How your vet sees euthanasia…..
So, you bring me this puppy — they kiss my face, devour the cookies I offer, and our friendship starts.
Several visits later, they start to learn where all the cookie jars are in the clinic, and that lady in the white coat, well she’s okay….
Fast forward many visits later, now I am in love with your dog and your whole family because, well, you are just really, really good people and I have not only watched that pup turn into a really sweet family member, but I got to watch the kids grow every year and be a very small part of your journey.
Remember that time they ate your teenage daughter’s thong underwear?
yeah we all had a good laugh over that once the surgery was done and she was recovered. Your daughter probably never forgave me for bringing that up and showing the whole fam-jam when they came to pick her up from the clinic.
So many adventures, so little time…..
And here we are, fifteen or so odd years later, having to say goodbye.
They’ve got heart disease and I can’t fix it anymore. She’s got cancer and there is no cure. He has arthritis and the meds just aren’t working. I want them to live forever for you. I want that so badly it hurts. I feel like I have failed them and you when I have run out of options to keep them, (and you,) comfortable and happy.
So now it’s time, and I am supposed to be professional. Objective. I am the doctor. Calm. Cool. Collected. Always under control.
I have known you and your dog for a third of my life, and most of my professional career.
But I keep it together. My superhuman amazing technicians have put the catheter in. My support staff from reception to assistants have done all the paperwork. Trust me they may not show it but their hearts are breaking for you. They have been there. They know. And they know you and care about you too.
And I have the needle in the pocket of my white coat. The same pocket that was always full of treats for them. I take a deep yoga breath and come into the room. Gotta stay strong now…….
They’re giving me that sweet look they always do, the one that is followed by puppy kisses and a glance at the cookie jar. But they’re is too weak now. They’re ready. You are not. I am not. But this shit has to happen because we love them too much to let them suffer.
They would keep going as long as we asked them to. But we can’t ask them to anymore. It’s not fair to them. I wish our human hearts could be so giving all the time. I wish I could be the person my dog thinks I am. I wish I wish I wish I could find a way for them to live forever. But I don’t have those magical powers. I am just a vet.
So we kiss them back, not much left of their body that still works, but that old tail wags, just enough that I lose my shit on the inside but I try not to cry. Gotta stay strong.
Their body relaxes, they are in your arms and you are sobbing. Another family has lost one of its most cherished members. I put my stethoscope to their heart to make sure it has stopped but they’re being held so tight to your chest that maybe that is your heart I hear pounding or maybe it’s mine and all the blood rushing through my ears as I try so so so hard not to turn into a blubbering mess.
Confirmed, they has passed. You lay them gently on the table and we hug tightly as you go to leave.
The door closes behind you and I don’t know if you hear this, but I sob hysterically into your pet’s ear. They are gone, they will be missed, and you have to face what I know will be one of the hardest parts of today.
Entering that house and they are not there to greet you.
Please know that I know how you feel. As you leave the clinic I just wish with every fiber of my being that you never had to face that. I wish they could live forever.
And please know, I am so grateful that I was a small part of your journey.
Love always, Your vet.
by Kristin Andrews, DVM
*Photo of our beloved Barrington*