So, all of the hoopla from the True Confessions segment titled, “Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest with You?” has died, as it should. That is one grave site I don’t mind standing by.  However, I will throw a red rose of gratitude onto the casket of this ABC 20/20 journalism “fail”.

First of all, I promised to share the results of the PetED poll that I posted on my last blog; Has the ABC 20/20 Trash Talk Effected Your Practice.    Of the 24 individuals that responded, 100% of them stated that their clients never mentioned the program. Now, I understand that is a very small sampling, but it is positive none-the-less.  That means that the veterinary profession has done a decent job of communicating with our clients.  If pet owners did not value the recommendations we provide, there would have been a bigger backlash from this program.  So everyone can take a deep sigh of relief.  This is what all that extra time you have taken to educate pet owners has been all about.  Be careful not to pull a muscle, but feel free to pat yourselves on the back. Embrace as well, that for as far as we have come, we have miles to go.

This program also got the profession united and talking.  Rebecca Rose, CVT of CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants and I chatted the other morning about the value of conversations.  An unfortunate and painful situation recently hit the news in Colorado.  It centered around the loss of a beloved pet while anesthesia and surgery was being provided at the pet’s home by a house call veterinarian and her assistant.  This has brought up important issues like standard-of-care and the state practice act.   Ms. Rose will be helping the profession deal with this all on a state level.  Over coffee that morning, she and I marveled how uncomfortable experiences, get groups talking and are most often the stimulus needed for change and looking at critical issues.

So, the profession “got off easy”.  Dr Marty Becker did not.  I personally would like to state that I am proud of Dr Becker and his decision to take a stand against ABC 20/20.  This decision comes at a personal risk to his ability to fulfill his mission and quite frankly, his dream.  This action is something called “speaking truth to power”.  As a public figure, his actions are what speaks loudest and we all have something to learn here.  When we are not treated fairly, it is imperative that we take action. What ABC 20/20 did, was deceptive and a form of violence….to his career and reputation.  He could easily have maintained the relationship with ABC out of fear for the loss of a valuable platform.  Instead, he severed the ties as a way of respecting himself AND his profession.

My yoga instructor, Kathy Holmes, has a saying that I just recently began to understand.  She says, “In the end, everyone gets a Thank You card”.  She usually says that in response to some painful resentment or injustice I have endured and shared with her.  I used to think…”Now, what the heck does that mean.”  Well, I have grown to understand that through discomfort, we have the opportunity to grow or learn something very important about ourselves.  Had the offense not been incurred, the transformation not possible.

In my first blog about this topic, I sarcastically said “Maybe we should send ABC and Disney a Thank You card“. And I would love to see them apologize, but personally I am sending them a mental thank you card for illuminating that which we do well, how much more we can come and for letting us get to know the character of an important member of our veterinary family.

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