Talking with Brooke @ VMX

Brook & me after the opening ceremony

It is pretty cool when you get to hang out with Brooke Shields and discuss issues that are relevant to veterinary medicine. Brooke is a fervent animal lover and has had many animals of her own. Currently, she owns a Portuguese Waterdog that is as rambunctious as you can get them. Brooke joined me during the opening ceremony of VMX, the largest veterinary exhibition and conference in the world.

VMX attracts 15-17k people every year and is located in Orlando, Florida. It hosts many lectures and veterinary CE but also covers the biggest veterinary exhibition in the world. People from all over flock to Orlando in early January to see what’s new and to kick off the New Year with a bang. Hill’s sponsors the opening ceremony for quite some time and we tend to invite comedians, but this year we changed pace and wanted to invite someone that was relevant to our profession.

Brooke spoke about her love for animals and especially a bulldog called Darla, who helped her through quite a lot of turbulent times. I had the pleasure to read 2 of her books to prepare myself for the ‘talk show-like’ openings ceremony. Down came the rain describes her postpartum depression and we talked about how this influenced her life and how she was stubborn not to accept help in the beginning. After she did she talked about how people, therapy and drugs helped her over this depression. We related to the stresses in veterinary medicine with lots of depressive opportunities and discussed the high suicide rates under veterinary healthcare workers. We also discussed how to be able to perform under great stress and still be a professional and Brooke was open, funny and helpful about how she dealt with issues like this. Last but not least, we discussed clients (fans) that may be a bit too much. Although Brooke has a number of people helping her with her fans, lots of similarities came up when we compared ‘action’ notes. The other book, there was a little girl, describes Brooke’s loving but complicated relationship with her alcoholic mother. One passage that I really enjoyed was the one where she describes the first encounter between her husband Chris and her mother and a stool sample he had to carry for her during a hot sweltering day in NYC.

Before Brooke, Doug Mader talked about how Hurricane Irma destroyed his island in the keys. A wonderful story about recovery and hope after devastation. Doug definitely is an example for us all in resilience and keeping a positive attitude. He also showed that building a clinic that can withstand a class 5 hurricane both helps animals and people in need. I am proud that Hill’s is and was one of the companies that delivered free food to his and many other clinics in dire circumstances.

Next up is WVC with Mayim Bialek, I can’t wait and keep on cutting!

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