Pets and Pet Health

VetWrap: Are Vets Funny? Humour in Veterinary Medicine Today

Are vets funny? My husband would undoubtedly say NO. However, I beg to differ.

While I myself cannot claim to have the wit it takes to be truly funny, there are definitely some vet personalities that fit the bill.

There is of course The Original Vet personality, James Herriot, author of “All Creatures Great and Small,” “All Things Wise and Wonderful,” and “The Lord God Made Them All,” among others. This British veterinarian captured the attention and imagination of many a budding veterinarian, and frankly set the tone.

Herriot’s books, while they admittedly romanticize what life might be like as a veterinarian, truly reflect the client relationships we build over time. They are so full of the “you would not believe this happened” moments, that every practicing vet can attest to.

I thought that many of my professors were very funny. So many of them managed to keep us interested (awake) during the long hours of lecture with humorous anecdotes — often at their own expense. The “do as I say, not as I did as a baby vet” theme was strong.

Dr. Sarah Boston was a professor of mine at the Ontario Veterinary College. She is a board-certified veterinary surgical oncologist (translation — awesome). She wrote a wonderful book called “Lucky Dog,” which I highly recommend you check out if you have not yet had the chance. It made the Canadian non-fiction list of bestsellers in 2014 and is a page turner.

Not only is she a celebrated author, but she has recently turned to stand-up comedy, and contributes to a satirical newspaper, The Cageliner.

It would be impossible to talk about humour in the veterinary world without mentioning Dr. Andy Roark. In addition to being a motivational speaker, his social media presence and podcast are so apt. The “Cone of Shame” and “Vets Reading Bad Pet Advice” (think Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”) provide comic relief, but also an online voice to a population that needs it.

Lately, it seems humour is what our profession is drawn to. Veterinary medicine is dealing with a lot of heavy stuff — from increasing suicide rates, burnout and compassion fatigue to mass exoduses — a conversation for another day.

We struggle every day. We see pain and suffering, we see death … but we also laugh every day.  Sarah Boston said it best. Her mission is to make veterinarians laugh more because “as a profession, we really need to do this.”

So … are vets funny? Check out some of my favourites for yourself and decide.

Further Reading:

Dr. Sarah Boston

Making Flop Bott a Household Word Since 2002




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