3 Lessons My Veterinarian Dad Taught Me (Part 1)

Lesson 1.  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
The thud of the 40 lb bag of dog food echoed in the outside kennels of my father’s office (remember, we called it an office as opposed to his practice). I pulled the white string that rips through the top of the bag and the, shall we say, “interesting” aroma of the dog food filled the air. We were all set to for the influx of the holiday boarding season.

Later that Saturday morning I was getting water for the dogs and inadvertently tripped over the broom and spilt water from the bowls in the entire bag of dog food. It was an unfortunate, but honest mistake. At my young age, I played tennis in my head about whether I would even tell Dad. After all, what harm could water really do to dog kibble? Well I decided to come clean. I sheepishly walked into the surgery room as he was hunched over  a comatose animal. He was concentrating of course and looking back I probably should have waited until he was finished with such a procedure. Nervous as hell, I told him with my quiet voice almost as to where he might not hear, but my conscience could rest knowing that I actually had told him. He responded, “Oh yeah? That’s unfortunate.” He clearly heard the disappointment in my voice with what I had done. Without even stopping or looking up he said, “I’ll have your mom or Rame pick some up. No one died. Don’t sweat the small stuff.” What a relief!
As I journey through life, I try to take this lesson with me without minimizing truly unfortunate situations. Frustration can come and go, but I do my best to keep it at bay because it serves no purpose and only breeds more negativity. As my cousin Ace once said regarding the matter of a co-worker executing repeated blows to a bent nail with a hammer out of pure frustration that he had bent the nail upon first blow nail, “The nail don’t care that you messed up.”

I am gently reminded of this lesson as I try to finish writing this email to you with multiple interruptions (including my own son stepping on dog poo and then picking up the poo with his hands and showing me)

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