By Tyler Grogan, CVT and Michael W. Miller, DVM
The first few months of 2020 have seemed to be under the effects of a time turner. Things are changing so quickly each day, and yet, it feels like this global crisis has lasted longer than it takes to grow mandrakes. In the story of Harry Potter, normalcy, even in a wizard’s world, seemed to become a thing of the past when Voldemort made his return. JK Rowling’s characters at this point had all been developing over 6 books, so how would they react in the biggest crisis they had ever faced? What role would they play?
It became apparent that some characters dealt with this crisis as we may have expected (of COURSE Hermione would have a charmed, bottomless handbag ready to go after Fleur and Bill’s wedding). Others reacted in ways we didn’t see coming (Neville: The Snake Slayer!). Everyone faces stress and challenging times in different ways. So, who are you most like in the wizarding world when faced with crisis? Can you identify your teammates as well in the following examples?
This is the leader who takes action and rallies support behind one message, often putting others before himself. He’s tirelessly writing protocols or working on the floor of our hospitals, keeping morale high. However, this leader may also be the one who won’t ask for help even when support is needed. At times, he may want to do the hard work to dig Dobby’s grave, but the Harrys you work with will still need support, whether they realize it at first or not.
She is the perpetually prepared and informed one. She’s always checking in with the team, making sure she has the latest information (from reliable sources) about how to stay safe. Also, when everyone else is searching for things that are now out of stock, she has a magical bag of needed supplies. If you want to know the most recent protocol recommendations or find the last surgical mask in the hospital, she can help you.
He is the person who deeply fears for his loved ones and just wants to see what lies ahead. This blurs his ability to remain calm at first and may cause him to storm out of the tent surrendering the locket Horcrux. However, after he knows the plan and ensures that his family is safe, he feels better and becomes a valuable team player. The Rons at your animal hospital may seem lost and overwhelmed initially, but once they understand the new plan, they can focus their energy back on the tasks at hand and become a strong contributor to the team.
This is the trusted leader who is doing a lot behind the scenes that not everyone knows about. Even though people like him, there may be a seed of doubt that he’s doing the right thing when chaos appears, and his reaction is not what others expect. In the end, everyone will understand that the Dumbledores are always a few steps ahead of everyone else during a crisis. In your heart, you know you should trust and follow them.
You may resent this team member at first, but they’re actually playing the long-game and making choices based on what will be best for the bigger picture. This person is making the unpopular, heart-wrenching decisions. In veterinary hospitals, the Snapes are often responsible for finances and must find a balance between their love of their hospital team and the real, hard facts. They still deserve compassion during the crisis, even when it seems like they’re the bad guy. Poor Snape.
We all love Hagrid. He’s loyal and willing to help however needed, even though he’s not always the most skilled wizard. This person is the ultimate team player who will clean up messes and restock supplies, but he will also step out of his comfort zone to help however he can. Need him to go befriend giants? – no problem. Need someone to calm the fearful Cane Corso refusing to come into the building? – go find your hospital’s Hagrid!
This is the adored martyr. He does whatever is needed to help in a crisis, but in the end, puts himself in harm's way (spoiler alert!) becoming fatally wounded in the process. We need to watch out for the Dobbys in our practice who mean well, try their best, but may be putting themselves at risk. Our team members who are offering to go to client’s homes to deliver goods or climbing into pet owners’ cars to retrieve patients may not be aware of the risks even though they have good intentions. We love our Dobby’s, but we need to protect them from their own empathetic heart that can get them in trouble.
She’s a steady, calm figure in the midst of chaos. When you need her, she’s there to talk you through difficult decision making. The Ginnys in our hospitals are the rock-solid Quidditch players who can fill in wherever needed. Then when called on for a more important battle, they are just as reliable. They don’t require or demand attention, but they step up big when challenged. Don’t underestimate the power of her calm presence.
Fred & George Weasley
These are the guys who laugh in the midst of a crisis and keep the mood light when they can. Don’t ignore their importance! They might be the ones making memes about a difficult situation, but this does not mean they don’t care. This is how they process and deal with a crisis, which may provide the rest of your team with a much-needed emotional palate cleanser. In between their jokes, they are also putting in the hard work to help the team.
Here is our unexpected hero – that person who previously stumbled through everyday tasks but then steps up in an emergency. When the snake needs to be killed, he pulls Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat to slay the beast. In our hospitals, our Nevilles are the people during a crisis who you suddenly realize have grown so much since you first met them. That kid who started in the kennel, but now becomes a leader in an unexpected way. It may have taken years – or six books – to get there, but now Neville is ready to step up. Way to go Neville!
No matter which Harry Potter character you are most like during a crisis, you have a role to play in your veterinary team. And surprise, in our own ways we are now all leaders in this unprecedented time. Even through our different approaches, we can unite during this battle. As Dumbledore said, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s [or COVID-19’s] gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences in habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
In this uncertain time, we hope you can create your own Order of the Phoenix to help you face whatever the future brings. Trust yourselves, and your team during this time to make the choices that will continue to let us share our magic, even in the darkest of times. Especially during a crisis, we must continue to discover the magic in veterinary medicine, including the magic in our veterinary teammates.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Tyler Grogan is a Certified Veterinary Technician from Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about our profession and helping support the superheroes in it! She has recently started her own relief veterinary technician service, SOS Vet Relief. Tyler also works with the Uncharted Veterinary Conference and the Vet Med After Hours Podcast on all things social media! Outside of her time in a veterinary clinic, Tyler loves spending time exploring as much of the world as she can, and expressing her creativity through music, baking or writing!
Dr. Michael W. Miller, DVM is a part-owner of a four-hospital practice and splits time between Lakewood Animal Hospital and Pine Bluff Animal Hospital in Morris, Illinois. He has a special interest in exotic animal medicine – especially reptiles, but he also enjoys working on dogs and cats including his mischievous shelter mutt named Wombat. He also started a blog called Harry Potter Vet that uses comparisons to the wizarding world to discover the magic in veterinary medicine.