With Thanksgiving two days away, it’s hard not to reflect on the year like no other. The tragedy of the pandemic, a historic election, and civil unrest within an imperfect democracy coming to grips with injustice has made even the notion of being thankful challenging to grasp. As an industry and profession, veterinary medicine has endured and pivoted to meet the needs of pet owners regardless of the obstacles or the definition of essential. 

So, in this time of reflection, let’s engage in a dialogue of recognition, trust, and positive outlook.

Generally speaking, the words thank you are said a million times a day but sometimes fail to carry the weight required to those whose will, spirit, or action are deserving. Let’s recap some of the things that make this profession and its professionals so unique.  

  • If you’re a Veterinarian from a previous era there was a mentor who gave you guidance, support, and insight that enabled the skills and sometimes the spirit you needed to carry out the oath of a medical professional. If you’re inspired, call this person up. You’ve probably thanked them many times but there really is no statute of limitations to make sure they know how important this form of support meant to your career and ability to provide quality care. I’m certain the mentor doesn’t realize how important certain casual conversations or their presence meant when you really needed the advice. This, unlike many professions, is one where colleagues value insight and opinion. I’ve seen it in all kinds of practices and exchanges. I’ve walked through hospitals with mentors and talked to mentees. You can see it in physical response and words how important this relationship is. If you are a mentor, you have also gained from this symbiotic relationship. Engage with your mentees. They still have the thirst for that special bond. If you have neither, it’s high time to find someone you can help or seek this bond.


  • The Veterinary Technician or Nurse is probably the most underappreciated role in a practice. Beyond the economics, these individuals are the most giving and affected people within a hospital. What makes a good tech or nurse is training and experience. But the person they are comes from something beyond education, like genes and most likely their understanding of the human animal bond. You probably remember that first or special tech who was or is always there with you for those difficult cases, endured your undeserved wrath, was one step ahead, knew what you needed, or had a response time that was in perfect sync. They are also there and help in those emotionally draining cases that require euthanasia. This person also may have worked their shift or schedule and then proceeded to volunteer at a local shelter. Yes, this deserves a heartfelt thanks.


  • The Practice Manager or Hospital Administrator, that person who is juggling every aspect of the operational orchestra that makes practices function, is the glue that keeps things running so the unachievable caseload gets in and out of the hospital in a fashion that sometimes seems impossible. They were also the person who was first to pivot when COVID-19 turned everything upside down. Words of thanks to someone in this role should not be underestimated.


  • There is a category of Service Providers who are responsive, knowledgeable and critical to the success of patient care. Labs, distributors, specialty/ER referral centers, pharmaceutical sales and support, medical device manufacturers, and crematoriums. There are a host of companies and people who enable practices to do what they love.  Thanking your route driver who is there on Mondays and Thursdays like clock work or whatever the schedule, will make you feel better than them. They will probably ask the practice manager if something is wrong. 


  • There is a new generation of Pet Owners who need your help and understanding. They will over feed and overreact to sickness and acute injury. They will also voice displeasure on the cost of treatment. Consumers haven’t really changed in this aspect largely because we don’t understand and will do anything for the pets we love. Help them on their journey. 


Maybe this takes up a part of your day but instead of focusing on getting this year behind us, let’s flip the dialogue to make sure people know how you feel about their contribution. The obstacles of this year will only make us better, not worse. We need to embrace change for the good. We need to be open to constructive positive feedback, a new form of mentorship, telehealth, practice models, and new technology. It’s hard to suggest this to a community that is so focused on giving but let’s find another way to give back to the community.

Have a happy, safe and COVID-19 free Thanksgiving!

Jim Cohen

Relief Rover – Business Development


Jim is helping commercialize the platform so Relief Rover can provide better tools, resources and value to its membership

If you’re a relief veterinarian, veterinary technician, nurse, a practice looking to hire a relief vet, or want to join our community, come visit us at www.reliefrover.com !