Dr. Rothenbaum, senior manager of veterinary quality for Banfield Pet Hospital, shares her thoughts on spending more time with pets during a pandemic and the importance of equity, inclusion and diversity in the veterinary profession.
Oregon Zoo: What do you find most inspiring about caring for pets?
Doctor Rothenbaum: The human-animal bond is unique, and I am so grateful to be in a position to support that relationship. Pet owners can attest to the joy and comfort pets bring us, and nothing has made that more clear than current world events. A recent Banfield study revealed 45% feel their household’s happiness has increased while spending more time with their pet during quarantine.
Witnessing firsthand the positive impact of pets probably accounts too for my love of volunteering at clinics that provide free preventive care for pets in need. The connection between people and pets can be even more critical for vulnerable groups. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help keep pets healthy for those who can’t afford veterinary care.
Are there other ways you stay engaged within the profession?
I have always loved animals, but in many ways veterinary medicine is more about working with people than the animals themselves. Creating a sense of community and supporting fellow veterinary professionals is so important.
One way this comes to life for us at Banfield is through our diversity resource groups, which are voluntary, grassroots groups that serve as an avenue for our associates to engage in open dialogue. I’m excited to be taking a leadership role in our new Asian Pacific Islander group with an aim of increasing equity, inclusion and diversity within the profession. Not only do I find we’re stronger together when we fully appreciate each other’s individual perspectives and experiences, but greater diversity allows us to better connect with our clients, who also have many different backgrounds. Hopefully, that all leads to improved service and better outcomes for pets.
What has been your experience working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve realized it’s really important to get up and move around, so I make a point to find my dog, Ripley, for a quick cuddle session a few times a day. When I’m not in meetings, I often listen to music while I work, and find I’m most productive when I’m listening to hip-hop.
I spend a lot of my spare time baking – mostly cakes. Since I haven’t been able to bring my creations in to the office to share, I had to start making small-batch recipes for my family. I have also been able to spend more time gardening, sewing and canning, which I lump into the category of “homesteading.”
My 2-year-old son also keeps me very busy! He is at such a fun age and I’ve enjoyed this extra time at home with him – it’s been a bright silver lining during a challenging period.