Monday, February 04, 2008

  • a beautiful tiny chocolate rex rabbit - eight years old and in GI stasis. her fur was like velvet and i burried my face in it while she was still alive. we touched foreheads and leaned into one another.
  • several weeks ago i euthanized an animal and didn't make an entry. i was without net access for a few weeks and by the time i got it back i didn't know if it was appropriate. i have not forgotten and it's been gnawing at me ever since. it was the first animal (in private practice) that i had not eulogized here. so: a pet chicken that had been attacked by something. a cat? another chicken? the wound never healed and had grown very necrotic. the owner was self conscious about it and did not want to bring it in to the hospital for fear the smell would offend. i sat in the back of her station wagon in the parking lot and gave the injection.
  • 28 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are strong and amazing. I could not do it.
    Thank you for sharing and for doing such a good job at something so horrible.

    2/04/2008  
    Blogger 'aTiQaH SHaH R.d said...

    thank you for caring. i wish i'd known what to do when my cat was dying. i had to just watched him die. i wish i'd come to you. i cried the whole time, and because my dad couldn't be bothered, he said he'd take care of it. i learnt later that he threw the body in a ditch. i hated him for it.

    2/04/2008  
    Anonymous Gen said...

    your blog made me cry. thank you for being compassionate. i feel better knowing there are people like you out there.

    2/05/2008  
    Blogger frank said...

    where i'm from, a butcher's knife is pretty humane. i'm amazed that you and organizations like yours go to such lengths for chickens and rats. (and i'm amazed that people actually keep them as pets). over here, they're just food and vermin. i applaud you.

    and i'm curious. do you offer the euthanization (?) as a free service? (because i can't imagine people paying very much for someone to kill a dying rat).

    i love your blog,
    frank

    2/05/2008  
    Anonymous Catowner said...

    What a beautiful and heartbreaking idea for a blog. It's good to know that putting an animal to sleep isn't just 'another procedure' for a vet. Thank you.

    2/05/2008  
    Blogger Jes said...

    I just have to say, my husband stumbled upon your blog and showed it to me. I am an LVT as well, although I have decided to stop practicing permanently. I can recall nearly every animal I myself have had to put down, so your blog really spoke to me. I wish I had had the forethought to write them all down.

    I can't do the job anymore. I loved the job, but I began to hate the clients. Not all of them, mind you; but the 80% who were cold, unfeeling, uncaring, even cruel. I could not kill another animal for no good reason, and I began to refuse to do so. I would gladly euthanize an animal in pain and who was suffering and could not be saved or cured, but I could not bear to look into another set of eyes belonging to some pet whose owner just didn't want them anymore. I could not murder those animals for no reason.

    I had to step away from the job and regroup. I have decided my best option is to keep my licensure, but to focus on my own houseful or rescued cats (16 in all), and help my friends and neighbors with their pets when I can. I took a job walking a bulldog during the week. The stress has all but evaporated, knowing I won't have to kill ever again. I may have to make the decision to euthanize when it comes to my own animals one day, but I won't have to do the injecting. I won't have to carry it in my heart that I made something die ever again.

    I salute you, I support your blog and I hope it opens some eyes. We need to open people's eyes. Thank you for sharing what I have wanted to share since the first time I had to euthanize something.

    2/05/2008  
    Blogger Snipergirl said...

    As a doctor, I find your entries very touching and personal. In a strange way it does remind me of the patients who we give up on (but do not euthanise as such) and the patients I certify dead. I cry privately for most of them.

    2/05/2008  
    Blogger In the thick of it said...

    Thank you for your blog, and bless you for being so strong.

    I came across your site on boing boing and I was so moved I had to give it a thorough look. My boyfriend and I were house sitting last May and came home to find his parent’s Peekapoo Babs having what appeared to me to be an anxiety attack. At the animal hospital she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Sadly she did not respond to any of the treatments given and it was the worst moment for my boyfriend to have to make the decision to euthanize. While he tried to reach his relatives I held her little body and the vet and I tried to give her oxygen and she just kept giving up. The woman was amazing with us and you could tell she understood and could feel our pain. I will forever be grateful to the vet and the receptionist working past regular hours that day for helping us help Babs. What you do is a service beyond noble and though at times stupid crass people make terrible decisions I have to tell myself the animals are better off without them. Babs is still with us on the mantle at his parents no one’s willing to let go. Though the family has a little cat now full of laughter and joy (and until recently heat :-S ) there will never be another little darling like our Babs, who was doted on and adored her human mommie.

    I come from an animal friendly family, all my cousins are dogs and sheep. People like you are amazing and your job is so important. The one’s you put down touch your reader’s hearts and the one’s that you can heal warm those of their owners. Thanks for letting me share a little. I wish you had been there when our cat Patches died, I’d have liked to know why, but my mother was too distraught and my father too removed. Patches is buried in the flower garden now close to the birds she was never allowed out to play with.

    Thank you a million times for your compassion to animals.

