Dr. Robin Downing puts pain behind her


Debilitating back pain meant putting her life on pause. Now she's backwith a lot to say about protecting pets in pain.

Dr. Robin Downing with a canine patient.Dr. Robin Downing is hard to track down-she's been busy defending a bioethics thesis in between speaking, writing and running her specialty practice near Boulder, Colorado. All this is remarkable in itself, but until last year, Dr. Downing was also dealing with bone-crushing spinal pain that made getting out of bed impossible. It's no wonder she's a staunch advocate for pets in pain.

No surgery at the dinner table

I started my very own practice straight out of veterinary school. I learned everything I could about small business management, and then a companion animal-oriented ambulatory practice. I was informed that I was not to perform surgery on our kitchen table-even in the mid-1980s that would have been inappropriate.

To the penthouse

My spouse, Sharon, and I actually live on the premises of our veterinary hospital. We call it the “penthouse”-never mind that it's only the second floor. But we really try to separate time at work from time at home. While it may sound like a tiny thing, the first thing I do at the end of the workday is change my clothes and embrace my “I am home” persona.

Sick or well

Sick pet visits are often more mentally challenging, and thus more interesting, than well pet visits. I certainly don't enjoy seeing a pet suffering in any way, but problem-solving is one of the most satisfying activities I can think of. Solving the problem of why the pet is in front of me, and what is going on with them, really puts me and my team totally on our game. Not knowing what's going on is so very stressful for pet parents. Sometimes just knowing what is going on, even if the news isn't good, is better than uncertainty. It opens the door to plan for what comes next. And follow-ups are the most important service we can provide. Every single patient needs and deserves to have the next visit booked before that client leaves.  

Tell us something neat ... ?

I train with a Masters swimming team (which just means you've "aged out" of NCAA). While I'm in the "old, slow, chubby, middle-aged lady" lane, the next lane in the pool is occupied by the really fast folks, one of whom is Susan von der Lippe, a three-time Olympian. She's an inspiration!

Wow! That IS neat. Find more brilliance from Dr. Downing here and be sure to catch her at CVC San Diego. Yay! Welcome back, Dr. Downing.

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