A Thank You to Those Who Inspired Me...
This morning, flying over Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains on my way to the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience, I turned forty. As I looked out the window, I hoped for a glimpse of Mount Silverheels, the graciously-sloped peak named by the people of the town Buckskin Joe for the dance-hall girl whose inner beauty shone brightly when she risked her life to help the miners and their families after an outbreak of smallpox struck the town. Silverheels is veiled in clouds this morning, much as it is said she veiled herself after the disease disfigured her 150 years ago. She disappeared and was never seen again, yet many still feel her presence there.
Forty years ago today, the degree Doctor of Veterinary Medicine was bestowed upon me and as I began my journey, I took an oath to protect animal health and relieve animal suffering, and to practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. The journey has not been an easy one - the path often torturous and rocky – yet at the times it was most difficult - when obstacles seemed insurmountable, my guides manifest and made light the way. Today I give thanks to those who helped keep me on the path.
• Frederick Durr, DVM – Taken from your family and our profession tragically and far too soon 38 years ago, you have yet guided my conscience and have been my mentor. You are the reason I commit myself to the future of our bright young veterinary students.
• Joe Hoskins – Ever one-step away from homelessness, you showed a young doctor what compassion and self-sacrifice really is. You had barely enough for your own sustenance, yet an injured or sick puppy or kitten never went without help, and you always found a way to pay for their care. Thank you for the box of chocolate-covered cherries you brought me every Christmas – they’re still my favorites.
• Betty Holmes - Grande Dame of animal rescue, pioneer in animal abuse awareness and education
• Ben Zander - Dialed-down-to-calm, your trust instilled confidence. Your photograph will always grace our practice and inspire all who enter.
• William Trefz, DVM – When my implosion seemed imminent, your calming words quieted my inner storm. Thank you for lunch that day.
• Annemarie Murphy – The angel who had faith in this aging veterinarian and his dream, and demanded the financing to make the dream come true. Without you, I’d still be tilting at windmills.
• Michael Andrew Nigro, DVM – The competent, skilled, compassionate future of our practice. Thanks for giving me the push I needed to get to the Big 4-0.
• My wife Gayle – You just keep believing in me……Thank you.
Countless more family, clients, patients, and friends have graced my path, shared wisdom, and given inspiration. I honor you all and I wish I could name each in this column, but space, unfortunately, does not allow. Space will allow me to give each one’s initials, and as you find your initials, please accept my sincerest thanks for making the journey worthwhile:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z.
And finally, some of my favorite quotes:
If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.” ~Yiddish proverb
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ~ Marianne Williamson
“People have a way of becoming what you encourage to them to be -- not what you nag them to be.” ~Scudder N. Parker
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” ~Herm Albright
“Pessimism never won any battle.” ~ Dwight Eisenhower
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~Epictetus
“Those who can - do; those who can’t - criticize.” ~ Author Unknown
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." ~Mahatma Gandhi
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." ~Michelangelo Buonarroti
"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best.” ~ Max Beerbohm
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.” ~Henry Ford
“It's one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no person can help another without helping themselves.” ~Emerson
“Leap, and the net shall appear.” ~Author Unknown
“They can because they think they can.” ~Virgil
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” ~Harry Truman
“You must always do the thing you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Everything in this world was declared impossible before it was actually done.” ~Author Unknown
“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~ Emerson
May 30, 2010