Two smiling vets with a dog held between them.

What Does It Mean To Be A Vet?

Many of us watched Dr. Doolittle or read the book. And many have wished in some way to be like him too. Some of us never grew out of that dream. So, what does it mean to be a vet?

Being a vet means loving animals, working hard, and helping owners through difficult decisions. Being a vet isn’t easy as it comes with many difficulties, but in the end, it’s worth it to help all the patients and the people who love them.

What Does It Mean To Be A Vet?

As a vet, I think I can say every vet would give you a different explanation about what it means to be a vet, but we will all have one thing in common – the love for animals and the profession. Let me tell you from the start, it’s not all flowers and rainbows, we just make it look that way.

You can’t (and shouldn’t) be a vet if you just like animals. This is harsh to say, but it’s important to know. A good vet loves the profession. Because as a doctor, you have to make sure your patient’s life and welfare are the priority, not just your love of them. 

That means sometimes being the person to tell an owner bad news. That means sometimes failing in your job even though you’ve given it your best, but you have to keep going because you have more patients and owners to help.

There’s a lot that goes into being a vet that just isn’t fun. But there’s a lot that makes it joyful and worthwhile too.

A Day At The Office For A Vet

A woman vet getting licked by a dog she's holding.
Sometimes being a vet has its perks and its downsides…

Most of us usually get to work, make ourselves a cup of coffee, and chit-chat with our coworkers before we start working. That’s not always the case for vets. Many times, we are rushed to work, to come even earlier than we need to because an owner has an emergency with their pet. By the time it’s 10 A.M., you have already gone through a couple of patients, and you still haven’t had time to smell, let alone taste the first-morning coffee. 

At the end of the day, we walk in the kennels, just to make sure one last time that the critical patient we operated on this day is okay and on the mend. We always take that luggage with us home, asking ourselves: did I give the pet all the medicine, is it in pain, should I phone the night shift and ask them how the dog is doing…In short, shifts don’t end for us when we get home.

However, it is not always like that at practice. Yes, it pretty much depends on what type of facility you work. If it is a referral hospital, it can get crowded, and it is pretty much always all hands on deck, but even there you can have an easy day too. 

Pediatrics Day

For me personally, as a first-opinion vet, I love pediatrics day. That means when my whole day is filled with puppies who come in for either their first vaccination, for deworming, or they just come with their owners to visit the vet (Editor’s Note: vets provide lots of services like these!). There is nothing better than spoiling puppies and kittens and making sure their first visit at the vet is not always about being poked and touched in a way that is uncomfortable. Vets are known to be huge users of treats and puppy spoiling. 

Some Of The Bad Of Being A Vet

Have you ever, as an owner, felt you were ripped off by your vet? Have you ever thought vets make a lot of money? Not all of us, but in general yes, this is a well-paid profession, especially for specialists working in referral centers. 

But, did you know most vets graduate from vet school with huge student debt? Did you know many of the vets had to leave their hometowns and move to study and work? We know it’s expensive. We are also animal owners, and we pay for our pets too. 

At the end of the day, we love your pets, even the snappy ones. We love to make them feel better and take away their pain and suffering. There is no greater feeling when you reunite a dog or a cat with its family. And we do our very best to do that. 

Sometimes it’s hard though. We feel for you when we tell you you need to let go of the pet you’ve been living with for so many years. We cry behind the door too because we knew them since day one.

Conclusion: What Does It Mean To Be A Vet?

Our job is as easy as it is hard. But we knew that from day one. We love it, we do it, and we’ll continue to do it. It’s one of the noblest professions in the world. It’s hard being the one who helps those who cannot say where it hurts, but it’s worth it each and every day.

So, just try to remember to thank your vet the next time you see them. It really makes our day.

Did you learn anything surprising about being a vet? Are you planning on thanking your vet the next time you see them? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva, DVM, PG Dipp (Anesthesia and Analgesia) Nade is a young veterinarian from North Macedonia, with five years of experience in small animal clinical practice. She graduated from the Veterinary Faculty in Skopje, after which she got employed in her hometown. She has shown great interest in the field of pain management and anesthesia, and was the first vet in the country to continue education in the field. In 2021 she graduated with Distinction at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, obtaining the title Postgraduate Diploma-Anesthesia and Analgesia. Nade is owned by a year old black Labrador retriever named Fred and she loves spending her time outdoors with her dog and friends. In her spare time, she also loves to learn to play the guitar and take photos of nature and animals.