Sunday, November 3, 2013

A seasoned veterinarian once told me that I could either be an inch wide and a mile deep, or a mile wide and an inch deep.  He was referring to how veterinarians developed their professional skills.  Some focus on one particular area and become so knowledgeable that they become experts.  This focus often produces individuals who are indeed an inch wide and a mile deep.  If the entire body of veterinary knowledge known to man could be quantified into a width of 1 mile, that would mean there would be no fewer than 63,360 inches worth of material to become familiar with, thus providing a niche for a virtually unlimited number of specialists.  Perhaps this is why so many universities boast faculty members who know more about their areas of expertise than any one else in the world.  With so many areas of expertise to choose from, there will always be a demand for those individuals who have the hunger to dive deep into the chasms of scientific knowledge.  Then there are those who take a broader approach, that seek to comprehend a wide variety of topics and but in the process fail to achieve deep comprehension.  After 4 years of being a veterinarian I find myself subscribing more and more to this approach; the approach of the mixed animal veterinarian.

As a mixed animal veterinarian, I see whatever comes through the door whether it be a cherished member of the family or a valued unit of production.  In my career I have dealt professionally with cattle, horses, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, lizards, snakes, water buffalo, reindeer, musk oxen, bears, wolves, elk, deer, hawks, and guinea pigs.  Every animal encounter I have had as a veterinarian was facilitated by a human; each one with a slightly different attachment to their animal.  This variety of situations has resulted in the development of a broad knowledge base that not only has medical components, but also emotional, economic, social, political and even spiritual aspects.  It has also resulted in a career in which I never live the same day twice; everyday presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.  I feel very privileged, and perhaps even blessed, to have such a career.

Because I have been given access to a wide array of experiences and insights, I have decided to start a blog.  My motivations stem partly from feelings of obligation to share what I have gained from my particular situation, partly from a desire to find expression for the multitude of thoughts and impressions that I receive from it, and partly because I have heard that writers can make a lot more money than veterinarians so it wouldn't hurt me to learn how to write. (ever hear of James Herriot?)

For me, getting started has been a big obstacle.  My time is split between my work, my family, my religion, my community, and my hobbies.  I don't want blogging to be merely the latest addition to a long list of neglected hobbies that I have accumulated, though it more than likely will be neglected at different points in time.  Nonetheless, now that I have gotten the first post down I hope the next one will come a little easier.


  1. You are a great writer and you should write, good for you! Consider yourself validated :) I'll be stopping in for a good read again soon :)

  2. Thanks Moe, it's good to know I have at least one follower;)

  3. Loved it Todd! I agree with Kenzie. Your a great writer. I think I consider myself a mile wide and inch deep. I get it from mom, and I'm thinking you do as well. She tries something, gets really good at it, then gets bored. I love that about her and myself. It makes us resourceful and not bored ;) Keep the posts coming.

  4. Thanks Caity! Make that two followers;)