3 Life Lessons for Dog Moms by Dr. Julie Buzby
Leverage. It is a principle my dad drilled into my head growing up. Finding a way to do more with less was his life mission. Naturally, this mindset spilled over into my life. We use leverage to accomplish our ToeGrip’s company mission:
To preserve mobility for as many dogs as possible for as long as possible.
On the surface, it looks as if we are a dog-centric business. Certainly true, but that’s not the entire picture. We figured out early on that if we were REALLY going to help dogs, the most impactful way to do that was by helping PEOPLE to help their dogs. And this revelation would have made my dad proud. Every single day we leverage empowered humans to transform dogs’ lives.
This “leverage” principle rings true in veterinary medicine. During routine wellness exams, I might care for a patient for 30 minutes, a couple times a year. The client is the daily caregiver, personal trainer, chef, and life coach for that pet. Often, my REAL work is to leverage my clients to care for my patients with competence and confidence. To me, it’s the “wholistic” approach to pet wellness—creating informed, inspired humans who are equipped to provide healthy, happy lives for pets.
“Client education” has always been one of my favorite parts of being a veterinarian. When the lightbulb goes on for a client about some aspect of home care, there is joy in that transfer or information, and hope for bettering a pet’s life in some way. Typically I stick to the script. We might cover tips for administering a medication, how to change a bandage, or symptoms of hypothyroidism.
But I hope you don’t mind if I veer off course to highlight three life lessons that aren’t rooted in veterinary science. I’ve learned them, or should I say I’ve “earned them”, caring for my clients, patients, eight human children, and three dogs. Consider it a heart-to-heart talk from one mom to another.
3 Life Lessons from integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby
Dr. Julie Buzby’s Life Lesson #1: Mom guilt gets you nowhere.
“Do-overs” only happen when playing board games with small children. In reality, we don’t have the luxury of playing out our “what ifs”.
Don’t invest energy reliving an outcome that you wish you could change, because you can’t change it. Languishing over the situation is not healthy for you or those who love you.
And what’s more, in my observation, usually mom guilt is unfounded. I’m stunned by the number of clients I’ve talked to over the years who are obsessed with something in their dog’s past medical history) that they feel was their fault. As I learn the details, I’m often convinced they are agonizing over something that was beyond their control. But here’s the real message: Even if it were under their control, even if a mistake were made, there is no benefit to brooding over it.Do the best you can and rest in the fact that you did your best. ~ Dr. Julie Buzby Click To Tweet
Dr. Julie Buzby’s Life Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid to speak up.
I will never forget the moment Dr. Whitman pressured me into vaccinating my three-month-old (human) baby who had a low-grade fever, while I kept my mouth shut. He owned the practice. He was the expert. He was calling the shots.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his plan was not in the best interest of the baby in my arms, but I didn’t want a confrontation. My newborn son relied on me to be his voice, yet I gave him none. (By the way, such experiences are fodder for Lesson #1.)
What I eventually learned to do in these situations was to ask my questions and state my concerns with the goal of having a conversation with the doctor. Typically, we landed on the same page, but not always. Remember, you always have the option of getting a second opinion—whether it be from a different doctor in the same practice, a veterinarian at a different practice, or through referral to a specialist.
Never hesitate to ask questions. If you have a concern about your dog’s well-being, share it with your dog’s healthcare providers.Be informed. Be curious. Be proactive in your role as your dog’s voice. ~ Dr. Julie BuzbyClick To Tweet
Dr. Julie Buzby’s Life Lesson #3: Intuition matters.
I think they tried to beat all the intuition out of us in veterinary school, but thankfully, I had some hidden reserves that I was able to cultivate after graduation. Call it a sixth sense. Call it keen observation. Call it mother’s intuition. The point is that you know your dog better than anyone else on the planet. This is an incredible asset. When your gut says something is wrong, refer to Lesson #2.
Sometimes, as veterinarians, we don’t know where to put the information a client is providing into our Western veterinary matrix. But that doesn’t mean that it is not a valuable piece of the puzzle.You know your dog. YOU are an esteemed member of your dog's healthcare team! ~Dr. Julie BuzbyClick To Tweet
Repeatedly, I hear these three themes. They all interrelate. They all run deep.
As a dog mom, have you struggled with mom guilt, kept quiet instead of speaking up, or ignored your intuition?
Leverage your experience to help others in our community by commenting below.