear off and thanked me. I thanked her back.
P Is for My Pets and Patients
Every day that I come home to a licking, jumping, happy, barking or meowing friend, my soul is lifted. After a day of helping ailing pets and feeling their thankfulness, I am grateful for veterinary medicine and the love animals have given me.
E Is for a Pet’s Essence: Love and Affection
On any given day, world politics may upset you, a human may have treated you poorly or you’ve run into some bad luck, timing or car trouble.
And then you can go home to your animals who give you unconditional love and affection. They love you if you’re cranky. They love you if you’re tired. They love you if you’re happy. They love you if you’re sad.
To them, it’s not a good or a bad day. It’s your day to be with them, and they love you for it.
T Is for Time With Our Pets
Whether you’re walking with your dog on any day, rain or shine, sun or snow; snuggling up with 2 dogs and 3 cats on an old sofa; or watching your bunny dance about, your guinea pigs dive into their veggies or your bird talking to you from the other room, the time we spend with our pets is precious. They know it, and we know it.
Get a few belly laughs in with this tongue-in-cheek take on what dogs and cats are grateful for:
S Is for the Sanity Our Pets Bring Us
Yes, sanity! If you have lost it during a difficult day, look to those fabulous animals of yours and center yourself. They give us a new perspective on life, bringing with them the calming power of joy and love.
They give us so much. I really have no words to describe what our pets give to us. If you do, give them in the comments below — we’d love to read how your pets make you feel.
May you give back to your pets and your loved ones this Thanksgiving season. Remember: Not too much turkey for Uncle George or, likewise, George the dog.
And may your November days of thankfulness and “feelgoodness” remain with you throughout the year.
This pet health content was written by a veterinarian, Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD. It was last reviewed Nov. 23, 2016.