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Care for Creation: Cherishing Pets

Fr David Khan and Volvo

Saint Francis of Assisi’s response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection —Pope Francis, Laudato Si

I’m Dr Asia O’Neill, your locally honed veterinarian, affiliated in general practice at Jones Animal Clinic. I’ll be sharing brief gems of knowledge on how to provide the best possible standard of living for your cherished pets.

In order to provide a good standard of living, their well-being is a major consideration to note. Good animal welfare is based upon the principle of the ‘Five Freedoms’:

1. The freedom from hunger and thirst.

2. The freedom from discomfort (provision of shelter and a safe environment).

3. The freedom from pain, injury and disease.

4. The freedom to express normal behaviour.

5. The freedom from fear and distress.

The veterinarian is bound by oath to ensuring these freedoms are met for their patients. However, the bulk of the cases usually fall within upholding the third freedom. Proper health care is a basic right for all our family members and our non-human companions are not exempt. The veterinarian has the duty to provide a myriad of services, from routine pet care to life-saving treatments, while advocating pet owners to fulfil the other freedoms as well. Fostering an amicable relationship with a well-trusted veterinary clinic or team is imperative.

Being a great veterinarian is synonymous with striving for balance. Not only is being knowledgeable important but so too is embracing the need for exponential learning. The attention to extending compassion, in the midst of the drive to attending to a patient’s best interest, cannot be dismissed. Having the ability of listening to decode the presenting issue and clearly relating a possible solution, calls for enhanced communicative skills. Often times, the ‘average’ veterinarian fills the role of dentist, ophthalmologist, cardiologist, dietitian and all the other specialties that can be named, sometimes even including therapist. A good veterinarian is trained to be multifaceted and so we are here, ready to work in tandem with you, to create happiness and longevity for your pet.

Animals have contributed hugely to the advancement of human civilisation, from the time of domestication with the settlement of various societies, to present with the significant role of friend. Canines have been assistants to hunting and providing protection. The feline counterparts had the niche of pest control. Animals in food production have given sustenance, along with warmth and comfort

through hides and furs. Large animals have lent us their strength and even taken us through extensive journeys. Our wildlife is crucial in maintaining environmental balance. These beings have been alongside mankind, giving us eons of invaluable contribution. At present, the majority of us know them to be intrinsic parts of our households, having immeasurable stakes in our lives. Thus, in return, we should fully embrace our responsibility to them.

I must say that I’ve become quite impressed by the initiative of pet owners in undertaking accountability to their pets’ care. However, there are still small gaps of misunderstanding, which once addressed and filled, will push the improvement of pet health care even further. My intent is to help equip you with the capability of managing the responsibility of caretaker. I invite all my fellow animal lovers to enjoy this series.

NEXT UP: Early puppy and kitten care



Priests and their pets: Creature comforts
Being good stewards of the environment