Written by Michael W. Miller, DVM
You are enjoying your day off at a gathering with friends, and then it happens. Someone finds out you work in veterinary medicine. Uh oh! You plaster on a fake smile as you listen to how veterinarians are too expensive, or how veterinary technicians are so rude to require an aggressive dog to wear a muzzle, or how the staff is so pushy trying to force them to use heartworm prevention. In your mind you make the uncomfortable decision whether to nod along silently vs. attempting to interrupt and educate. Either way, the event ends with you wishing you had done a better job hiding your profession.
It wasn’t always this way. A generation ago (or maybe two), veterinarians were the voice of reason for pet health. Several of my mentors were well-known in their communities and welcomed the notoriety. They and their veterinary staff were revered and respected.
Then something shifted. Now the veterinary witches and wizards of our current generation tend to hide their powers from pet-owning Muggles. What changed?
Dark magic has emerged. Online opinions question our recommendations. Products “your vet doesn’t want you to know about” are pushed by pet store clerks. Social media becomes a weapon for bullying and harassment. Young professionals are faced with skepticism from clients while battling imposter syndrome. (Each one of those could be its own blog post topic… and will be eventually!)
So, how should veterinary wizards respond to this?
Some of us have gone into hiding intent to conceal our magic from muggles. (Sing it with me: “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them knoooow…” Oops. Sorry. Wrong magical genre!)
Others have bravely stepped out attempting to combat the misinformation that breeds dark magic. Putting your views out there is challenging… and risky. Veterinary Dementors are just waiting to drain your happiness. Veterinary Death Eaters are ready to tear you down from inside the profession.
Maybe the answer actually is to stay in hiding. If you are a wizard still working on your magic, maybe it’s best to stay in the protected realm of other veterinary wizards. Continue to practice your veterinary magic with the support of your team, and avoid frustrating battles with the muggles. For some wizards, that may be what is necessary to continue to make the magic happen in the hospital. I want to tell you that if you have this personality, it is okay! You can still be a wizard in the hospital even if you conceal yourself amongst muggles outside of work.
However, if you have the skills and courage to share your knowledge, then do it! Misinformation is powerful, but expert information can be even more powerful. Just like every other aspect of veterinary magic, changing the mindset of muggles takes a special approach. For those who are good at it, keep it up. For those still working on it, keep practicing and perfecting your magic. The entire world of veterinary wizards benefits from the stories you share.
One of the lucky parts of veterinary medicine is that we do not have an International Statute of Secrecy. And even better, we have the option to share our vet magic or keep it hidden.
One of the secrets of veterinary magic that I am discovering is that it can be different for everyone, and that’s okay! If you feel better keeping your magic a secret when you are around muggles, you still get to be magical at work. If you want to share your magic outside of work to help assist animal-loving muggles confunded by Dark Magic, that’s great too! Our world of veterinary magic allows witches and wizards to either stay in hiding or reveal themselves to muggles. The choice is yours, and you still get to be magical either way.