Thankfulness On Thanksgiving

By now the turkey has all been deboned, ready to be made into soups and sandwiches. The pain of yesterday’s gluttony has passed and we’re trying to decide which leftovers we should dive into next.

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Family is an important thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

There is another “leftover” we don’t leave behind on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

The “thanks.”

Our gratitude doesn’t leave us after we give thanks on Thursday because the blessings continue to flow.

As a veterinarian I have much to be thankful for.

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We are thankful for our humble little clinic.

I’ve been in practice 32 years and the joy I’ve experienced has been incalculable. Success stories abound in my memory, and even those patients whose health didn’t turn around in spite of our best efforts have left us with gratitude for having had the opportunity to help both the patient and its people.

I’m grateful for loving, devoted employees who care about our patients as much as I do. A colleague gave me some excellent hiring advice once: “We have some applicants who need a job and some who want this job. The latter group is the people who do it for the animals, who get their joy from helping them. They are the people who will work hard and stay with us and grow in their jobs.”

I’ve hired people in both categories and I’m thankful for everyone who ever helped us do our job. And I’m most thankful for the ones in that second category who shared themselves while working.

This year we have been given the opportunity to enjoy this Thanksgiving with my wife, both of our twin sons, their lovely spouses, all four of our grandchildren and our son Jeremy’s in-laws: BaBee, PeePaw, Jenny, Craig and Nate. We give thanks to God daily for our wonderful family.

Our Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital makes it possible to leave town knowing that our patients are in the best hands available in our absence. Kudos to them and to every veterinary hospital serving pets, farm and zoo animals on this holiday.

I’m thankful for researchers whose talented minds have improved nearly every aspect of the practice of veterinary medicine in the years I’ve been a veterinarian. More and better vaccines have made preventible diseases that were routinely fatal when I was a child. New surgical techniques have been formulated and the anesthetics that make surgery possible have been improved. New means of preventing and relieving pain after surgery and injury can be used with safety and unprecedented efficacy. Modern suture materials stay in place until they are no longer needed, then dissolve without surgeons’ additional intervention.

Research has yielded new laboratory test methods and equipment to give results in minutes or hours which, when I began practice in 1980, took days to obtain. Some of that equipment sits on your veterinarian’s countertop, taking up no more space than an apartment-sized refrigerator, while costing as much as a car. Some is in sprawling reference laboratories, from which results can be conveyed electronically. The outcome of these “send-out” tests can be known within seconds of the end of a test through the miracle of FAX or email. In the eighth decade of the twentieth century results were dictated one by one over a phone, laboratory personnel to a clinic employee. A complete blood count, chemistry profile and urinalysismight take ten minutes to convey.

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As with the 2010 Thanksgiving trip, I will be delivering a newly-made piece of furniture, this one for Owen.

This Thanksgiving is reminiscent of November 25, 2010, when we made our way to Louisville, KY, for holiday time with

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Pearl was a trouper in her FidoRido, IV in a front leg and not feeling much like visiting.

the same family members. Our critically ill Pearl was on an IV pump powered by a portable power converter. That technology didn’t exist in 1980, either. Without it our Pearl wouldn’t have had the additional 2 ½ months we enjoyed with her.

And, no list of thankfulness would be complete without expressing gratitude for our Willie and our Maxx. Indeed, we are grateful to all our past pets, Sam and Blossum, Sally, Peyton, Pearl and Martha.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you and your pets,

Dr. Randolph.

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