Thanksgiving is the time to be appreciative of all that we have. It is also the season to look within ourselves and think about spreading kindness. To this end, I work on publically being grateful on my facebook posts for the little and big things of life.

Nov 1: I am grateful for a new day that is a new beginning. Somehow dawn makes everything fresh and new again. Having seen people with so little, it might be that I am more appreciative this year, but the sunrise in the fog was amazing.

Nov 2: I am grateful that I have what I need. There is plenty of food, clean water, and warm housing. I have clothes that are in good repair. I have a not too soft bed to sleep in. In short, I am grateful that my wants are not what would be considered needs by many.

Nov 3: I am grateful that I share my life with animals. From the chameleon that bit me yesterday to the pups that make sure I get up on time, I love them all. Yes, even the cats that knock everything down so that the dogs can chew it up and vomit at four A.M.

Nov 4: I am grateful for beauty in nature. Especially mornings that happen an hour later today. Even if the dogs insist that I am late to check out said beauty. (They really don’t get the whole daylight savings time thing.)

Nov 5: I am grateful for coffee. First thing in the morning, the staff has it ready to go. Even if animal care draws me in before I get a cup, I can smell the heavenly scent on the way to my office. Coffee with friends. Coffee from Africa. I am grateful for the many forms of coffee.

Nov 6 I’m grateful for freedom. Freedom to say what I believe. Even to believe in my Beliefs is not a given in all places. Freedom to take photos of public places. Freedom to vote in a real election. This photo of the military in the streets was not approved where it was taken. Do not share it.

Nov 7: I am grateful for friends. Friends that I go walking with. Friends that join us for dinner. Writing friends. Friends that walk my path and therefore help raise my child. Friends that are in my exam rooms. Friends that draw and end up in my books. Friends that understand how hard it can be to be on our side of that exam table. Friends from the military that I can pick up as though it hasn’t been years. Friends that lift me up and keep me on a good path. Friends that are there when I need them. Friends in multiple time zones and continents.

Nov 8: I am grateful for plants. The multitude of varieties brings joy in flowers, food, and nature. We have seasons so that fall leaves allow for beauty in the moment. A little wisp of a leaf can start a whole plant. I love to garden and grow things and eat fresh fruit or vegetables from the garden. Pineapple in Africa was wonderful enough to be a memory worth going back for.

Nov 9: I am grateful for internet friends. I can chat with new friends from Africa. An artist veterinarian friend can make a sketch for me. I can experience new cultures with an artist friend in Sri Lanka. I can keep touch with college friends who have scattered.

Nov 10: I am grateful for my staff. They, by in large, are dedicated, hard-working folks who genuinely care about the animals and their chauffeurs. They also care about me and help me with the things that my knee injuries keep me from doing. I also appreciate the ER staff who will be overstaffed for me and work hard not to have scents and chemicals that cause me to have an asthmatic attack. Blessed to have two sets of professionals working with me.

Nov 11, Veterans Day: I am grateful for my time in the service. The Academy gave me friends that have lasted a lifetime and molded me into a decent human. The motto in the floor of the barracks is “who lives here reveres honor, honors duty.” It has served me well through life and I have done many things and gone to many places because of the training I received at the Academy. My time in the service taught me what I am capable of. I am especially grateful to the men who were in my commands. I am a better leader and person because of you.

Nov 12: I don’t talk about them often, but I am grateful for my family. My husband of 38 years puts up with quite a few of my adventures. My child is a sophomore at Wooster and if the rambling chat last night is any indication, she is doing pretty well as an independent human. I like them both. Even more than the dogs. Well, sometimes.

Nov 13: I am grateful for the comradery of my colleagues. Through phone calls, Facebook, email and WhatsApp, I can discuss cases, give and receive advice and even mentor younger veterinarians. My experiences have taught me much that I am now proud to be able to pass on information and knowledge at the same time that I can get updates on my complex cases or issues.

Nov 14: I am grateful for my clients. They have kind words to say when they visit. Sometimes they bring things to share. They always listen and heed my advice and experience. Their pets are the best! Not all of the pets, of course. But I think most of the clients genuinely care about me and my staff and realize that we are doing the best that we can do also. And the vast majority of the pets love me, too.

Nov 15: I am grateful for being grateful. I started this exercise several years ago. The negativity on Facebook was getting to me. I decided that I would try to spread my own little bit of positive energy into the universe. I have seen others do the same, but I think the change, as all good change always is, is within me. Gratitude is beneficial.

Continuing my month of exercise in gratitude.

Nov 16: I am grateful for my knowledge. Because of my experience, continuous learning, and good college experience, I was able to easily handle three serious emergencies today in addition to the normal routine cases. I love using that knowledge in teaching both clients and staff.

Nov 17: I am grateful to have made a difference in the lives of three animals who had life-threatening emergencies yesterday and that they are going home today! I am also grateful that the ER is available to take emergencies so that I have time to rest and recuperate from a long week. A week that ended with an Ohio State euthanasia. In my mind, I know that 17 years in a large breed, Irish Setter is a long life, but in my heart, I hurt for the pain of his family with his osteosarcoma.

Nov 18: I am grateful for my writing. I am able to teach to a broader audience. I am able to process feelings and cases that are tough. I am able to promote gratitude as a way of life. I am starting work on my third book today.

Nov 19: I am grateful for those that help us help others. We have a few clients who donated funds to help those in Africa. We have some that don’t have much that always add a little to the wildlife or adoption fund. We have people who donate time to help us at our 5K and Santa Paws which helps fund our charitable activities. We have people who tell others about us and help us that way. There are even former classmates that will routinely chip in to help a case in need. It would be easy to think of all the ones we cannot treat, but I’m amazed at how many we can treat.

Nov 20: I am grateful for all the technology that allows me to save more lives. Blood chemistry machines allow me to have advanced blood work results today. Digital radiographs allow me to take fewer views and see more. Ultrasound allows me to see inside that enlarged spleen to determine why it is not normal. Monitors allow me to know more about what is going on inside a pet to stop problems before they are a problem. I am reminded of this today when Moses has a few issues in his blood results. We got a new sample, ran new blood tests, talked to his mom, got radiographs and then an ultrasound. She said her friend’s dog almost died during anaesthesia, because they didn’t do blood work to know that he had cancer before surgery. Grateful to be able to easily explain why that is very unlikely here.

Nov 21: I am grateful for what I can do. Sure my knees hurt when I walked today around the park, but I can walk. There are some that cannot. A wise man recently told me: “Every minute every day take as a gift, because there may not be another moment. Your eyes, you should see as a gift. You may not see tomorrow. Walking is a gift. Tomorrow your legs may not work. If you have a sound brain, that is a gift. You should use it. Another day you may not be able to. Everything now is a gift. You should use it while you have it.” This man was blind, living in a harsh world and still could appreciate life more than most.

Nov 22: I am grateful for family, friends, pets, and food on this Thanksgiving day. I am also grateful for this day which makes me look for the big and small things of which I am grateful. Greg Bell says to ask what is working well for you. I have many things because I practice looking for things. My best friend puts it this way: “This topic is always an interesting and thought-provoking article, and this one is no exception. It’s good to mention that being appreciative is what this season is all about and that internalizing it is helpful to us. I hope the article helps readers to look within themselves and to internalize your thoughts. We can certainly use more kindness in this world.”

We certainly can. Be grateful. Be kind.