Q&A- Dr. Jason's study & pet-sitting semester abroad
Now that he's back settled into practice, we thought we would ask Dr. Jason to reflect on his five month sabbatical trip.
You took care of five fur families while you were traveling, in several different countries. What was your favourite pet to housesit?
Although Tom the Italian cat will always be dear to us, Sibi, the huge 12 month old male Irish Wolfhound we babysat in France was our fav. His sweet nature, huge presence and attentiveness reminded me of Tully, our beloved late wolfhound and Ragna, our current, (relatively little) wolfhound girl. We love the relaxed, loving, devoted nature of the breed and Sibi just filled up our hearts. Walks in the vineyard with him will be a cherished memory. Funny enough, we’ve found good friends in both Tom and Sibi’s families, and hope to see both again.
What was the highlight of your time traveling?
Honestly, the highlight of the trip for me was the uninterrupted time I was able to spend with my family. Although I love my work, the day to day stress can be hard sometimes. It was nice to have an extended period without having this stress pop into my mindset, and to focus on my wife and kids in a way I don’t get to at home. Especially with the girls going into their last year of school, it felt like we invested time in them at exactly the right time, and made memories to cherish. It was also nice to spend time in other people’s homes, experiencing different architecture and each family and culture’s deeply embedded way of living.
Which country was the most pet-friendly?
I would say France was the most pet-friendly, but in general most European countries are more welcoming to dogs than Canada. Most allow pets to visit restaurants, and are welcome in shops. That said, there are very different cultural expectations for pets. Dogs don’t meet each other in the street or interact en route, they are expected to stick with their families, waiting under tables for their people to finish lunch. The cities with the most dogs were Colmar, in Alsace, France, and Split, Croatia, for the same reason: both are incredibly accommodating to tourists with fr kids - you might want to consider these two cities for your next doggy vacation! A lot of people have cats in their home from the Balkans to the UK, but in Morocco we saw cats everywhere - in businesses, malls, restaurants - they were really everywhere.
What would you recommend to other professionals thinking about traveling the world?
You have to have a good team that can take over and run things without you. Major issues needing your attention in another time zone, or traveling home early because your business was falling apart is not ideal. I would like to thank all my amazing staff and colleagues for handling our family business seamlessly and enabling our family’s bucket list goal to become a reality. In particular, Hannah, who opened the clinic with us 9 years ago, was a total rockstar and I’m extremely grateful to her for her leadership.
What was the most interesting thing you learned, studying en route?
I always find the Chi Institute courses fascinating, and I studied traditional Chinese herbal medicine, part-time for several months while we were traveling. I really enjoyed doing the herbal gastro-intestinal module as there was a lot of new content; whereas the dermatology was review. I was using many of the herbs already. A general takeaway I have learned from these advanced studies is that many patients have multiple problems and multiple patterns of disease. I now have the tools to combine multiple Chinese herbal formulas with different modes of action, and have been putting this principle into practice now that I’m back at work with my patients.