I write a blog called
a veterinary blog for pet lovers, vet voyeurs, and the medically curious," at dolittler.com. On it, I post essays on the trials and tribulations of being a veterinarian—and the good stuff, too. The best part? I'm interacting with a diverse community of animal lovers whose opinions are fascinating.
Blogging has given me an insight into what I do that ultimately makes my client communication more effective. Receiving 20 anonymously frank comments on why I euthanized an FeLV-positive stray really can't help but give me insight—OK, and maybe heartburn, too.
I didn't tell any of my clients at first, believing the blog was best kept secret. After all, I was often writing about their behavior. But once my local paper wrote about me, the cat was out of the bag. Far from being offended, my clients were excited about the project.
If you've ever thought you might catch the blogging bug, go for it. Put together your thoughts in writing, photographs, or artwork and let loose. You don't have to post every day, but sharing what you know or how you practice at least occasionally can be surprisingly therapeutic. So here's Blogging 101:
Sign up with a free service. Myspace.com, eblogger.com, and hundreds of others are available.
Test the waters. Write a "Daily Vet" piece that describes the interesting cases and interactions of your day.
Consider changing names. This protects both the innocent and the indefensible.
Legally protect yourself. Alter scenarios just enough to keep people from being identified—and still get your message across.
Post writing, art, or photos of your pets, your friends, or your kids, but remember that the "blogo-sphere" is a public forum. Don't submit anything you wouldn't want Grandma or a future employer to see.
Don't get discouraged if you get only a few hits a day. It took me six months to get any comments on my blog and now, a year later, sometimes I get 20 a day.
Dr. Patty Khuly is an associate at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami, Fla.