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Like Fine Wine, a Lady Veterinarian Ages

Dr. Bethany Innis, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVCHM, CVSMT


As a young veterinarian, I remember staring at my mix of primary care and emergency appointments and feeling cold sweat form on my brow. “Vomiting? That could be anything!” “Check eye? It's midnight and all the ophthalmologists are in bed!”

With the help of my mentors and some very patient support staff, all with great senses of humor, I gradually started to see that most vomiting does not lead to emergency surgery and most eye problems can be managed with time, medicine and outpatient eye appointments.

I was young. I was 25 years old when I started practice and I looked younger. I was showered with client comments such as “Send in the real doctor!” and “How OLD are you?” I was nervous, I was devoted and I had the temperament of most veterinarians. I was diligent, hard-working and I was a perfectionist.

Mostly, these qualities helped me, like they help all of us animal loving, service providing humans who choose to work with animals. I studied, I put the time in, and when something didn’t go as I expected, I remembered that case forever and vowed to do it better next time.

As a middle aged veterinarian, who NO ONE considers asking their age, I panic much less about what is coming in. I have learned that whatever is on the schedule may change, may look different than I expected, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. Instead of being mentored, I am starting to mentor myself and I can always use my dad’s claim to fame daily. “Do you know how I learned to do this right? Well, I did it the wrong way first!” [Insert booming laugh]

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