I believe that the most important lesson learned in my 35 years on this wonderful globe is compassion. However, it seems that some people do not believe in the goodness that compassion can bring. My focus of this essay comes from a personal experience during the summer of 1995 in Long Beach, California.
Working as a kennel attendant at a renowned animal hospital, the experiences I had were not entirely good, or bad. I always believed that the main reason for me working with animals was compassion. Unfortunately, some Veterinarians do not think along the same guidelines.
The hospital offered a “wildlife” program to help those animals that people had found injured, without any cost to them. Amazingly, this program offered treatment for everything from pelicans to iguanas. The program was great for the animals, but some it seemed not so fair.
During the Sunday emergency A.M. shift, a veterinarian doing his residency was on call that morning. I had worked with the new doctor all week, and found out that he also believed in compassion. However, the doctor decided to look at the new animals in the wildlife program brought in for treatment. In the bunch was a small dove that received a broken wing, and some trauma. The dove was still alive, but was not doing that well.
The new residency doctor then decided to administer the dove a little Valium for the pain. The Valium was locked in a box that only the head Tec’s and doctors had the key to open. At that moment I knew that this new doctor had a heart the size of the Pacific Ocean, and that compassion was swirling within it’s waters. After the doctor gave the dove some ease for it’s pain, the head partner, whose name I will not say, came through the treatment area to check up on the new doc. The head doctor scolded the resident for wasting the Valium on an animal that was going to die anyway, and then euthanized the dove! At that moment I knew that compassion was not the only driving force behind veterinary medicine.
The resident doctor continued his day at the hospital, but never happy with that head doctor. Later, we talked about the incident together and tried to make sense of the situation. I told him that I believed that compassion was the key to the veterinary field, and that not everyone believed the same. We both agreed and continued.
The day at the animal hospital waved a dark sense of greed in front of my face, but I believe compassion will free our hearts and minds. To this day, I still believe compassion is free and rewards those who use it frequently.
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