This month, we celebrate 5 years of Onlinepethealth, of Vetrehabbers, and of an incredible global community. But who exactly are we? What is it that unites us, regardless of our background, level of training or location in the world? What is it that causes our many hearts to beat to the same drum? Who are Vetrehabbers?
As with any business or profession, Vetrehabbers have our share of challenges, one-upmanship, politics, and sometimes, just occasionally … just plain nastiness. There are days when someone says something that gets the better of us, and brings us down. But it’s not the norm. The term Vetrehabbers reminds us that we are a unique community with a very special and valuable field of expertise, still relatively new to the world, and we that need one another.
At Onlinepethealth we believe there is more that unites vet rehab therapists than separates us. Vetrehabbers are carried by a passion to make a difference. Our heart beats for the voiceless members of our society – animals. Who else will spend months nurturing a dog back to bouncy, zestful health after major surgery? Who else will see the potential in the middle-aged dog with crippling osteoarthritis, or the cat nearing the end of its life, or the horse whose apparent mean streak is caused by an ill-fitting bit or saddle? We look further, we uncover causes, and we do it with a heart that empathises with both animal and owner, recognising the strong and inexpressible bond that exists between human and much-loved animal.
We are Vetrehabbers
Are you a Vetrehabber? Does your heart beat for others – for the trusting dog under your hands, for the horse softly snorting at your side, and for the human whose world you have the power to change – or is this just a job?
Do you get excited when you learn and master a new technique – or do you believe that you know it all?
Can you learn from anyone, whether trainer, owner, new graduate or author of the textbook you studied from – or do you acknowledge only the most prestigious in our industry as your teachers?
Do you prioritize your personal growth as a human being, so that you can be of better service to others? Or are you perfect just the way you are?
Vetrehabbers Never Stop Learning
You are a member of a unique profession with many new discoveries, growth and potential lying ahead of it. We are breaking new ground every day. There is so much to learn, so many areas in which each of us can carve out a niche or speciality interest. We cannot afford to stagnate as individuals. The reality is that what we know and practice now is likely to fall by the wayside and be replaced by new knowledge in a couple years’ time.
Are you equipped with an attitude that will carry you forward and keep you relevant and motivated in a constantly unfolding field? Are you prepared not only to acquire knowledge, but to grow and change as a person and a professional?
Or would you rather put your head down and shuffle forward, happy to stay more or less where you are, doing the things that work for you now? I understand that pull, I really do. I often wish I could just focus on the here and now, living my small, quiet life in the bushveld with my hubby, my baby, my horses and dogs. For all of five minutes, when I am tired out by the daily struggle, I wish I did not have to keep open to the big picture.
And then I remember that there is a fire burning within me for my profession, and if I don’t stand up and work for what I believe in, I will miss my opportunity. I think of Queen Esther, and what Mordecai said to her:
“… and who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?”
I believe this applies to each of us – we have chosen a career in a field that desperately needs compassionate, engaged, caring people; we are in our positions for “such a time as this”.
To be of real help in a world of unimaginable suffering, we have to keep learning.
“Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.”
“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
Change … such a scary word for most of us! And so undervalued. A willingness to change is a prerequisite to growth. A true Vetrehabber sees change not as a process to be suffered and endured, but rather as the essential component of a meaningful life and career. Every day yields opportunities to examine what we’re doing and to change. The changes we make can have a huge impact on others, smoothing out those small, daily irritations, those less than warm relationships, those work-related procedures and habits, and the quality of the work we bring to each day.
As Vetrehabbers, we have to be prepared to change. There is always a better way to do things. We need to keep our minds open and willing not only to accumulate knowledge, but to test it and apply it, implementing change on a continuous basis so that what we offer gets better and better.
“A plant needs roots in order to grow. With man it is the other way around: only when he grows does he have roots and feel at home in the world.”
As we feed that passion for knowledge, seeking it out with diligence, patience and discipline, and as we push the boundaries of change and improvement, growth is inevitable and beautiful. I love the above quotation, because isn’t it just so true? The more we grow, the more rooted we become and the more at home we feel within ourselves, our work and the world.
Vetrehabbers are Humble
“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.”
Humility is as a prerequisite to all of the above, because if we are not humble, we cannot learn, grow and serve. If we are not humble, we close our hearts to others and the role they may play in our lives. We close ourselves to so much.
It is only through a humble heart that we can see the best in others and truly learn from every person we encounter. A Vetrehabber, whether new graduate or old hat, knows that if we open our eyes and hearts, there is not a person who crosses our path from whom we will not learn something. That attitude takes humility.
“He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
Gordon B. Hinckley.
I don’t know a single Vetrehabber who does not have a heart of service. We live for our patients, and we do all we can to serve our clients. Most of us thrive on this. It can become our downfall, when we do not temper our loving, servant hearts with boundaries and limitations, but truly it is our biggest asset. A Vetrehabber looks for opportunities to uplift or encourage others. We look for solutions to help clients and patients out of their difficulties, and we are made happy by seeing our beloved patients thrive.
And yet there is more.
Vetrehabbers are United
Our hearts of service as Vetrehabbers should extend beyond our patients and clients, encompassing our profession. Animal rehabilitation is a growing field of knowledge. We need people who love the profession, and want to see its boundaries extended for the good of all. We are colleagues, not competitors, and the more we share of our discoveries, the better for all of us.
The only way this profession will grow is if each of us push it to the next level, all the time, sharing what we know. Vetrehabbers find ways to share a case, a theory, some knowledge. We take an interest in colleagues, whether in our own neighbourhood or on the opposite side of the world; we suggest a plan, a treatment, a solution. Raising the knowledge of others by sharing our experiences raises us all to new heights. We are not afraid to share our knowledge, and constantly look for opportunities to collaborate and enrich our community.
So – are you a Vetrehabber? Are you committed to learning, growing, changing, sharing and staying humble? Are you having the impact you could have? When last did you sign up for a course, research something you needed to know, phone a colleague and share a success? What form does your service take?
And are you committed to the journey? I know I am, even when it becomes hard.
Truly, there is nothing more powerful than a group of people with one overarching goal, driven by a passion to make a difference. Let us push back the boundaries, and bring our whole selves to this work. Without us, suffering increases and ignorance prevails. We have unique knowledge and understanding to offer – let’s offer it wholeheartedly, and with conviction!