Very few in veterinary schools (both professors and students) have any real idea what it costs to put a student through veterinary
school. If all the costs of running a veterinary school (minus the research segment) is factored in, it is likely to be much
more than twice the cost that students borrow and spend to fund their education. This means the taxpayer is the unseen and
unthanked "sugar daddy" in the educational process.
What causes economic growth? If everyone in America decided to do just what was required of them and nothing else, then there would be negative growth
in the economy and in our personal lives. It is likely that our country would start to move backward very quickly.
Growth in our civilization and economy is dependent on altruism and working for the common good—doing things beyond the self.
This country was built by people going the extra mile and offering to do more than is required of them. Indeed, the safety
of all its citizens depends on those that can give up their lives in the line of duty—from firefighters to soldiers on overseas
Although there are many today still laboring on behalf of others, there is an ever-growing segment of Americans who are self-centered.
They have a form of myopia brought upon by the media and the omnipresent pall of consumerism.
Pass the baton
Today's graduates are practicing on the shoulders of a large army of veterinarians who have made tremendous sacrifices in
time and effort in all areas of the profession to make way for what is now a highly developed and proud profession. Most of
these individuals worked 80 to 90 hours per week to survive.
There were no emergency clinics and local laboratories. In fact, just a few decades ago, making a simple diagnosis of feline
leukemia meant sending slides to Dr. Hardy in New York City and waiting two to three weeks for the outcome. There was very
little local support for the local practitioner at all. It is amazing that these practitioners were able to achieve notable
surgical and medical success with little staff and money. That was just the way it was.
I am not proposing that we go back to those days. Those days were but a mile-marker in the long struggle to improve the profession.
These individuals are to be praised and emulated for their work ethic.
Many young veterinarians who are adrift are seeking self-actualization through the profession provided by someone else. They
are only partly to blame. Our society has created this culture of consumerism. Hopefully, there will be those in this current
generation that will be able to rise above it and create the profession of tomorrow.
Yet, there will still be those that remain self centered and ultimately unhappy. They will find that true satisfaction comes
by devoting themselves to their clients, their employers and finally to their patients. They might even have to turn off their
cell phones and occasionally work a little unpaid overtime for the common good.
Roses, by the way, do exist if you look down and take the time to smell them. That rose might in fact be the practice in which
you are currently working.