The call I never made

We missed the interview with this veterinarian, but not his impact.
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Dec 01, 2012

Years ago, I first asked our Practice Management editor, Dr. Ross Clark, for story ideas. He told me about an amazing practitioner on the East Coast whose gross revenue and client and team communication was awe-inspiring. The veterinarian was a winner with clients, and Dr. Clark sounded almost jealous—in a good way—of the great success this one-doctor practice enjoyed. I had to talk to him.

But I got busy, and I never did.


Brendan Howard
I saw Dr. Clark again at CVC Washington, D.C., last spring, and he told me his trip was doing double-duty: He was there to speak at CVC ... and to attend Dr. David Jackson's funeral.

I missed my chance. But I didn't let it drop. This issue's cover story is all about Dr. David Jackson, a Virginia veterinarian whom Dr. Clark calls "the world's greatest." Associate Content Specialist Ashley Barforoush crafted the story through interviews with Dr. Jackson's widow, his loyal practice manager, his team members, and others, learning what it was that made Dr. Jackson so successful, so special, and so beloved.

I failed to talk to the man himself—to hear in his own words why he loved the people he worked with, the pets and clients he served, and the practice style that yielded good numbers—but I try to take it as a lesson for me and others.

For the clients and staff who loved him, Dr. Jackson was the world's greatest veterinarian. But I bet a colleague, a mentor, an inspirations in the field—they're the world's greatest veterinarians too. These are practitioners who say the right thing to defuse team member squabbles and to get clients to do what's in the best interest of a beloved pet. They do the right thing when pet owners need comfort and reassurance, when team members need leadership and inspiration, and when pets need perfect care in an imperfect world.

You start to imagine a cape at their neck, even if you end up scratching that idea of spandex tights.

People want to get better, be better and act better because the world's greatest veterinarian is in the world. Dr. Jackson's not here anymore, but the people he touched and inspired are. You can read their words starting on page 18—and their lessons from his life—that touched everyone at home and the practice.

And before you stare dreamily into the distance and think only of others and their tremendous impact on you, think of yourself and the effect you have every day on those around you. Think of the associates you inspire to be better clinicians and leaders, the team members you inspire to stay in this tough field, and the pet owners you inspire to take that extra step to improve their pets' life. And, of course, the animals whose lives, like innocent bystanders in a comic book, are in your hands.

You can be—you are—one of the world's greatest veterinarians. So, as this year winds to a close, and you reflect on what your team has done, we hope you dwell on your own triumphs and joys as well. And if you wear a big "S" under your shirt at work, we won't tell, Superdoc.