Over the last 3 years, we have been taught from books: this is
normal, this is abnormal, this disease causes these symptoms, etc.
Our education has mainly been focused on the science of diseases.
Teamwork, collaboration, and compassion have almost been put second
to the science of veterinary medicine. It wasn't until the past May
that we were able to start putting what we learned from the books
into a clinical perspective. Slowly, we've been learning how to put
it all together. While deployed in Bastrop, these things (teamwork,
collaboration, and compassion) were put in the forefront of the
reasons we have chosen this profession. It was great to be able to
experience first hand how everything we've been taught the last 4
years are truly intermingled.
Many of the animals we treated could have easy been euthanized
simply due to the extent of their burns or the fact that they had
no identification on them to prove they belonged to someone. But
our team treated each and every animal with the same respect we
would hope our own animals would receive in our absence. We were
able to help these animals further fight what they already began to
fight prior to our arrival.
While I can't fully express in words my experience in Bastrop, I
can say some of the things I took away from the deployment. Each
member of the team is essential and no part is too small. We've all
heard that statement growing up: from our parents, teachers, or
coaches and it truly applies to our team, whether we are triaging
large animals or small animals, each person on the team plays a
Compassion cannot be taught, but it can be better understood how
to express it by observing others. Each member of our team put the
animal's well being first. They considered the extent of the
injuries and the strength of the patient. They tried to do what is
best for the patient, made each decision carefully, and never
immediately jumped to euthanasia as a solution until the last
resort. It was very helpful to see every thought process with each
patient and every injury.
This deployment solidified my thoughts of why I chose this
profession. We were able to help animals in a time when they needed
it the most and were able to help reunite owners with their best
friends. It is one of the best feelings in the world to help so
many in a time of need. This experience alone added value not only
to my professional education, but also to my every day