I launched pawcurious in 2009. Can you believe it? Close to a decade ago. The landscape then was vastly different: Blogs were the hot new thing- like, it was cool to be a blogger, people still carted around huge DSLR cameras, and people were willing to invest in reading long stories about people’s struggles with organic baby food preparation (long live the mommybloggers!)
The blog has always been a reflection of the fact that I want pet owners to know things, to ask questions, and to have the information they need. That’s what I did one on one in the clinic, and my hope was that I could do the same on a different scale through a blog. I wanted to put my own voice out there for people to find; for people to know about what life in this field was like, about the people behind the metal exam tables, and the fact that we had the same struggles and triumphs as any other pet owner.
I had hoped that if I did that, maybe people would be more likely to trust me when I spoke about other things important to me, like vaccines and why they don’t cause doggie autism. Or why I get angry when people call us greedy as if we were Enron executives rather than dog-tired people covered in anal glands and the thin miasma of burnout. You know, that fun stuff.
But blogging turned out to be a two-way street. I got so much more than I gave. You guys have been there for me through so many ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes. That is what keeps me here still, even when the rest of the world has moved on to Instagram and Snapchat and all the other new kids-these-days apps. Do you know, all these years later, how much hatemail I’ve gotten? I can count it on one hand. There’s places for hatefulness out there, as we all know, but it needs a foothold to gain traction and that is just not granted here. Blogging, I just can’t quit you, and I’m not planning to.
The roots of pawcurious lay in trying to think ahead about the industry, even when no one else got it. It’s been lonely at times. Veterinarians thought what I was doing was pretty dumb, some of them, and weren’t hesitant to roll their eyes at me because all they saw were Barbies. Pet bloggers questioned whether or not I was actually a DVM, because veterinarians don’t just wade out into the world and act like humans. Certain pseudoscience people pronounce my name with a hiss and a sneer, because I dared question their integrity (I still do, sorrynotsorry). But you guys, the readers who have stuck with me through it all- you always had my back.
And as you can probably tell, none of it ended up stopping me anyway. I wear disdain like a scarf I can throw over my shoulder. If you haven’t noticed, occasionally poking the badger is a bit of a pasttime, because the bigger and more bloated the badger, the more it needs poking. It’s a character flaw I’ve embraced since my early years on the principal’s office circuit (they never should have let me be the editor of the school paper, it all started there.)
I’m telling you all of this so you understand this next step in my adventure of a career: I’ve signed on as a medical director at a veterinary telemedicine startup called whiskerDocs. It was one of the hundreds of little conversations I have with interesting people doing interesting things that eventually ended up turning into something more. It’s a topic that makes some in the field very irritated and flustered, which as you probably know is my litmus test for whether or not I find it fascinating. It’s super fascinating.
A lot of people think telemedicine means you call a number, talk to some clueless person in another state or another country, and they misdiagnose your pet and everyone loses. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been blessed with a chance to create something that proves just how wrong that assumption is. It’s based in the assumption that you, the pet owner, are smart and want to do the right thing by your pet, and I know this is correct because I’ve spent the last 16 years seeing what happens when you work with owners rather than talk at them.
I’m creating a second post this week to explain more about what exactly I’m doing, and where I see this going for veterinary medicine, but the basic idea I want to leave you with is this:
I launched pawcurious because I thought pet owners were smart and savvy and deserved better information than the crap they would get when they searched on Google. As a profession, we owe it to you to do better.
Ten years later: very little has changed. You all are even smarter and savvier and the amount of crap out there has only increased tenfold, with some nuggets of useful information in there hidden beneath fifteen pages of home cancer remedies involving turmeric paste. You still deserve better. If there has been one constant over the years, it has been the incredible interest, intellect, and involvement of the pet lovers I have gotten to know through this venture. We simply don’t share enough information with pet owners. We never have.
The healthcare revolution, in both human medicine and veterinary medicine, lies in you the consumers: demanding more access, more control over the decisions, and more transparency in health care delivery. It’s a massive undertaking and one that many are going to resist, because change is hard, and empowering consumers is hard. There’s going to be a lot of eye rolling and insistence that the way things are right now is just fine.
It’s a load of horsepucky. Hope you all stick with me on this next round of badger poking.I have a Doodle by my side now, and he’s a nut. Someone just handed me the keys to the tank and I’m super jazzed. It’s going to be a great ride.