Profile | Is Veterinarian Really a Dream job?

Gabriele and Sabrina Bacher: Veterinarians through and through

Girls and horses have long had a special connection. What may be less known is that this affinity for animals has drawn more and more young women towards veterinary medicine. Sabrina Bacher, 31, can testify to this: At the University of Vienna, her class was 80 percent women.

For her mother, Gabriele Bacher, 63, who is also a vet, it was the reverse. She moved to Vienna from Salzburg to study in the early ’80s – it was and still is the only program in veterinary medicine in Austria – one of very few women, 10 out of 330 students in her year.

She understands why young women are drawn to the profession. “Girls seem to be more interested in caring for [things], in looking after, doing good.” They also like the independence.

Sabrina now runs her own clinic in the 7th district, with her mother often present as an advisor. In this way, she has the optimal conditions for a veterinarian practice in Vienna: combining the wisdom of experience and the up-to-date knowledge of two generations.

For mother and daughter, there was never a question about being a vet; it was for both their dream job. They also agree on what makes the career path challenging. The course of study is long, an intensive, punishing six years.

“That’s why I would say I would probably choose this job again if I had to,” Sabrina said with a laugh.

Despite the thorough, comprehensive training, Sabrina is grateful to be able to consult her mother, from whom she learned many things they don’t necessarily teach you at university – for example, that vets not only have to deal with animals but also with their owners.

“I learned from my mother how to approach people – with empathy and understanding.”

Love of animals is not enough in this profession. It’s not just about petting cute puppies and kittens, there are also deaths, injuries…. This is part of being a doctor.

Janima Nam
Janima Nam is a freelance journalist, translator, and editor living in Vienna. She has a BFA in film from New York University and a Masters degree (MA) from the London Consortium in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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