Most pet owners consider vets as heroes to their furry companions but how much do they know about the struggles and experience of these heroes? In today’s story, Oyen is joined by one of Malaysia’s most diligent vets, Dr Diana, to dive into her ten-year journey as a veterinarian.
Dr Diana: My name is Nur Diana Hasan from Kajang, Selangor. I was born in 1988 and I graduated from UPM in 2012. This year marks my tenth year as a vet and it feels really good. I started working once I graduated and applied to a few companies. However my first job was as a research assistant. It was a good experience but it lasted me a good three to four months. Then I was offered a junior vet position in Langkawi and worked there for over two years. Afterwards, I continued my studies and later, started working at a small animal vet clinic for three to four years before I opened my vet clinic.
Oyen: How and when was your practice founded?
Dr Diana: Pets Ville Animal Clinic was founded in April 2018. Back then I was in the midst of changing careers and my husband was planning to set up a business and we decided to set up a small animal practice. We were looking at Klang Valley but we found out that Cyberjaya had no vets. We went to a commercial area in Cyberjaya to ask about pet shops and what not. The people there informed us that there was only one pet shop and they had zero vets.
Pet owners we met told us that they would travel quite far just to find a vet. Some went to vets in Putrajaya, Dengkil and even to Bangi which takes forty minutes without traffic jams. We knew that it was only right for us to open a practice in Cyberjaya and we did! We were the first vet in Cyberjaya. We never thought of competing with anybody, it was a matter of providing help to pet owners. We started very small but slowly, more people started coming to us.
Oyen: What does being a veterinarian mean to you?
Dr Diana: I think it’s all about giving the right diagnosis to patients and providing treatments that cater to their needs. Additionally, we’re not simply placing our focus on our patients but we also have to attend to pet owners. This means that a vet must be equipped with the skills that can allow them to manage both parties. We also try our best to educate pet owners on the principle of good pet ownership. Any medical complications that occur to pets, depend heavily on pet owners. We also cannot simply do as we wish to our patients because we need the consent of their owners.
Oyen: What do you consider the most rewarding experience you have had as a vet?
Dr Diana: I think my answer will be very cliché but, in all honesty, being able to see your patients heal and become healthy again will forever be rewarding to me. Besides that, seeing pet owners’ smile is another heart-warming achievement.
It may not seem too extravagant but to be able to save life or provide treatments for pets in need is what’s most rewarding to me.
Oyen: Can you share a stressful event you had to go through as a vet?
Dr Diana: As a small business owner, not being able to perform in full capacity is what stresses me. For example, if you have a team member who is off duty and you know that you’re going to be handling a lot of cases in a single day, it takes so much energy out of you because you become pressured. We are not a big clinic that has over forty staff, our team is small and it would only be right for everyone to be present so that the vet can function without any issues. Sometimes, due to the lack of available tools and/or facilities, it does become frustrating because we’re not able to give what should be given to patients. There is only so much a small vet practice like ours can dream of.
Oyen: Is there a particular event throughout your career that left a lasting impact on you?
Dr Diana: It took me quite a while to think about how to answer this question. My answer might not be vet-related but in the five years I’ve operated my practice, I lost two people who were very dear to me, my beloved uncle and grandmother. It hit me quite hard back then, it took a toll on me.
I learnt that money will never be able to buy time so don’t take people for granted. I finally came to realise the importance of work-life balance. It’s regrettable that I wasn’t able to be there during their passing but it made me appreciate the people around me.
Back then we operated daily because we were still new. We were the only vet there so the fear of people not knowing that we even existed was rather strong. My team and I were too hard on ourselves, we were overwhelming ourselves. Slowly, we figured that it needed to change. We wanted to have days of our lives outside of our profession which is why the operation hour beacme much shorter than before.
Oyen: How do you usually deal with distressed pet owners?
Dr Diana: Usually, when pet owners enter the vet and they’re already feeling upset, it is almost impossible to calm them down. So, we need to hear them out and see what they have to say. If I catch them saying things that are wrong or misleading, I simply correct them. If what we suggest does not seem enough to these pet owners, we sometimes have to agree to disagree.
If you have dealt with many pet owners, you’ll know there are different categories. Some are very accepting, some are very hard on themselves and lastly, there are those who possess a lot of money but then vets are the ones who lack the capacity to help. When we deal with distressed owners, we just have to see what they have to say and see what they request from you. If it is something tolerable then go ahead and assist them but if their requests are nonsense then you just agree to disagree or just direct them to another vet.
If I had to nitpick, I would say that some breeders paint themselves to be very knowledgeable. Of course, this does not apply to all breeders but we’ve had a few who were very demanding. They would request specific treatments and procedures. If their demands are reasonable, I can truly help them but there are breeders who would cross the line. Again, not all breeders are irresponsible but there are a few that are very persistent and strong headed, especially when it comes to what they want. There is no changing their mind or perspective.
We’ve met breeders who were against neutering and would breed cats multiple times a year for the sake of money. This really needs to come to an end, they have zero ethics and have insufficient knowledge of what breeding should be like. A lot of female cats would suffer uterus infections because of these breeders. I would say that it’s easy money for them. Breeding cats is more than just about money, you need to find the right mating partner and breeders need to have plans for the cats they breed. Certain cats cannot produce healthy offspring after four to five years and this type of knowledge is crucial. On a brighter note, I’ve also met responsible breeders who would take matters seriously and they are open to learning and accepting the opinions of vets.
Oyen: What message would you give pet owners in Malaysia?
Dr Diana: I just want to say that pets are family. They deserve your time, love, and attention. Your plans are their plans which means every decision you make for yourself; there should be space for them as well. We have to consider pets like they are our kids. I really believe that the best thing a pet and an owner can have is a close bond.
Our team at Oyen would like to thank Dr Diana for taking her precious time to speak with us. Her stories and thoughts as a decade-long veterinarian are truly eye-opening and inspiring. If you enjoyed Dr Diana’s heart-warming stories, reach out to us and let us know!