An Ode To
This Thursday, Sunstone will close its doors and our employees will have the privilege of spending the weekend celebrating, giving thanks, and overeating with family and friends. It can be easy to take having holidays off for granted when all of Portland seems to shut down for the day (at least until midnight shoppers head out for doorbuster deals) but what about when the unexpected happens to a beloved pet? Veterinary emergencies always seem to find the worst time to strike and for some, this Thanksgiving will be no exception. Luckily, there will still be a number of outstanding human beings available to help.
Coming from an emergency background, I have worked through several holiday seasons in the past. It can be emotionally taxing to tell your family that you won't be able to spend the day together, and sometimes you face the heart-wrenching question, "Can't you just ask for it off? It's Thanksgiving!" A fluctuating schedule is an unavoidable part of working at a 24 hour or overnight care facility, but staff members accept this challenge because of the devotion we have to our patients. If you happen to face the unfortunate reality of needing to visit an emergency vet on a holiday, keep in mind that everyone working there is making a sacrifice in order to take care of your furry family member.
Holidays are often much busier than normal days in an emergency clinic. Not every patient that comes through the door is necessarily in critical condition, but they do all need prompt attention. Since most primary care clinics are closed, problems that normally could have been addressed with a trip to your primary vet may need to be rerouted to one of the few practices with holiday hours. This can lead to busy lobbies, long waits, and frustration on top of an already scary situation for worried pet parents. Trust me when I tell you the staff is working as hard as they can to care for each patient and get you both home as quickly as possible. Nothing is more disheartening than spending an entire shift trying to keep up with an intense caseload, only to hear that there were complaints about wait times. A kind word from a grateful client has the ability to completely turn around an otherwise hard day. Having faith in the staff can be a game changer; a busy workload for a veterinary team can be made much better, or much worse, depending on the attitude and behavior of those waiting.
Despite the many challenges that come with working on the holidays, the dedication of these incredible people is unrivaled. They offer themselves and their considerable skill sets, regularly going above and beyond without expectation of reward. It is thanks to these hard workers that practices like Sunstone can take the holidays off and trust that our patients will be in good hands should the worst case arise.
Veterinary Holiday Workers, you have our unending gratitude.
Internal Medicine Assistant