Written by Tyler Grogan, CVT
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, word of Voldemort’s return has started to spread around the wizarding world. As in the past, it has provoked the greatest of dark magic’s powers: fear. This is most plain to see in the response from the Minister of Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge. Combating the Minister's fear, along with respecting his influential position, is Harry and the Order’s first and toughest battle against Voldemort's return.
In veterinary medicine, fear is also the greatest dark magic working against us. We have all seen the power fear holds over our clients as they grapple with decisions about their beloved pets. As veterinary professionals, we have good magic to help our clients work through their fears, even those as deeply affected as Cornelius Fudge.
One of the strongest aspects of magic we hold in our fight against fear is our team. Consider your team your very own Order of the Phoenix. The Order is comprised of the wizards who know what to expect in a fight against dark magic. We must rely on one another to win often unseen battles together behind the curtains, while our fearful clients are attempting to maintain their daily lives. Your team is a group of people that can handle the hard truths, that can discern the battles that must be fought.
Keep in mind that clients, especially those who are stricken with fear like Cornelius Fudge, don’t fight the same battles we do day-to-day. They are not all aurors, or even people who have ever seen the dark magic we’ve seen. We must work together to quell their fears by communicating one unified message: we are there to help them.
We can also combat fear through sharing our knowledge of veterinary dark magic. To a client who comes in with their dog’s eye squinted shut, they may be fearing the worst. How did it happen? Will my dog lose sight? Did I do something wrong? It is up to us to educate them about their pet’s healthcare needs. We can educate them about a corneal ulceration. We can give them hope that it can heal with medication and protection.
It may be challenging to gain their trust at first. Dumbledore went toe-to-toe with Cornelius Fudge, beseeching him to see reason, but even he was unsuccessful until the Minister of Magic saw the Dark Lord himself. Dumbledore continued to be persistent and patient. He continued to try to educate Fudge on what was happening, despite the negative reaction returned to him. Even when you feel like you're hitting a wall, don't forget, you may be gaining followers along the way. There may be long conversations at the dinner table that night, where half of the family may have been swayed to understand your points.
Most importantly in our battle against fear is the need to view Cornelius Fudge and his plight with compassion. We have no idea what history he has in dealing with Voldemort. We also do not know what history our clients have in dealing with illness of their pets or other loved ones. Clients may not come to terms with their fight against the dark magic in veterinary medicine at our pace, and that’s okay. Even when you think the outcome may have been different if that client’s struggle with fear had ended quicker, try not to lay blame. Remind fearful clients, and yourself, that you are on the same team - the team of good magic.
We've all gotten that phone call where there has been a confessed change of heart. We pull together, as a team, and guide our fearful clients through difficult decisions for their pets. We educate them on topics of pet healthcare, and it is a wonderful part of our magic. We have experience they believe will help them and their pets; use this knowledge to establish trust. We’ve been there; fought the dementors and produced the patronus. If we can lead them through their fear with all of this fantastic magic and a bit of compassion, then dark magic’s greatest threat will stand no chance against us.