Though opinions about my usefulness around here vary, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a self-help guru for the staff. And this is my demonstration of the most important quality a person–or a cat–can cultivate in his or her life: balance.

Yes, that’s me perched atop an office chair. There’s probably like three inches to fit all four of my feet (not to mention my petite feline derriere) on. And, people tell me, I look pretty good doing it. But let me share a secret with you: it’s not easy. Staying balanced, I mean. (The looking pretty part just comes naturally to some of us.)

As you might guess, it can get pretty stressful around here for the ladies of Companion Veterinary Hospital. Some days are just like that: puppies with Parvo, kittens with feline leukemia, HBCs and ADRs (that’s vet lingo for “hit by car” and “ain’t doin’ right” for the non-insiders), long-in-the-tooth pets who come in for routine blood work and leave with a cancer diagnosis. And the pet owners…that might be the toughest part. How do you tell Fluffy’s human mom that her beloved pet is nearing the end?

And yet, along with the sorrows and tragedy they face on a daily basis, my human colleagues are blessed with opportunities to frolic with puppies and cuddle with kittens, and to see the sick ones nursed back to health and sent out the door with a renewed lust for life. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a job, no doubt about it. The flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants feeling is what keeps many of my human colleagues in this career. But it’s also what tests them the most. There are few jobs that allow humans to experience such a wide range of emotions in a single day. Veterinary medicine is definitely one of them.

So, my hominid homies, what I’m saying is that I understand your struggle. Your job is one of the toughest. It’s also one of the most rewarding. And my advice to you is simple: the key to balance is to cherish the highs, accept the lows–and be sure to put both (or all four, if you’re so blessed) of your feet squarely beneath your derriere, hang on for dear life, and try to look pretty doing it!