Cue close up of a handsome, if slightly portly, golden retriever.
Cut to a scene of him playing fetch on the beach. It’s not all sunshine and puppy dogs, though. This doggo had a heart-based tumor. That’s right…had. As in he no longer does. And his exceptionally wealthy family is exceptionally grateful.
So they took out this 6 million dollar super bowl ad to tout the importance of veterinary research, thank The University of Wisconsin for saving his life, and solicit donations for their research program.
It’s enough to make you teary-eyed. I know I got a major case of the “I’m just cutting onions, nothing to see here”’s
And yet I’ve seen more than one person say—“I know the intentions were good, BUT…” As in “But why didn’t they donate the money directly to the school?” or “But why didn’t they set up an angel fund to help other pets with cancer?” Or “But why didn’t they start a scholarship for vet students interested in research…?”
And I’ll admit, for a hot moment, my brain went there too.
And then I realized that was absurd!
Let’s not even talk about the fact that good marketing is MADE to bring in far more than it costs—and this is great marketing. Because it’s true—this ad cost 6 million dollars and I bet you it will generate far more than that in donations—to the University of Wisconsin as well as other vet schools.
And let’s not talk about how vet med could use a dose of good PR, and that seeing this kind of gratitude from a pet owner can make us all feel happier and more appreciated.
No, instead let’s take a moment to talk about how we all need to stop having such unrealistic expectations.
Why is it that we can’t just take a moment to be happy about something? Why do we always have to think it’s not good enough.
And guys, I’m not just talking about pet owners here—or billionaire CEOs who are fond of grand gestures. Though we need to be a lot less judge-y towards them too. Let’s face it—we’re almost never as hard on others as we are on ourselves. If we think a great big “thank you” on national TV that will be seen by tens, or even hundreds of millions of people, isn’t enough, then I KNOW we’re not appreciating the little things we do every day.
How often do we say things to ourselves like, “I know I saw 20 patients today, BUT I had to turn away that vomiting dog and maybe I could have tried harder to fit her in.” Or “I know I already worked 50 hours this week, BUT maybe I could have covered for my friend whose son was homesick.” Or “I know the clients declined referral and GDVs have a guarded prognosis, BUT maybe if someone else had cut, the dog would have survived.”
What if we all just removed the word “BUT” from our vocabulary for a single week? (“butt” is still okay—as in “look at that cute, little corgi butt.”) What if we replaced “BUT” with “AND.”
“I know I saw 20 patients today, AND that vomiting dog was going to get better care at the emergency clinic.”
“I know I already worked 50 hours this week, AND it’s important that I spend time with my own family.”
“I know the clients declined referral and GDVs have a guarded prognosis, AND by taking him to surgery myself I gave him a chance and got a good learning experience to be able to better help the next dog.”
Isn’t that so much better? Isn’t that so much more empowering?
It’s a hard habit to break so let’s start small. For one day—just one day, try to catch yourself when you start saying “but,” and replace it with “and.” You can do it, and so can I.