The Season of Gratitude

Happy Holiday Season everybody!

We made the decision to drive to LA to spend thanksgiving with friends. Six hours there and seven hours back with 3 kids under 5yo. Rather than focus on the many, many, potential downsides to this decision. It got me thinking about gratitude. We are fortunate to have the time and means to make the trip and friends willing to open their home to us and our feral kids for a few days over the holidays!

Holidays can be the time we most look forward to but also a time of stress and extra burdens. I am an inherently negative person – often looking at the “down side” or playing the devils advocate. However I try each day to look at these everyday “burdens” as “opportunities” instead. I am LUCKY that I get to wake up everyday and able to get out of bed on my own; FORTUNATE to have kids to feed, clothe…and clean up after; BLESSED to have a job to go to and staff to pay, PRIVILEGED to earn enough to have taxes to pay. Because, although these are burdens, the alternative is that we don’t get to do any of them at all.

At our hospital, we have a lot to be thankful for this year. We have added four AMAZING staff members, one of our RVT’s has added a new member to her family and another was able to walk away from a horrific car accident. Business is good and we have amazing clients that make each day worthwhile. And if that’s not sufficient, we are lucky enough to be doing what we love and calling it “work”!

We are fortunate to have so much to be thankful for. However, with privilege, comes responsibility. All of us should be expected to be charitable with the freedom and opportunities we have been given, regardless of if we believe they came purely through our own hard work and determination or if we believe they were provided to us by some higher power, because at any point these opportunities may be taken from us.

How will you give during this season of giving?
We are in an inherently giving profession where on any given day we can make a small concession (small to us) that can literally be life changing or even life saving to a patient in need. On a daily basis we can add value to the lives of others by simply doing our job.

What are you grateful for?
Why not start with a “Gratitude list” – find a few moments to sit down and write out the 10 things you are most thankful for this season and share them!

Mine goes something like this:
• My faith
• My wife and kids
• Being able to take time away to visit family and friends back home
• That I live in a first world country full of opportunity
• That Notre Dame is winning
• My practice and the amazing people that work with me
• Our DVMA community
• “LivePD”: my new favorite show
• My health – good for now!
• The two and four-footed burdens that are my dogs – that constantly get out of the gate; the cats – that constantly pee on things; the pasture ornaments that eat me out of house and home; and the chickens that under produce some of the worlds most expensive eggs.

As an association, by definition, we are a connection, a collective, a group of people organized for a joint purpose. We are here to elevate our profession and to be a support structure for members who need it. Reach out to members that may be going through a difficult time and offer to help this holiday season. Worst case, they don’t need it but they know you care.

Happy holidays!

Hayden Webster
Owner, Lodi Veterinary Hospital
DVMA Vice-President

“Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are.” – Joyce Giraud