Euthanasia. It’s a word that strikes fear in to every pet owner’s heart. At least once a week, a client will say to me “I’d love to have your job but I couldn’t deal with all the euthanasia’s”. After 5 years in this field of work, I can tell you it’s the most difficult part of my job, and yet, one of the kindest things we do here.
Last April, my aunt was in the hospital, dying of lung cancer. She was suffering. She had enough pain management drugs in her system to make a doctor cry. And still she suffered. I asked her once, at the start of her diagnosis, if she was afraid of dying. She said no, she was afraid of suffering. The day she passed away, they had just stopped her pacemaker (the only thing keeping her alive), and I sat at the foot of her bed and waited. I watched her writhe in agony. And we waited some more. And we watched some more. And we waited some more. The whole time, the only thing I could think, was “Why? Why can we help animals who are suffering and not help people?”
I still don’t have the answer for that question but every day I’m grateful that we can help suffering animals. Does that help me deal with an euthanasia better? Sometimes. Sometimes an animal comes in the door in so much pain, that while my heart breaks for the owner, I’m relieved for the animal. There are times when fate plays a nasty trick and we have to assist them in leaving this world too soon. Those days are much, much harder.
Some days, there are days we cry right there in the room with you, while you’re saying goodbye to your pet. There are days we walk in to another room and cry for you, for your pet, but, in the end, I wouldn’t change my job, the career I’ve chosen. All in all, at the end of each day, there’s a sigh of happiness for every animal we helped that day, whether the pet be at the beginning of life, the middle of life, or the end of life.