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Conversations on a bus...Hanson, Trump & why I chose to be a veterinary nurse

Posted in Our Community @ Jul 21st 2016 - By By Gillian Shippen, Nurse Manager & Director, Pets Need A Life Too
Conversationa On A Bus

Sometimes conversations with strangers on a bus can take an interesting turn...

I don’t normally travel via public transport but with my much beloved convertible being out of action these last 3 months I have been forced to rely on my MOTH (who just happens to be a mechanic by the way!) to drive me around or use my stepson’s Jeep whilst he’s been on manoeuvres (he’s a Sub Lieutenant in the Army, love him and very proud).

This one particular day I was stuck so I had to take public transport to get home. It has been a few years since I had to use public transport - bus to town and then train home. As I got on the bus, I noticed it was quite full, so I grabbed hold of one of the poles to stop myself falling all over the place as we drove off. Some of the passengers were oblivious to the fact they were taking up extra room and could have offered seats to those standing.

Finally one lady noticed I was standing and shifted her bag from the seat along side her, apologising profusely for not having done so before. She was lost in thought she said and had only just noticed, saying I should have said something to her.

I said it was all good and fully understood the whole lost in thought thing. She clearly wished to continue conversing so she started by asking me: “What about that Pauline Hanson?” …..continuing on about how bad she was and that we should all just respect each other, get on and just go about our own business. As I nodded and smiled at her, she continued to press for my opinion.

“I suppose she is a bit of a cartoon character, seems to like her notoriety and not really sure about her policies” and although I refused to say anything further this seemed to be an adequate response for the lady.

Politics ...don't go there

I won’t engage in political discussions in public or on social media and I particularly loath it when I get political posts on my Facebook feed shared from well meaning 'friends'. I have my beliefs and opinions which I keep to myself; I wish others would do the same. With the way the world is, particularly the venom and moral superiority filling social media, I believe it is wisest to keep political opinions private or only discuss with those nearest and dearest to you. I inevitably end up hiding posts each day much to my annoyance.

Her next question was: “What about Donald Trump?” 

Oh I don’t really follow politics, I just get about doing my own business” I reply, trying to shut this direction of conversation down, hoping she would remember the point she had just made. 

“Neither do I really” she says “But you can’t help it, it’s in the news.” 

“I don’t really follow the news either, I don’t think we get the full story, just a very slanted view of whatever that particular reporter wishes to tell us, not the whole truth. There doesn't seem to be the old 'unbiased reporting' anymore”

“Oh” she said….”Yes I suppose you're correct”

Phew, I thought, hopefully no more about politics.

The next question was about what I do for a living as she had taken notice of my top with the clinic logo on it. Initially she was a little bit confused, I think she only heard the word Vet and not the accompanying Nurse, even though I said I nurse animals (because some people think when I say Vet Nurse that means I am nursing War Veterans) but I was grateful the conversation had turned.

“Aren’t you scared” she asked.

“No, why would I be scared” I replied.

“I'd be afraid of getting bitten by those big dogs”

“I’m not afraid, animals react out of fear, I respect that and know how to deal with it”

“Did you not ever consider nursing humans” (as if my occupation is somehow inferior)

“No way” I replied, “I much prefer animals, I know what motivates them….humans do things out of malice and revenge, animals do not" (Then came my only political part in the conversation) "with humans who knows what motivates them be it greed, corruption, money, religion, politics, love, hate, fear, mental illness, friendship, perceptions, personal experience, moral superiority, manipulation, control, power etc…….animals are simple compared to humans!”

She asked if she could use those words herself!

We're all the same really...

I thought about this interaction later and realised really all animals, including the human animal, have the same motivations; food, water, shelter, positive interactions, being able to feel safe, secure and loved.

Animals will aggress purely out of fear of the unknown, fear of getting hurt (even then some don’t aggress) but it is the human rationale behind these motivations that turn things on their head.

Animals are truly transparent, humans not so much.

Yes, animals clearly show what their motivations are, they are so easy to work with and understand …….I’ll stick to nursing animals, I don't have to explain myself to them because they understand me.

About Gillian

Gillian Shippen is a Nurse Manager and the owner of 'Pets Need A LIfe Too, a website that advises on and sells a wide range of environmental enrichment toys for animals including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and horses as well as wheelchairs for dogs. She has spoken at conferences on the importance on environmental enrichment for all animals and  has also written a book: 'Pets Need a Life Too - A Guide to Enriching the Life of Your Pet - Series One: Dogs'.

Click here to visit: Pet's Need A Life Too! Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory

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