Category: General (page 2 of 11)

Be Kind, Rewind

It’s that time of year where we all resolve to do something new or better next year.  One thing we all should strive for is to be kind.  Yes, we can each do our part to make our home, our workplace, our community, and our world a better place just by being nicer to each other.  Though this post discusses veterinary medicine, it applies across all of life.  I wish you all a happy New Year and hope that you will take these words to heart – BeKind, Rewind.


“Hello?  It’s me.  I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.”  Okay, so maybe it sounds better coming from Adele.  But you know who else wants to meet?  Your younger carefree self.  For many of us in the veterinary field, that version of ourselves is lost.  We find ourselves in a worsening spiral of stress, depression, and apathy.  Maybe it sounds like a trip down the rabbit hole but maybe it’s better described as a “swirling vortex of terror.”

It wasn’t always like this.  I’m an assistant instructor for my taekwondo club and our students range anywhere from 4 years old to 50-plus.  For the little kids, we’re not majorly teaching them to be the next Bruce Lee but rather encouraging listening, respect, and being active as part of a healthy lifestyle.  But those kids grow up and some of them choose to help the younger kids.  One student-assistant in particular I’ve noted is very attentive to those newer students who need a little extra help and it warms my heart to see him pass on the knowledge.  Something else I noted is a mutual respect between the students and the younger assistants.  And none of these kids I’m speaking of is even a teenager yet!  I remember it being like this when I was a kid.  Couldn’t our politicians learn something from this?

Now we’re grown up and many people have joined the veterinary field.  Veterinary medicine is tough.  It’s a hard job but somebody has got to do it.  That special someone is you!  It can be very easy to get lost in the day to day shuffle of sick patients, angry clients, and clinic dynamics.  You may want to give up; maybe you change jobs, maybe you change professions, or maybe you decide there’s only one way out of this mess.

be kind kindergarten


It doesn’t have to be that way.  Don’t lose hope – those kids I was talking about earlier are wiser than we give them credit for.  As kids, we are innocent.  We don’t know hatred, bullying, or anger.  I like to call this the Kindergarten Complex.  Think back to that time….we wanted to be friends with everyone.  We shared and we were kind.  We were apologetic to each other.  This is what we need to get back to.  Let’s find our younger selves.  Your 5-year old self is out there and along the way, your friends will help you out.  Yes, everyone should have a Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and wise caterpillar – just like Alice.  Where will you find your own collection of varied sages?  Right in your own clinic or family!  Who knows you better and is concerned about your well being?

If you work in the veterinary field: veterinarian, technician, client services, management, kennel staff…be respectful and friendly to your co-workers.  Treat them courteously.  Try to be helpful at work and don’t put anyone down because of their position.  Be loyal and don’t gossip behind their backs.  If you think they are having trouble or seem distressed, reach out to them.  Let them know you are there to talk.  If you are the one being affected, know that there are people that care about you and places you can get help.  Chances are one of your co-workers may be experiencing the same feelings.

For those of you who are not in the veterinary field (friends, family, clients), know that we are trying our best for you.  Don’t participate in online gossip or internet shaming of anyone in the veterinary field.  Once in awhile, let us know that we are appreciated.  Anybody can ask how another person is doing; listen to them, empathize with them.  Nobody has to be alone in this.  Just being nice can make a huge impact in someone’s day and life.  And that might make all the difference.

Disclaimer: All blog posts are my own opinion and do not reflect those of any current or former employers.

This post previously appeared on Dr. Andy Roark’s blog as a guest post.   You can also find me on Instagram @drryanllera and as always on Facebook & Twitter!

A Season to Give

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

It’s that magical time of the year…the winter holiday season!  Yes, we’ve made it through Black Friday & Cyber Monday to now be staring down Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Festivus in the coming weeks.  It’s a time for family, food, seasonal music, and more.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes that whole gift giving thing really can get in the way of enjoying the season.  What do you get that person that has everything or won’t like what you get them anyway??  Are you baffled?

Does this person love animals?  If so, you’re in luck!  I’ve got a few ideas for you.

