Ways to Thank Your Veterinarian–and Why It Means So Much

My pets are part of my family, so I’m extremely grateful to the veterinary teams that help us through sickness and health. Typically, I’ll drop off a holiday card with bottles of wine before their party or a giant popcorn tin, though once I brought a box of chocolates without realizing it could accidentally poison any visiting dogs. (Fortunately, the friendly gal at the front desk winked at me and promised to keep it safe.)

Gestures of gratitude at any time of year can mean the world to the veterinary professionals who work so hard to care for our beloved animals – including long hours that can be filled with stress since often they’re dealing with life-and-death situations.

I asked my friends how they thank their veterinarians and their teams, and heard some fabulous ideas:

  • We have made donations in our veterinarian’s name and we always deliver a basket full of goodies during the holidays.
  • Back when I had a boarding kennel and more dogs, I took them pumpkin bread at the holidays, and one year made wine jelly and gave everyone a jar.
  • We had lunch delivered for everyone. We worked with the front desk staff to pick a good day and just “GrubHubbed” it to their office.
  • Homemade quiches.
  • Hot dogs and Kit Kats.
  • We’ve sent flowers after the death of a beloved cat because our veterinarian and her staff were among the most compassionate and competent I’ve ever known.
  • I give homemade cookies at holidays and throughout the year. They’re a big hit. When my first favorite vet retired, I donated in his name to a fund at his veterinary school alma mater.
  • I’ve written several checks for their “angel fund,” to help a pet owner who may not have the money, especially in an emergency.
  • I made her homemade chocolates in the shapes of cats and dogs for her birthday!

Carrie Jurney, DVM, DACVM (Neurology), a veterinary neurologist who owns California-based Jurney Veterinary Neurology, is vice president of Not One More Vet, a nonprofit with an online support group for veterinary professionals that aims to prevent suicide, which sadly affects the profession at a higher rate than the general population.

Dr. Jurney loves when clients express gratitude in any way.

“I have received so many wonderful gestures from my clients,” she said. “I cannot tell you how amazingly helpful it is to open a thank you card or read a positive Yelp review on a really hard day.”

Dr. Jurney said her colleagues feel the same way, noting they have incredibly emotional jobs, and there can be “very tough moments” on a daily basis.

“These gestures are bright spots that help us remember that it’s not all bad, and that we have helped people,” she says.

Gestures don’t need to be extravagant. In fact, Dr. Jurney asked members of Not One More Vet’s Facebook group what their favorite gesture of gratitude is … and “cards and letters” topped the list with 423 votes. The veterinarians who responded also appreciate positive online reviews and comments, food, verbal thanks, and other gifts, like flowers.

So when thanking veterinarians and their teams, a little can go a long way.

“The majority of us actually save cards and letters,” Dr. Jurney said. “It can be an important life raft when an overwhelmingly hard day has you down. Reading through that box of cards helps you reset emotionally.”

Veterinarians do so much to keep our pets as healthy and happy as possible, so the choice is clear. On behalf of our beloved animals, let’s get thanking!

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

Award-winning journalist Jen Reeder is former president of the Dog Writers Association of America.

Photo courtesy of Jurney Veterinary Neurology