“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Monika Sragova - photo with a Maltese dog

Hi, I’m Monika!

I’m the owner and creator of vetcarenews

I’m a veterinarian who somehow fell in love with the digital world.

Want to know how? Here’s my story ☺️

When I was 7 years old, I got a surprise present from my mum at the end of my first school year. It was a book – All Creatures Great and Small, written by James Herriot. He was a veterinarian from England. The story starts as James lands a job at a rural veterinary practice in Yorkshire, during the 1930s Great 50Depression. I read the book in 1 day. For my birthday in September, my family bought every book by this author they could find.

I read that one book, and I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up. Since then, I told everyone who would ask that I’m going to be a vet. There was nothing else for me.

I am from Slovakia, a tiny country in the middle of Europe. Instead of studying at Slovak University, I decided to enroll at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. It was closer to the city where I lived and it was a better and more prestige University.

But it was in Austria. I had a few German lessons at school, but I couldn’t really speak (or understand) the German language. Nevertheless, I am pretty stubborn when I make up my mind about something, so off to Vienna I went 🙃

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It was hard. Like really hard. But I did manage to learn the incomprehensible Austrian dialect, and I graduated with a degree as Magistra medicinae veterinae (Mag.med.vet.) 😎

I started working as a veterinarian at a small practice near Vienna.

And I felt so confused… I loved the job, the medicine, the animals. But there was so much more to the job I wasn’t prepared for.

During the first day at the University, a few Professors gave speeches and welcomed us to the University. One of them said something I still remember: ‘If you are here because your read James Herriot’s books, you will be thoroughly disappointed. Being a vet has changed so much, those books should belong in the fantasy genre.’

After he finished, another Professor stood up and started his speech with this statement: ‘Veterinarians have the highest suicide rate. That is a sad fact. There are several reasons for this. Also, we know how to do it properly when we decide it’s time to go.’ 🤷‍♀️

As a veterinarian, I slowly started to understand what those professors were talking about. Even when you love animals and love medicine, it’s only a small part of what you have to deal with every single day.

My boss at that time had to lawyer up, because 4 different owners refused to pay for any diagnostic tests or therapy, but sued her when their animals died. She bought the practice 3 years ago and had huge debts because of it.

We had to explain and defend our prices daily. We had several very difficult pet owners who were almost impossible to work with. But they refused to switch to another clinic, despite their constant complaining.

Don’t get me wrong, we also had many very nice pet owners. But human nature is human nature. So sadly, if 1 person ended up yelling at me, it outweighed those 8 others who were nice that day 🤷‍♀️

And every few months, we would hear about a small practice that was about to close because of internet trolls and pet owners who didn’t pay their bills. Or about a colleague who committed suicide.

Suddenly the reality was far away from what I imagined.

And then I met someone. After a month, I knew I’m never gonna let this guy go 🥰

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He lived in Slovakia, so I packed my bags and moved back.

I was offered a job in an international pet food company. I liked the brand, and have regularly used their diets as a vet. I knew they have high-quality products. I became a marketing specialist for the brand’s veterinary channel.

I would never consider myself an office girl. It never even crossed my mind that I could do something like this. I took the job as a temporary solution so I can figure out what to do next.

But suddenly, my life just became so easy.

At the time, I was weighing 48kg (that’s 106 pounds) due to stress and an unregular lifestyle.

You have to have a very strong personality to be a vet. I was young when I graduated (and looked even younger), terrified of confrontations, and with a full mode impostor syndrome. I wasn’t eating enough and I started to have stress-related health issues.

So here I was, with an 8-9 job instead of long hours and night shifts. And there was no stress. I mean, people in the office perceived many things as stressful, but for me? Nah ☺️

There were no animal-bleeding-all-over-the-floor / life-and-death types of situations. No one was yelling at me that if I were more competent he wouldn’t have to pay for diagnostic tests (because competent vets obviously only need to look at a dog to know he has a colon tumor 🤷‍♀️ ). No one told me that if I really loved animals, I would help them for free. I didn’t come home devastated because I just had to euthanize 4 pets one after the other, with their owners (and a little girl) crying their eyes out…

What I gained was access to a vast medical knowledge bank and some of the top international speakers. Veterinarians paid hundreds of euros for seminars and congresses I helped organize. And I could just sit somewhere in the corner and soak up every word those speakers said. And then I took them out for dinner and got to talk to them in person 😎

I had a boss who was a true leader. I had a good team.

It was nice. My health got better, my relationship moved forward. I had time for friends and my family. And I was able to pay for all my expenses.

I missed medicine, missed being a vet. But when I asked about a job as a full-time vet, I realized that I wouldn’t even be able to pay for my rent and basic household bills. And I would have to work long hours again.

We love to travel and we did (and still do) travel a lot. I had a corporate office job, but it was worth it. I fell in love with marketing and the whole digital world. And I met so many amazing new people… 🙂

As I said, my relationship moved forwards ☺️

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Then she came along. And everything changed. I wanted to be able to spend as much time with my baby as possible.

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There’s one thing that is most important to me. My family and friends. My family always was and always will be my Nb. 1 priority.

I wanted to work from home, have my own schedule, and take care of my family and my little girl.

And I realized that I can connect with pet-loving people on a different level. I can write about pet health on my blog, answer all the questions I’m still getting from overwhelmed or confused pet owners, and create products that will help them.

It started with my Etsy shop Designed by Mon, which I opened during my maternity leave. I don’t even know how, but suddenly I had this 5* shop with pet planners and breeder charts. It was an amazing feeling ☺️

Designed by Mon logo Etsy shop

I know vets don’t always have enough time to explain things. Other times the owners might be so focused on their pet or the stress of the whole situation that they won’t remember a word of what the vet said. And sometimes, pet owners are just too shy to ask questions ☺️

So I still do a lot of explaining and making sure my friends have all the information they need when they have problems with their pets.

That’s why I decided to have my own blog. Not to help you google a diagnosis, but to help you better understand what the diagnosis means or why it’s so important to see a vet if anything seems wrong with your pet.

So basically I just wrote down what I usually told the owners of my patients or my friends.

As I said previously, you will not find here specific therapies or drugs that should be used, but I will do my best to give you valuable information on general topics and symptoms. Things you might have missed during your appointment with the vet (or were too shy to ask ☺️).

I hope it will help you better understand and take care of your pet’s health.

With time, I also added the shop section. Now I can sell my Pet planners and Breeder charts directly from my blog and don’t have to pay all those Etsy fees, yay!

I am also starting a freelancing business, you can have a look at The BlogSavvy VA, it’s fun 🙂 we’ll see how it goes…

Do I still miss being a vet? YES, absolutely. The plan, for now, is to have my own online business. And when it all settles, I would love to work as a vet for 1-2 days/week. But I won’t go back to being a full-time vet. Not again. I want to have it as a hobby, not as a job I have to rely on. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes 😉

Welcome to my little corner of the internet ❣️ 🤗

Let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to my newsletter, I would love to have you ☺️

I usually send 1 newsletter every 1-2 weeks, full of pet health and pet care tips 👇