My Daily List of the Unexpected: The Life and Times of an Equine Ambulatory Veterinarian
The following letter is a fervent thank you to my loyal equine clients who have ever waited patiently for my arrival, reacted with understanding and compassion when their appointment is rescheduled due to an unplanned emergency, and are sympathetically tolerant when their horse decides to take the long road to recovery. I am grateful for you and will continue to try my heart out to get your horse to good health, longevity, and success.
For what it’s worth, all of the “unexpected” items mentioned in this letter have actually happened to me and, if I’m completely honest, it’s this uncertainty (even though it's frustrating at times) that makes my job as an equine veterinarian one of the most interesting jobs out there.
My day today didn’t go as planned. It almost never does. I want to apologize for my tardiness and I will try my very best to not let it happen again. I still care about your horse and I vow to do my very best to do whatever it takes to get your horse on his way to good health.
Before visiting you today, I visited 6 farms, drove 200 miles, and took care of 15 horses as expected. However, here is the list of the unexpected events that occurred today that caused me to be late:
1. An old mare unwilling to be caught. (Finally caught her in a team effort with the client and my technician in the corner of the muddy paddock. We showed her!)
2. A litter of puppies at the second farm call.
3. 3 texts from clients with pictures and updates looking for advice plus 10 emails from clients, support staff, and others at the clinic needing advice on accepting payments, approving prescriptions, and sending copies of radiographs.
4. A colicking horse on the other side of the practice area.
5. Another colicking horse on the opposite side of practice area from above colicking horse.
6. A client taught his horse how to bow and shows me the progress.
7. Cake in the breakroom while awaiting lab work to process.
8. Stuck behind 3 different tractors on back roads.
9. An extremely needle-shy horse that made me feel like I was in the matrix avoiding his kick.
10. An “Oh by the way” appointment involving a miniature horse who doesn’t get handled much.
11. A wound at a recheck appointment that has developed proud flesh and needs debridement.
12. A goat jumping into the vet truck just before we were planning to leave.
While I realize this recap of the day is not an excuse, nor will it make up for any time you might have lost today (or even the time you have waited in the past), I hope it will explain the stain on my shirt, the mud on my boots, and my heartfelt overwhelming dedication to helping the horse. Thank you so much for your understanding and know that when your horse is on my daily list of the unexpected, I’ll be right there when you need me, day or night.
Sincerely Yours (24/7/365),
Your Equine Ambulatory Veterinarian