Nowadays, even hamsters are taken to the vet for checkups. When I was young kid, way back in the early 60s, veterinarians were reserved for “real” pets, like dogs and cats. But now vets are almost like a part of the family, even receiving special veterinary gifts for the holidays!

And if you don’t want to get too specific as to their profession’s particular symbols, there are always plenty of choices for gifts that come in silver or other metals as well- especially ones that reflect their love of animals.

I know, vets are paid well for their services. That is true, but realize that many of them go well beyond the call of duty. I’ve known vets to stay way past closing time to watch over an ill or injured pet, someone’s “baby”. Perhaps this has even happened to you!  These are very special people, and like everyone doing a job more for love than money; vets appreciate your noticing this.

My family had a veterinarian for many years. When he finally retired, his daughter took over the practice. It was great because we knew Gina for most of her life- she used to spend summers working for her dad in the practice. Once she got her DVM degree, we couldn’t resist treating her with her very own vet symbol pendant in silver . She got teary eyed and put it on right then and there, and she wasn’t the only one with tears in her eyes.

I love the fact that more and more women are getting into this profession. I think the nurturing ability of women makes them a natural for veterinary work. I’ve heard the statistic that over 75% of all vets enrolled in college are now women. I could be off, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that figure’s true.

My advice is if you find a veterinarian you and your pets are comfortable with, stay put. I wouldn’t advise shopping around just to save a few pennies somewhere else. If your vet is competent, kind and has good communication skills, you shouldn’t quibble. He or she is probably worth the extra money!

On the other hand, if your vet makes you uncomfortable, seems overly gruff and is annoyed with your questions, don’t hesitate to shop around for someone you feel better about. He or she is a very important part of your animal’s care, and you want to feel good dealing with this person for any questions or situations that might arise in the future.

Especially with small, exotic or avian pets- make sure you find out how often you should get your pet checked out. Birds especially are able to hide illnesses well- it’s a survival trait not to let possible predators know they’re under the weather.

Above all, make sure you thank your hard-working vet for a job very well done. They deserve it!