Childhood Reminiscences

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By Dr Tamsin Price

August 2017

 

The smell of a brown leather lead, dog hair and sanitized floors takes me back to my childhood
vet, Bedfordview Veterinary Hospital. Myself, and a barrage of animals, would tumble out of the
car and investigate the oak-shaded, moss-covered parking lot thoroughly. Together we would
enter a building, which unbeknown to me, shaped my very existence. Waiting our turn, my legs
swinging gently against the wooden benches, I would carefully study the fascinating, yet
somewhat frightening, magnified image of a flea on the waiting room wall.
The clinic was always a hive of activity, an outing I never wished to miss. My veterinary
forefathers namely Dr. Warnes, Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Kilian merge into one wise being in my early
memories; a presence, an authority, a healer and problem solver offering an air of peace and
safety.
The practice courtyard offered a burst of green, housing a large leafed tree with thick branches
and two lazy tortoises that happily lumbered around their little kingdom. Each visit was an
opportunity for tortoise spotting. The consultation rooms seemed dark, as my eyes adjusted from
the brightness outside. Everything was tall, godly if you will, as I looked up at the veterinarian
examining the family companion on the consultation table. A fascinating room of things out of my
reach, thus with doe eyes I stood on my tiptoes to observe the goings on. I never truly ventured
to the back of the clinic, that area remained a mystery, a space of intrigue, where my mentors
performed their magic.
As a young child sorrow is not truly an emotion grasped, that understanding comes with age.
Although undoubtedly sorrow and loss were experienced in their presence, yet never once has
seeing them flooded me with returning pain. They are guardians of the gateway to relief and
resolution and in them I trusted fully.
A few decades later I now stand as a young qualified veterinarian. It is now supposedly my role to
offer an air of authority, peace and solution. How does one attempt to mimic your childhood
idols? How do you rise to the level of what in your eyes was a god? I still look at them with the
same doe eyes I had years earlier and in return they continue to hold my metaphorical hand as I
make my own path. My path in both classical veterinary medicine and passion for rehabilitation.
Their shoes are too large and too different for me to fill. I now have to mold my own, as my
forefathers walk alongside me. May I find the strength to rise as a goddess amongst the gods.

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