Letter to the Editor: A Tale of Two Vets
By Rachel Gjersvik
Published August 17, 2012
Though my friends consider me a crazy cat lady, I am among the special group of New Yorkers who feel a strong connection
towards their pets. Every since my family adopted Cotton and Belle at the ASPCA, my love for animals increasingly grew. From
that point on, I knew I wanted an occupa-tion where I would see adorable pets every day. And when asked what I wanted to be, “something where I could help animals” would be my immediate response. Also,
since Belle was struggling with liver
problems I knew I wanted to help other
Rachel Gjersvik
animals like her. Sadly, I always tried to avoid the downside of being a veterinarian - you had to handle tragedies. But it only took one particular day to burst this illusion of being a vet.

It was two years ago when I had shadowed our veterinarian of many years. Going in with an open mind, I had no idea what to expect. The thought of discovering my new career excited me for this was what I had yearned to do. Within the first couple of hours I was introduced to the doctors and assistants along with the patients at hand. Moonlight was the first patient of the day, and was in to get neutered. Though two weeks younger than the minimum age of getting neutered, Moonlight’s owner requested this be done and the doctor complied. Even though I was suspicious, I quickly brushed it aside and got dressed in scrubs. Fully aware of my inexperience, the assistants padded the floors with pillows and showed me two bars where I could lean against during the surgery. Hours in, the doctors meticulously examined the insides of Moonlight. She was way too young to be getting this surgery and this one and a half hour surgery turned into a four-hour disaster. Barely able to stay erect, I politely made an exit to the door and got some water.

Outside, I heard one of the female doctors on the phone. She looked apprehensive and sounded unsure of herself, and in truth she was. Once getting off the phone, she turned to her coworker to explain the pandemonium. A now ex-client had called to explain a near death experience that he had just gone through. Earlier in the week, this pet owner had brought in his dog to be checked out. It was an emergency check-up for this guy knew something was wrong with his dog. After testing his dog, the results seemed fine and the doctor informed the man that everything was okay, but the guy’s intuition told him differently. This intuition drove him and his dog to another vet in the suburbs. Upon arrival, the new vet had rushed the dog to an animal hospital to be treated. Finally confronting the owner on how the dog’s sodium levels were not able to be tested, since a specific machine had been broken the day before, the man went on a rant about how irresponsible it was to not inform the owner. Surprisingly enough the dog’s sodium levels were below average, which caused for its immediate hospitalization. Once the owner’s rant concluded, the vet sincerely apologized “for the hospitalization of his Cat!” Even more infuriated with her stupidity, he finally hung up.

At this point I had only one thought in mind; I need to find a new vet ASAP! Queasy from the recent surgery and dumbfounded by this phone call, I quickly thanked the doctors and shorted my full day shadowing to a brief four and a half hours.

Rushing home to inform my parents of the news, I began to look up new vets in the area on my iPhone. With the recommendations from my friends with pets, I soon decided with my family that Animal General would be our new Veterinary group. Not only is Animal General a friendly veterinary group, but also a homey one. And thanks to them, my severely emaciated cat Belle was brought back to health. All I can say is how grateful I am to have been introduced to this group, for now I can honestly say I trust my vet.End