  • Get them a gift certificate to spend at their own veterinarian.  Help that college student of yours get their pet spayed or neutered.

  • Help support a local animal charity or rescue group that they believe in.

  • Check out my friend Edie’s the Pug’s 2016 holiday gift guide to find something for them or their pets.

Back to that donation idea…  How about helping animals get a new start in life?  Many people would like to see those less fortunate or animals in need get something than just adding something to their house that might collect dust.  Specifically, I’m talking about the Ontario SPCA’s Paws & Give campaign.  Many people may see the OSPCA as just having a shelter nearby with animals to adopt but in actuality, there’s so much more.  While the shelter and adoption programs are one of the most obvious facets of their operations, there are the details that go into that department.  Health care is the obvious component to address pressing medical concerns, vaccinations, and spay/neuter surgeries.  While animals are waiting for their fur-ever homes, some of them benefit from environmental enrichment (come on, who doesn’t love toys?) or may need more personal behavioral rehabilitation.  And it’s not just cats & dogs….don’t forget the horses, bunnies, pigs, and more!

OSPCA Paws & Give - Rocky

OSPCA Paws & Give – Rocky

Giving a gift on behalf of someone is nice and they get a card or certificate to know of your generosity.  But sometimes you also want more, especially for the friends or kids in your life.  That’s where the holiday cards (which are really cute!), the Second Chances calendar, or one of the plush toys comes in.  Admittedly, the toys are cute and based off of actual animals rescued by the OSPCA.  Think of it as giving two gifts for the price of one.

The holidays are a time to come together.  Whether you are near or far from your family, don’t let distance dampen your season of cheer.  For those with pets or who love animals, don’t forget a small gift for the furry family members or those looking for homes!  I wish you all a happy holiday season!

Disclosure:  I was sent a Second Chances calendar (mine was even autographed by a few of the animals!) & an Advent calendar when asked to write a post discussing the OSPCA’s Paws & Give campaign.

Stay tuned for more and check me out on Instagram @drryanllera and as always on Facebook & Twitter!

Vet Techs – My Heroes

vet techs heroes superheroes


Everybody needs a hero.  For the kids of the world, it might be one of the Avengers, an athlete, or a beloved book character (Harry Potter anyone?).  For the adults, maybe it’s a friend, the President, or your parents.  As a veterinarian, most people would think that my hero would be James Herriot.  While he holds a special place in many people’s hearts, he’s not the first person I think of first when I choose my veterinary hero.  In actuality, I can’t pick just one person.  I have to admit I go with a collective.

The ones I look up to and admire are veterinary technicians.  Many pet owners and the general public don’t realize the full extent of what they do. It’s all the little things (and big ones) that they do that makes me appreciate and respect them.  While often times it’s the veterinarian that gets the credit for helping our animal patients, it’s really a team effort but the technicians are the ones doing a large portion of the work.

multiple Pinterest boards

multiple Pinterest boards

Vet techs aren’t just awesome at cuddling puppies & kittens, though it is a perk of the job sometimes!  They can often be found restraining an animal for a catheter, collecting blood or urine samples, and recovering a patient from anesthesia.  They get exposed to radiation for x-rays though we make it as safe as possible.  Oftentimes they are the first ones to note a problem or pain in a patient when it is brought back for triage during an emergency while the doctor is being tracked down.  And they’re amazing mathematicians being precise so as to avoid accidental over dosages with medications.  There’s so many other facets to the job as well.

To put it bluntly, I can’t live without my veterinary technicians! They have been a mainstay in my life for the past 18 years.  From John at Shores Animal Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, then Dalila my right arm & the rockstar night crew at Hollywood Animal Hospital, and to my current crew of Jackie, Kayla, Melissa, Sarah, & Emily at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic (and everyone in between), they have all taught me so much that has made be a better veterinarian AND a better person.  These are the heroes of veterinary medicine and they deserve respect, admiration, and appreciation.  If you know a veterinary technician, consider yourself a lucky person and be sure to thank them.  Who is your hero?

Dear veterinary technicians,

Keep being awesome.  And thank you for doing what you do!


Dr. Llera

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