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Fri 12/8


Being honest about my weakness will bring me strength.
Fri 12/8


Being honest about my weakness will bring me strength.


December 8 2023 Story

How Facing His Fears Made Him a Better Veterinarian

Based on a story by Dr. Marty Becker

Dr. Becker had brought his dog, QT Pi, in for a dental cleaning. When he tried to hand him over to a colleague, QT Pi was panting and shivering. After he peeled QT Pi away and stepped outside, he found himself shaking too. The fear that his little dog felt hit him someplace deep inside. What was going on here?  

After decades as a veterinarian, Dr. Becker had been thinking about retiring, but at a conference, he attended a lecture by a famed veterinary behaviorist. It had been a long day and he was tired, so he was thinking about slipping out early when he heard the lecturer say, “Fear is the worst thing a social species can experience. It causes permanent damage to the brain.”  

Pets, the lecturer explained, are like one-year-old children. She asked the audience to imagine being taken against their will, having no control, feeling pain that they couldn’t understand. “Think back to a time as a child when you felt manhandled, threatened or abused,” she said.  

This hit home with Dr. Becker. His own father had two diseases that went undiagnosed and untreated: alcoholism and bipolar disorder. He was often abusive and violent, and Dr. Becker still carried the trauma and fear of those experiences with him.  

If, despite counseling and his strong faith in God, fear still had such a hold on Dr. Becker, how must it be for the helpless animals whose suffering he had taken an oath to prevent and relieve?  

Dr. Becker knew God had nudged him to stay at that lecture for a reason. God had entrusted animals to our protection and care, and Dr. Becker wanted to do better by them. “Show me a better way to treat animals,” Dr. Becker prayed. “A way free of fear.”  

Dr. Becker knew that not only could fear and anxiety in cats and dogs mask other health problems, they were at the root of most aggressive behaviors and could lead to abandonment, relinquishment, or euthanasia. Alleviating fear would improve the well-being of both pets and their people.  

He experimented using treats and toys to distract pets during procedures. He researched FAS—fear, anxiety, and stress—pheromones, chemical signals animals give off that send a message to other animals. He launched the Fear Free Certification Program, an online course designed to help veterinary professionals eliminate fear, anxiety, and stress in their patients.  

None of this would have happened if God hadn’t ensured Dr. Becker heard what he needed to hear. Reliving the pain and fear of his past gave him a deeper empathy for and understanding of the animals God gives us to love and care for—animals who, like his QT Pi, love and care for us right back.


Story Title

Author Name, Organization Name
—pediatric neurosurgeon Fred Epstein
“We think of children as vulnerable. In my experience, they’re giants. Their bodies and souls are amazingly resilient. What we often mistake for fragility is their openness, which has opened my own mind, my own heart, and my own spirit.”

"If I Get to Five: What Children Can Teach Us About Courage and Character"


How will you embrace and learn from your vulnerability?

I will ask for help with my weaknesses and become a stronger person.

I will use the empathy I feel for others to help them and myself become more resilient.

I will view my honesty about my vulnerability as the first step to my growth past it.

May God’s love encourage and guide your steps today. We’ll see you again soon!

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