My dear dog Cookie, I euthanized in our home in 2008
to end her suffering from osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
I absolutely know that other people have some pretty horrible things they do with their job. I appreciate that life is not a competition and there are so many people that are out there with a heavy load on their plate. I also completely understand that this subject that might even offend people, and is a private family or individual issue. I do not want to have or start a debate on this issue. With all that said, I have a complaint...
Euthanasia. It is the humane ending of an animal life. It is part of my job, nearly daily. I take it extremely serious, not only in helping people make the decision, and evaluating my patients to determine if they are a appropriate candidate for euthanasia but also in the process. I want the patient to not be scared, and I want the owners to feel that it was the right decision and I want the procedure to go smoothly and peacefully.
It is not easy. The procedure involves an intravenous injection of a caustic lethal overdose 0f a sedative. Not all animals want to have an injection. Most of these patient are extremely old or debilitated, so their veins are extremely fragile and difficult to find. Owners range from extremely emotional to angry. I will have one or two people present, but I have had up to ten people present. Sometimes I have very young children present, that have flowers and hand drawn pictures of their pet. I have watched people cry hardier than I even knew was possible.
Sometimes the patient is an animal that I am very bonded with. A patient that I have know since they were a puppy or kitten. Or they are a personal friends pet, or a family pet. I have euthanized all of our own pets, and my parents animals. Typically, I try not to cry while I am doing the procedure because I need to concentrate on what I am doing. There are times when I know the patient is in pain and I need to euthanize them, but I do not want to euthanize them, I just don't want to be there.
You would think that I would do the same number of euthanasia all year round. How could death have a busy time? Well, it does. You can ask other veterinarians. We do more euthanasia around the holidays. I don't really know why. I just know every year from about the week before Thanksgiving to the week after New Years I will do more euthanasia then the rest of the year.
I have four euthanasia scheduled in my work day tomorrow, and they are scheduled one after another. 2 hours of euthanasia. Not typical, but really a bit more than this lady wants to handle.