Putting the human-animal bond to work for you in six easy steps

Presnted in Orange Beach, AL, on June 29, 2002


Caroline B. Schaffer, DVM
College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health
Tuskegee University
Veterinary medicine is changing. The importance of the human-animal bond is finally being recognized openly by the veterinary medical profession and by schools/colleges of veterinary medicine.
Historically, veterinary medicine has focused on the diseases and physical injuries of animals. Veterinarians were not encouraged to look at the impact the animal's health had on its relationship with its owner and family. It was a rare professor in schools/colleges of veterinary medicine who told students to attend to the needs of their clients as well as the needs of their patients. After graduation, veterinarians learned by trial and error that their compassion and empathy for their clients--not just for their patients--determined their success and their professional satisfaction.
Now enlightened veterinarians look at the client (person) and not just the patient (animal). To help put the human-animal bond into every Alabama practice, Dr. Caroline Schaffer's presentation will:
  1. help veterinarians understand their clients' needs and appreciate the relationship patients have with their owners, their family, their neighborhood, and the veterinary medical staff,
  2. summarize research that shows that the bond is real and quite powerful,
  3. help veterinarians nurture the relationship between client and patient in order to enhance career satisfaction, self esteem, and income.
The six easy steps Dr. Schaffer offers for putting the human-animal bond to work in veterinary practices can be summarized by six verbs: demonstrate, communicate, identify, anticipate, educate, and appreciate. She gives examples of each step, hoping to stimulate each Alabama veterinarian to develop a style of interacting with clients, patients, and staff that will be uniquely satisfying and rewarding.