As many of you know, Dr. Jackson passed away on April 14th. The staff at VCA-University Veterinary Clinic is taking comfort from our clients and the veterinary community and hoping to offer the same to them when we can. Thank you all for your kind words and support at this sad time.
Everyone agrees that Dr. Jackson was an extraordinary veterinarian; you could tell that he loved what he did and made his mark in the world of veterinary medicine. What you may not know is that Dr. Jackson had a real talent with people as well as animals. More than one person at his funeral told me that they considered Dr. Jackson to be their best friend. In this world where people go through life looking out for themselves, Dr. Jackson looked out for all of us, so much so that he was the Best Friend of thousands of people.
He also had a skill that is practically unheard of in veterinary clinics in this day and age – he built teams. He knew how to treat staff with respect and encouragement so that we learned how to lead, and follow, and how to stay cohesive even in changing environments or troubled economies. We are putting this talent to work today more than ever. We lean on each other and support each other and our clients.
He taught us how to work. Most of the staff at VCA-University Veterinary Clinic has worked here since they were teens, most have been here for 15 years or more – that in itself is a testament to his great character and leadership ability.
He taught us how to work and he taught us how to think. He always said to new hires, “there are only two things you need to do here: Use your head and make yourself useful”. He taught us to challenge assumptions and use our experience to our advantage. Dr. Jackson welcomed dialogue. He would never tell a kennel assistant they were wrong, instead he’d teach them how they could be right. He encouraged kennel staff, front staff and medically trained staff to “Always learn” and to ask if we didn’t know and to question him about everything. He made us explain why we thought something. He taught us to use reason and he taught us all about veterinary medicine and how to care for the clients and their pets.
Dr. Jackson knew how to utilize staff so that they felt part of the plan and part of the solution and part of the team, we know how to work because he showed us what was expected under his direction.
Dr. Micaela Shaughnessy has worked with us for about 10 years on the rare days Dr. Jackson took a day off or was at veterinary conferences or lecturing. She had seen our cohesiveness and knew our protocols and graciously agreed to clear her schedule to help us and our clients and their pets during these immediate weeks. She has been wonderful and a great help to us, both with her great knowledge of medicine, and especially emotionally supportive, as you can imagine.
At the right time, we will hire another veterinarian (or two) to carry on Dr. Jackson’s vision. All of the staff is committed to one another, to Dr. Jackson’s legacy and especially to your pets. We will find a veterinarian who we feel can fit in. It is important that we find someone to be part of our community at VCA-University and who would make Dr. Jackson proud. Please stop in if your pet needs us or if you just need a hug.
We are all in this together and we will, as Dr. Jackson always said, get through this together.