The handsome Golden Retriever’s heartbeat and breathing stopped, and then his body lay motionless amid the blankets. Danielle Grospitch, then a 17-year-old new veterinary assistant, remained on the examination room floor weeping for more than an hour with the woman whose dog had just been euthanized for incurable blood cancer. She had not expected to suffer so much for a dog she did not know.
“You’re going to deal with a lot as a vet; and it’s going to be really hard turning the emotions off when you get home, especially if you can’t turn them off here,” the head veterinarian said at the end of that day. Danielle’s dream of becoming a veterinarian was dissolving. How was it possible that she cared too much? What other path could even exist for her?
That day ended up guiding much of Danielle’s life. She found that she could not stop caring; it imbued every part of her being. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies and work experience, helping those who were hurting or who could not advocate for themselves became a major motivation.
In medical communications, Danielle has found a way to hear and be the voice of the patient. At Lockwood, she has the opportunity to work on communications about treatments for previously marginalized populations. As Danielle sees it, even materials directed toward health care professionals are ultimately for the benefit of patients.
“Sometimes I envision creating an army of empaths who go out and change the world just because they care enough to ask the right questions,” Danielle says.
The other part of Danielle’s calling has paws and tails. Danielle runs a private hospice for elderly, sick, and abandoned dogs. She plans to expand this hospice as a full-scale nonprofit called “Before You Go.” “Before they go, I want them to know that they meant something, that they were important, that they were good dogs, and that they mattered,” she says. With this hospice, Danielle’s dream of helping animals has come full circle. She now lives through and overcomes the emotions that once seemed unbearable for the sake of providing them comfort.
As Danielle works on an assignment at her desk in her home office, she hears Sam the elderly beagle snoring gently in the dog bed behind her. Danielle’s work is right at home with her—exactly as it was meant to be. She carries that spirit of caring into her work at Lockwood, asking the right questions and striving to find a uniquely suited path for everyone she helps.