An authentic petition by Dr. Andrew Roark.

Guide me in
medicine. Please let me find the tiny, dehydrated vein of the ancient kitty
when I am asked to perform euthanasia under the emotional eye of her owner. I
pray for this first, Lord, because it is my single most common reason for
prayer, so let’s start there.

Lord, help
me be a good doctor. Not even a great doctor like House, MD, but at least a
doctor who will not space out and miss the glaringly obvious stuff that every
veterinarian should know.

Lord, let no
other doctor look at one of my medical records, shake her head and think,
“What an idiot.”

If I do make
a mistake, please let the lesson find its way firmly into my memory and not
onto Google reviews or Angie’s List.

Grant me patience
and understanding

Grant me a
future that includes someday not having to work on weekends. And until that
day, I beg you for a few Saturday shifts that are not entirely insane.

When the
anal glands express erratically, may their contents find my coat and not my
face or hair.

It is not
lost on me that the genuinely wonderful pets seem to have a significantly
higher chance of getting an incurable illness at a young age. If these pets
have memorable names (Professor Snacks, Captain America, Chipper Donut, Jabba
Bear, etc.), live with children and have delightful owners, their long-term
survival rates are even worse.

While I do
not seek to understand your reasoning for this, and I am grateful for those
pets that seem to be too bad to die, I would really appreciate it if more of
the great ones could live nice, long lives.

Give me

Bestow upon
me the strength to eat heartily from the holiday veggie trays that clients send
and to merely sample the brownies.

And when my
strength fails (as it will), please guide me to be more reasonable in my goals
and aim at least not to eat the entire batch before the technicians know the
baked goods have arrived.

Make smooth
my dealings with staff.

Please make
me the kind of veterinarian other people enjoy working with. Please let the
technicians and receptionists like me for the right reasons, and if one or two
of them decide not to like me, make that be for the right reasons, too.

Also: Might
I request to be scheduled to work when the staff training meetings involve free
lunch—and off when they do not? Speaking of schedules, please smite the
technician who calls me at home early Saturday morning when it is not really,
absolutely, without a doubt, critically necessary. Smite him good.

Give me
wisdom in handling clients.

I thank you
for all the wonderful clients you send into my life each day. When it comes to
those few who are less enjoyable, help me to recognize the cases that I should
refer away immediately. In extreme cases, feel free to strike me with an
illness, so I am not in the building when the real nightmare cases come in. If
I were able to choose between getting pneumonia or getting sued, I’d take the

When I call
the mean owners to check in on their pets, let my call go to voicemail.
Likewise, please do not allow the mentally unbalanced breeders find out where I
live. I don’t want to have to choose between moving and changing professions.

please give me the wisdom not to ask any pet owner when she is due unless I am
absolute, 100 percent sure that she’s pregnant.


Dr. Andrew
Roark, MS, is an associate veterinarian, author, and speaker. He practices at
Cleveland Park Animal Hospital in Greenville, S.C. He is the founder and
managing director of veterinary consulting firm Tall Oaks Enterprises. This
article was originally published in DVM360 at

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