The Quilt of Life

My life has consisted of many imperfectly sewn together squares. These squares are the equivalent to the chapters in a page turning novel, that currently remains unwritten. The fabric that has held everything together so far has been veterinary medicine.

The animals have always been my passion. When I decided to become a veterinarian there was no stopping me. I vividly recall being at a local gas station and bothering maybe even begging, Dr Regusa for a job at Raton Animal Hospital. He worked his magic and an interview with Dr. Mark Jansen was granted. I ate, slept, and dreamt veterinary medicine from that point until present.

Mark informed me if I was going to succeed, I better always be doing something. There was always something to do in a vet hospital he said. Randomly, he threw out some examples of things I could clean. He mentioned there were tons of other tasks and I should be able to find them without bothering him. Employees should be productive all the time was his mantra. That summer I carried spray bottle and rag everywhere I went.

This was my first official job that included a boss. I previously ponied horses at the race track, where I was my own boss and knew what was expected. Laboring in a hospital was a hugely different dynamic which sometimes was served up with drama, both veterinary and otherwise. Looking back, I knew so little. I wonder how often, one gets to step into the shoes of their mentor. As a practice owner it is amazing how different the view was, surprisingly much the same as my mentors I bet. I now know what it is like to be in the self employed club, it is a definite blessing that is weighted heavily with stresses.

The memories of those summers play daily in my mind. Like the time we were semen testing bulls and Mark was talking and talking with the rancher. It was starting to snow, it was miserable and cold. I finally asked him to stop talking and start ejaculating! He and the rancher never let me live that down. There are so many other stories that stream through my mind like the rubbing alcohol incident, the new tire incident, the escaped heifers incident, the lasix caper, and working on African wild dogs and zebras. The above definitely constitute their own book/blog!

Mark was always smiling, laughing, joking, and was infamous for his practical jokes. He loved to talk and always had something he wanted to show or tell. Looking at it from my current situation as the head of a small company, how did he make time for everyone and still accomplish all the necessary tasks required to run a hospital and treat patients. He was the quintessential people person. I regret that I didn’t make the time to tell him how much he meant to me. He will be greatly missed. The thought of going to Raton and not having the option to pop in (usually because I have forgotten something or needed something for one of my favorite brother’s animals) and visit a minute causes the tears to flow.

He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the community he served.

4 thoughts on “The Quilt of Life

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