Months ago, my very wise mother suggested getting a head start over my fellow students in advancing my goals. I knew I was going to be in town for orientation during the summer and to save time and money we decided to send out resumes ahead of time and set up interviews. I sent my papers out in the mail to all the vet clinics we could find in the area; five in total. Only two showed an interest and we set up times. All-West Veterinary Hospital was scheduled for before my orientation and A-Veterinary hospital on our way out of town.
Each was a very different experience. All-West had me filling out my previous jobs while I waited for their person in charge of business and public relations, already this felt very serious. I was called in to see Ms. Gail. It was very professional, going down a list of planned questions, discussing the parameters of the job; very intimidating. She described it as a very intensive job, mostly secretarial work but irregular hours and most of my time would be spent on the weekends and Thursdays. It sounded challenging but I knew that this was what my life would end up looking like: intense work and irregular hours, as people call in the middle of the night with a cow in the fields needing my help.
A-Veterinary Hospital was very welcoming, Dr. K chatted with me about her daughter who was off to North Carolina, about why I wanted Bozeman for a college city. When it got down to the job details she made it clear that it was very dependent around my schedule. The staff was kind and few. It had a very homey feeling.
After great pondering and deciding what was best I planned to go to All-West if they would take me, and challenge myself. However on the twenty second of July I received a call from All-West. They had someone leaving and needed a replacement immediately, which conflicted with other commitments I had made. I was disappointed, but also delighted to look again at the welcoming A-Veterinary Hospital. When it came to the beginning of the school year they told me not to rush and to settle down before working. I appreciated the transition time.
I started working today. As I walked into the back room I saw a large husky being sutured on the table. I had gotten lucky in that they had two spays prepared for the day, one, a cat, the other, a dog. During the cat I nearly lost my stomach (very unusual for me who had sat in on a knee surgery and dissected a rat and only had the smell slightly affect them). They sat me down with water as they finished the cat. I had a mental battle where I knew I could do better and I only needed to rebuild my tolerance. Once I felt stable I went back in just in time to see Dr. K sewing up the cat. Next came the dog, I sat in for the whole thing and never felt ill. I knew the first time was a fluke but I managed to overcome the hurdle and regained my stability.
One of the teaching things I really appreciated about this first day was the manner in which I was not expected to be perfect; everything was a teachable moment, up to and including a set of symptoms I should look for which would indicate imminent fainting. Dr. K quickly established herself as not only a great teacher, but what the Germans would call a real Mensch. In hindsight I know I could have survived and thrived in the high pressure atmosphere of the larger clinic, but I feel fortunate to have had my path steered toward this warm and caring mentor.