Today is a little bit of an emotional day for me. I imagine it is for Jonathan too. Today is his last day as a large animal veterinarian. On Tuesday he will start a new job as a companion animal veterinarian. This might get a bit long, so grab a seat.
When I met Jonathan nearly five years ago he was laser focused on becoming a large animal veterinarian with hopes of getting a job at the local vet clinic after graduation. Through the three years of veterinary school that I knew him he was relentless in the pursuit of his goal. He spent any free time he could being involved in large animal medicine related organizations. He would come home on breaks and ride along at that vet clinic to build a relationship with them to increase his odds of being hired when he graduated.
When job search time came around it was the first clinic he called. Unfortunately, they had no positions open at the time, so he applied to a variety of other clinics. The week that we needed to make a decision he had four job offers on the table, but none of them seemed right. All of them would have required moving and for me to make a job change. We were down to a few days left to decide and were no closer to feeling confident in our decision. Then a miracle happened. His dream clinic had one of the veterinarians turn in their notice- a job was open and they wanted Jonathan to take it. I was so happy I cried. Watching his dreams come true filled my heart with unimaginable joy.
When he started working, he had a blast. He built relationships with farmers and handled the learning curve with as much ease as possible. Luckily for me, he wasn’t afraid to take me along for the ride- literally. Over the last two years we have spent countless hours in his vet truck and in the clinic. We have seen animals healed when we weren’t confident they could be, we have helped people say goodbye to their pets, and we have attended dozens of births of every kind. We’ve cut necropsies and cut c-sections. We’ve seen cows jump up and run away after being treated and we’ve had cows die in our hands. No two nights on call were the same. The stories we have from our adventures were almost always the kind where you would shake your head and say “you can’t make this stuff up”. We truly need to sit down and write down some of the stories before we forget them. It was a blast sometimes, but it was also a lot of work and it really drained you. And I wasn’t even the one making the decisions.
As time went by I started to see a shift in Jonathan’s attitude. He still loved treating animals and he had farmers that he would drop anything for to help out, but he started to become disenchanted with what he thought was his dream job. I did what I could to encourage him, but the excitement was gone. The romance was over. As the daily stress of being pushed around by 1500 lb animals, late nights and long hours continued to wear on him the disenchantment turned to dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction turned to burnout. I watched as his dream job turned into something he dreaded. It broke my heart.
Finally, he decided his best option was to look for another position in a different branch of veterinary medicine. In some ways I am happy that he is moving on to a safer, more consistent job. At the same time I will miss our adventures and the incredible people that we met along the way.
So today is his last day as a large animal veterinarian. He has told his clients goodbye and is starting over. The veterinarians at the clinic are top notch and we are so thankful for the opportunities they have given him. He is a better, smarter, person for having worked in that position.
Next week, we start a new adventure.