Chasing this Moment – Caitlin Matters

wendy

Caitlin with Wendy, in Nain

The Chinook students were asked to write reflective pieces about their experiences as veterinarians in the North. Some of these pieces will be published, as blog posts.. This one is by Caitlin Matters, AVC 2015. 

I have wanted to be a veterinarian as long as I can remember. I love animals and feel a calling to care for them. The journey toward this goal has been a long and challenging one, demanding endless hours of work and study, and the sacrifice of vacations, nights out and spontaneous adventures with friends. Through all this, I didn’t complained, knowing each pleasure forgone was one step closer to my goal. Multiple schools, many years and uncountable books later, I am overcome with eagerness to put my knowledge to work helping animals and the people who share a home with them.

My first patient on the Chinook project was a small female puppy named Wendy. I spoke to the owners about Wendy and asked them what they would like me to help them with. They wanted Wendy to be spayed and receive all the necessary vaccines and deworming medications. For a seasoned veterinarian, this request might be rote and unexciting; for me, it was the first time I would provide these services. I was excited and determined to give Wendy the best care I could. I prepared Wendy for surgery, spayed her, monitored her recovery from anesthesia, vaccinated her, and prepared her prescriptions for deworming medication and pain relief.

My ability to do this for Wendy was the culmination of years of work. This was the moment I had been chasing. I couldn’t help but feel proud – of myself – but also of all the amazing teachers I’ve had in the past years. Next, I thought of my parents: a mother and father who did not share my intense passion for animals, but had nonetheless put up with the many pets I begged for, and given the help I required. Their support made this moment possible. When Wendy’s owners arrived to bring her home, I could see the nervous excitement in their eyes. I went to retrieve Wendy from where she had been resting and returned her to her family, watching their relief and happiness at having their puppy back. I explained the prescriptions Wendy was going home with and gave directions to ensure Wendy continued to heal smoothly. They listened with attention. They prepared to leave, thanked me gratefully and were gone.

Students hard at work in Sheshatshiu

There it was, my first patient. It was exciting and rewarding and everything and more than I thought it would be. This is what I will do for the rest of my life: provide care for animals and help their owners obtain the care their pets need. I hope my appreciation of this privilege never fades. I have worked hard for it, but I have also been given the opportunity to achieve my dreams because of the amazing teachers I have learned from and because of the unending support I have received from my parents.

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