Given the advent of Google (est 2008), and Youtube (est, 2005), the obvious answer after practicing veterinary medicine for quarter of a century, would be: technology at our fingertips. Yes, technology would have afforded us all the luxury of quicker and more precise solutions.
My answer, after 25 years as an equine vet, however, is less obvious.
I wish I had more readily expressed my gratitude for the inherent value of long-standing professional relationships with my clients. Long days would have felt shorter; tough cases would have morphed into bonding; more personal connections might have thrived.
There are several of you who have been 3H clients since opening our doors in 1997. You believed in me long before I completely believed in myself. There are others among you who have been here almost as long, through thick times and thin. You often offered honest feedback which led to important changes at 3H. Such milestone years with 3H are as deserving of recognition as the milestones of 3H. For the times you pushed me to innovate and for the times you waited patiently for me to discover solutions, I am grateful. For the times you showed an uncanny understanding that medicine is imperfect and our very best efforts are often still not enough, I am humbled. Allow me to borrow from Shakespeare for an answer to the initial question:
“I can no other answer make than thanks, and thanks and ever thanks”.
After so many years, I’ve also learned that expressing gratitude without delineating why, is much like giving a gift without the wrapping to make it special. And so, I call your attention to times you surprised me with the unexpected while I worked on your horse. Do you recall the times our children played together, or your grandfather regaled me with stories, or your teenager rode in my truck during school break, or you, yourself, gave me tips for tree-planting success, or shared your distant native country with Meredith and myself on vacation, or taught Hollis to catch and release catfish in your pond, or sent me home with fresh garden produce, or asked me to be with you while we buried your family dog, or put a jacket on my back the night of the fire at 3H? These are just a few. The list is as long as the list of your names. I trust you know who you are and what these times have meant to me.
Simply speaking, yes, loyalty is the lifeblood and the backbone of any business: there would be no 3H without you. But, add the value of personal memories and you have the heart and soul of my professional life. Partnership between vet and client can be as enduring and rewarding as that of horse and owner. I have loved getting to know you and your horses.
Thank you for the memories. Many happy returns of milestone years to us all.