There is sn enormous guiding light in my life. Inspiration to do what I am intrinsically driven to do. Because he has always done just that. Today he and I admitted to each other that we are both hard-shelled softies. And as animal people who have committed to living in service to our charges this is a hard life to live. But we would have it no other way.
I still have loads to learn from my mentor. His unconditional caring and enormous generosity to those around him is a lesson I am yet to totally get.
I am talking about my Dad. He is a vet. (I am not because I am not smart or emotionally strong-enough). He is well over 70 and still practising. His practise is at his home. Recently he has been suffering with a bout of ill health. He has been in and out of hospital and we have all been very worried about him. I travelled to his home a good 700kms away to visit and spend time with him. Again he amazed me.
My father is a very keen and good golfer. With his health concerns he has not played for a couple of months. He has been very weak and spending a fair amount of time in need. My sisters moved a bed into the lounge for him. I knew before I arrived that he had started accepting clients into his home space. I was amazed at this system in operation.
His assistant brings the clients and their animals to him. He has a stock of treatment and diagnostic tools that he uses organised on his bedside table. This is all the practical stuff. It is and always has been the emotional and spiritual stuff that goes down in his presence that amazes me.
His regular clients that visit and sit in his company without the need to even talk. Just comfortable silence and then clever humour. And then all those clients who find him as a last resort. Because he charges very little. And treats simply. The way he barters - paintings hang in his lounge as payment for work he had done on people's pets. His kitchen is filled with preserves and jams and fruit and rusks Thanks to his regulars. I am sure there is much more I don't know about.
I tried to help with his books. So many owe him money. He writes off so much of it. He believes in the good of people. He believes the animals deserve care no matter what.
And then there is the strength this man offers. Distressed individuals worrying about their animals and their lives offload their sadness and cry their tears in his presence. And this man, thinner than he should be and far paler than shows good health calmly holds the space for them. Offers them tea and cigarettes and a shoulder to cry on. His grace is monumental.
The best moments are when he picks up the ill dog or the little kitten and places them on the bed next to him on top of the clean towel. How he lovingly strokes each one and gives them his full attention. How they all seem so calm and easy in his care. While his own little dogs look on.
Yes. I have so much still to learn. If I could have a small percentage of his grace, humour, ingenuity, optimism and generosity I would be a far better person.
I love you Dad. I love how you are ethically and morally and gracefully my super hero. Thank you for choosing me to be your daughter
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