Reflect on life's blessings, including pets

I suspect for many of you that this time of year is a bit hectic. I know that is the case for me.

There is so much to do during the holidays, decorating the house, shopping, planning for gatherings, cooking, and the list goes on. With so much going on, I must remind myself to stop and reflect on all the true blessings I have in my life, and there are many I know I share with you.

One of these blessings is my work. I cannot imagine a better job than one that involves working with people and their companions. The human-animal bond is one of the greatest gifts we have, and to be able to work in an environment that displays these special relationships is priceless.

Can you imagine how wonderful it is to be able to help bring an animal back to health when faced with illness?

To be able to be part of something that brings such happiness to the people who deeply love animals is without compare.

Not all times are joyous. Sometimes, we are unable to restore a patient's health. There are times when a decision must be made to let a pet go. Even then, I am reminded of how tremendous the relationships we have with our pets can be. There is no more unselfish act of true love than to make the choice to end our pet's life, to sever a bond as great as any, knowing in your heart that it is best for them. And to be part of this ultimate expression is yet another special part of being a veterinarian.

This past year I was forced to make that very decision. To let my dog Al go was the most difficult decision I have ever made. Having been involved in so many similar situations with clients, I thought I would be prepared; I was not. I agonized. Knowing all along what I needed to do, I finally looked my dog in the eyes, gave him an injection, then, as the tears clouded my eyes, I kissed him goodbye.

Take a moment during these busy times to reflect on all that our pets mean to us and all the priceless memories we have because of them.