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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Many Sides Of A Vet

One of the purposes I always had in writing this blog and opening up part of my personal life to public scrutiny was to show peple what the life of a veterinarian is really like.  Each vet is more than just their abilities and skills as a doctor or surgeon, and every vet has passions, hobbies, and interests outside of their job.  I'm not even the only one who leans heavily towards the geeky side of life.  There are a lot of things that I do in my private life that most of my clients never learn about. 
I am a licensed minister and the director of a Christian geek ministry called Fans For Christ.  I go to cons, set up a table, and talk to people about how fandom and Christianity aren't mutually exclusive.  I give sermons and organize worship services.  And I help organize the groups efforts and appearances across the US, even places I don't go personally (we'll be at 14-15 cons by the end of 2014).
I am the Guests Director for Con Nooga, a small (but growing!) multi-genre convention in Chattanooga, TN.  I have the responsibility of arranging celebrities and other guests at the con, negotiating their contracts, and making sure everything goes smoothly with them.

I am a cosplayer, enjoying the hobby of dressing up on various costumes at cons like Con Nooga and Dragon*Con.  While my wife makes the costumes, I make any props and gadgets that might be needed.

I'm a huge comic book geek and have several book shelves filled with action figures.  I have also seen almost every comic book movie made (though I still refuse to see the abomination that is Batman & Robin).

I love history and enjoy attending Rennaisance Faires in costume with my family.  If I could choose my profession over again and still have everything else in my life the same, I would become a history teacher.

I am an introvert and a loner, though I'm extraordinarilly outgoing in a work environment.  This means that I'd rather stay home and watch TV than go out with friends.  Even given that, I love having time with my wife and kids and am very much a family-oriented person towards my immediate family.

I enjoy occasionally acting and have been in many plays in my local community theater.  However, I absolutely hate memorizing lines!

Sometimes I think people don't think of their vets as having other interests and pasttimes.  Yes, people will occasionally get to know their pets' doctor enough to learn this other side, but it may still surprise many clients.  I want pet owners to see their vets as human, potentially fallible, and doing things other than being a vet.  I think that humanizing the profession and taking doctors off a pedestal is very helpful.  Many clients probably think I'm making a ton of money and driving a luxury car, when in reality I'm driving a 2008 Nissan Altima (with lots of geeky stickers!) and don't have a fancy home.  I struggle with money just like most of my clients.  I also have arguments with my wife, difficulties with my children, self-doubts, and other real-world problems.  I have fun and most of the time enjoy my life, but there are other times I just want to crawl in a hole and make the world go away.

Vets are people.  The only thing that separates us from our clients is our knowledge and skills with animal-related medicine.  Otherwise we are no different.  We share the same challenges in life and the same high points.  Seeing behind the curtain doesn't reveal a pitiful illusionist when you expected a grand wizard.  It reveals a human, and to me that makes it easier for clients and doctors to releate to each other.