Many of my colleagues admit to entering veterinary medicine, at least in part, because of reading James Herriot’s novels. However, the almost romantic notion of a vet with time to flit from calving to cats spay then from colic to kennel cough is long gone. The majority of us now specialise in some way, restricting ourselves to clinics for small, equine or large animal medicine.
However, we still get the occasional inkling of the past on visits where the vet has more than just a clinical role. Often people who request visits have a physical reason they cannot get to the surgery, but more often it is their pet’s aversion to veterinary examination tables that prompts the request. Cats have the most incredible intuition when it comes to their owner even considering the location of the cat box. We receive many apologetic phone calls to explain that, “Tiger Tim will not be coming for castration because I mentioned it to the postman and he glanced at the cat box.”
Sadly on some visits it is the last time that we see some of our friends because they have had a good life but the quality has gone.
It is these times when home visits are prioritised above most everything. They never get easier and they are often the most emotional. In fact they most closely resemble the veterinary medicine that Mr.Alf White FRCVS a.k.a. James Herriot portrayed in his books; caring for the strength and love of the human-animal bond and the reminiscence of days now past.
In memory of Monty.