Way back in 2006 (I’m totally dating myself here), is when I first met Dr Kristen Carpenter. Of course, at the time, she was just Kristen Bodtmann, and we were both not doctors yet. We had actually JUST been admitted to vet school, and were headed to orientation down at Penn in Philadelphia. She was the first person I met on my way to orientation – in the Penn book store – we were both checking out some of the PennVet related merchandise and struck up a conversation. Little did we know that conversation would lead to a lifelong friendship.
From that very first day, we continued to be friends, and have continued to be in each other’s lives. We worked together whenever we could choose partners in vet school, we became roommates in the latter part of vet school when the long hours made it hard for me to commute, and I was even there when she met her now husband, Chip, for the very first time! Through many countless hours of studying, and lab work, and test taking, Kristen was my closest friend in vet school. Now don’t get me wrong, I was a very dedicated and hard-working student…but Kristen would put me to shame! We would always joke that we would start studying and like 30 minutes into it I would be like, ‘Do you have any snacks?’, or ‘I’m going to take a quick break.’ While Kristen could study for hours without losing focus – and don’t get me wrong, I was an excellent student too, she was just better. Lol.
After vet school she did an internship and started working in a private practice where she gained some amazing experience….but about 4 years ago now, her and I started talking about her joining us over at Pennridge. From the day Jen and I started Pennridge, I knew I wanted Kristen to work there. She is an awesome veterinarian, and is just as awesome of a human. She is kind, compassionate, and wicked smart. I knew she would be a wonderful fit – so as soon as our practice had grown enough to support adding her, she made the jump and we haven’t looked back! As she’s been with us, her experience and expertise has continued to grow. She is an amazing doctor, and has expanded her knowledge to include ultrasounds, and is currently working on expanding that even further to get certified! She has two beautiful little girls who are growing and thriving, and we still do our best to make time for our friendship.
Kristen had started a blog in the past year or so as well, and has been quietly writing about her thoughts on life. She focuses a lot on the importance of finding balance in your life, and other life skills to make sure you are taking care of yourself as well as those around you. She recently wrote about some of the most important things to remember for ourselves, about why we love veterinary medicine. This field can be hard – it is emotionally stressful and draining, it can be long hours away from our families, and people aren’t always kind and compassionate as they should be. At the end of the day we still love what we do, but it is important sometimes to remind ourselves why we do what we do, and how important it is to still take time for ourselves and to have boundaries. With her permission, I would like to share her most recent blog post below:
I wrote this to remind myself what I truly do each day and what matters the most to me. Like others, it is easy for me to get caught up in the mundane day-to-day tasks, to get burnt out, and to forget what really matters. I wrote this to show others that Veterinarians care – they care about you and your family and they care about the animals that bring joy to your lives. The job description of a Veterinarian is so much more to me than what you see when you walk into the office.
Job Description of a Veterinarian
To foster the intuitive sense in others that all life is precious and deserves respect, love, and when in need – protection and care
To help the people and animals around me thrive
To alleviate pain and suffering
To impart feelings of warmth and support
To make decisions that support the long term well being of those that I care for
Commitment to incremental improvement in quality of life
To practice any type of medicine that promotes healthspan, not just lifespan
To respect shared time with others by being fully present in each moment
Making an impact by teaching that every creature matters
Knowing that anyone can serve and anyone can love, therefore anyone can be great
It is not….
To see more appointments in less time
To over-communicate a list of tasks and duties required of a “good” pet owner and miss the chance to truly bond with a patient or client
To pass judgment on others for having a different life view on animals or ability/life circumstances to care for their pets
Prioritizing organizational rules over doing the right thing
A license to stop receiving feedback from others
Allowing your profession to become your identity – no one can take away your gift to care for animals and your inherent worth does not depend on your employment status
~ Being a Veterinarian is to always remember that being a steward of animal life is a calling, not a job ~
If you would like to read more of her amazing insights on life, love, and finding happiness in the every day, check out her blog at https://todayistheday.info/ And here’s to many more years of friendship, and fighting the good fight for pets in need together.