I used to wear a pager for emergency vet calls. This was 2 years before the first iPhone was released and paging was still a thing. I was living on Vancouver Island when I could get pages at all hours. Still fresh out of school, the sense of adventure that went along with the overnight pages outweighed the lack of sleep. I would get drunk people after their night of partying, letting me know that fido looked funny (although when you got down to the details it was the beer goggles and the dog was ok). Most often, after a call, we’d arrange to meet at the clinic (most showed up, some didn't once they found out there was an emergency fee). It was always a mystery who would show up at the door.
Your first month of meeting people as a new vet can be nerve wracking because you are still cookie dough - pliable, impressionable, and yet to be refined. Your developing confidence of course comes from within. But when you meet people and their companions who are on this journey with you, you are actually learning together, and the friendships and insights will make you the vet that you are to be. On Vancouver Island, I met a lot of kind, warm people who took a rookie like myself in. The gave me a chance, and I was able to flourish. Not everyone has those kind of experiences in life. A lot of people burn out early on this career, because that collaborative foundation was never established.
I'm pretty sure her name was Kirin. Now, this was a decade ago and my memory is getting fuzzy. Kirin was an elderly little black kitty, and I met her as she was entering the final stage of her long life. And while I can remember what she looked like, only shadows of her people remain in my memory. Kirin wasn't long for this earth, but we did make her more comfortable. This week, as I was pulling down a box of winter gear for my little girl, the ends of a little black scarf, with paw prints knitted into it popped out and floated towards the floor. Kirin’s mom had knit me a black scarf, complete with the actual paw prints of her little companion who had passed.
And I still have it.
So Kirin’s mom and dad, if you come across this one day, I want you know that I still have the scarf, and I still remember you and that little black kitty. You are one of the many kind people I met on the Island that still influence me to this day.