    2/05/2008  
    Anonymous Stephy said...

    hi and hello. came across your blog by way of warren ellis' website as recommended reading. i was actually surprised i clicked on the link after reading the description. i'm an animal lover and even the thought of animals in pain and agony makes my heart heavy enough that i start crying. but even after reading just a couple of your posts...there was something just so beautiful and comforting about them. by coming home and posting these things daily, it's almost as if you're creating a small little memorial to their memory. thank you for all the work you do. know that it's well appreciated.

    2/05/2008  
    Blogger Ali H said...

    Your compassion shines through so clearly. The work you do, and the recording of it, is so important- but just as important I think for people to experience through your words the emotional and physical reality of what compassion can mean.

    2/05/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I came across this after author Neil Gaiman posted a link to it on his website.
    It's incredibly moving. And you are a truely incredible human being. I have two cats 8 and 7 years of age. I dread the day that either of them has to go. I can only pray that my Max and Precious are in the presence of someone as kindhearted and sweet as yourself.
    Thank You.

    2/06/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am a veterinarian who started out working for 6 years in an animal shelter, where I euthanized thousands of animals. Then I worked as a vet tech and participated in euthanasia at that level. Now I am a vet and every day talk loving owners through the decision to let go. I still cry sometimes in front of the owners. Your writing reveals tremendous compassion and I applaud what you are doing. Euthanasia is an issue that we can barely deal with for our companion animals, let alone for suffering human beings. Thank you for doing this.

    2/06/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    this is the most powerful, moving, and emotional website i have ever read.

    2/06/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This blog is heartbreaking, but I also find it lovely that you memorialize all these animals. I am currently training to be a vet tech and am really struggling with the knowledge that euthanasia will be a part of my job. I too have been a vegetarian since age 11 and firmly believe in the sanctity of life for all creatures. I haven't yet participated in the euthanasia of an animal (other than being with my own beloved pets when it was their time to pass) and I honestly don't know what I'll do when the time comes for me to take a life...

    2/06/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Your blog is amazing. It's not only the tragedy of the animals passing away, but your sheer compassion for each and every one of them that is so moving and inspiring. Even when I had tears in my eyes, I couldn't stop reading. Is that weird? =/

    2/06/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    snipergirl said:

    As a doctor, I find your entries very touching and personal. In a strange way it does remind me of the patients who we give up on (but do not euthanise as such) ...


    SHIT!

    2/07/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I worked as a vet tech for 14 years. I always thought if people knew what we did what would they think. I used to have nightmares where i had to euthanize a cat and no matter what i did the cat wouldn't die. It was very cathartic reading your blog... thank you. I finally gave it all up to be a nurse. Its a googd job, better pay but I miss being able to be as connected with my patients as I was as a vettech.

    2/07/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This blog is strangely beautiful. It made me cry.

    You're a very strong and compassionate person. Thank you.

    2/07/2008  
    Anonymous April said...

    i dont know how you do it- putting my rat down was the single most traumatic event in my life. thank you for being a kindhearted, caring person- the world could use more people like you.

    2/08/2008  
    Anonymous Robinson said...

    I doubt that whatever attacked the chicken was a cat. I've seen the way my chickens handle cats.

    2/08/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I hope you keep on posting, as hard as it must be. I find it comforting, and it seems so do many others. My dog of 13 years was diagnosed with lung cancer last fall. I held her as she was put to sleep. It was both the most painful and the most peaceful experience. The vet and vet tech were so kind, both to my dog and to me. You should know the work you do really matters.

    2/08/2008  
    OpenID Traci37643 said...

    I am thankful for people with your strength and love for animals. You have held my hand every time I had to say goodbye to a beloved friend.

    2/08/2008  
    Blogger Rael said...

    With so many heartfelt comments, though most of them are depressing, I just wanted to let you know:

    My princess (a chow/lab/shep mix) Auryn, is very healthy, happy and she just gave me kisses to send along to you! Please don't forget there's still a lot of life in the world too!

    2/09/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thank you for documenting this. From your writing, it seems that you show these pets and animals a wonderful amount of love, compassion, and respect. That is so, so important and I cannot thank you enough.

    The toll your job takes on you must be enormous. I hope you find lots of happiness in your life.

    2/09/2008  
    Blogger Happy Camper said...

    kvojituiuYour sharings are inspiring to those of us who understand, we are all finite.To be released from pain or a life of horrble conditions with no hope of recovery, that is the ultimate gift of love. I read the most beautiful poem on a Korean site, an ode to the suffering of the dogs caught up in the food, fur trade over there. Your truest gift is to share with us.....

    2/09/2008  
    Blogger music man said...

    pBeautiful, the spirit of your caring reaches beyond the saddnes of what you must feel on many days

    2/09/2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    While I applaud your effots and your blog, it seems you occasionally euthanize several animals a day, and there are large gaps between these dates. Working at a major city's animal control, I regularly have to euthanize 10-25 animals each and every day. And I am just one of several who have to do this. And I too feel the pain every time.

    Too many rescue agencies dump the most unwanted and unadoptable animals onto city animal controls, so that they can be "no kill" shelters, or prove that they have high adoption rates. The condemn and demean city animal controls, yet they dump their animals just as many owners do.

    This is not a critique, or a criticism, just a reminder that not every rescue is a golden place, and not every AC officer is a cruel dogcatcher. If you want to do something for your pet community, spay or neuter your pet.

    Big City AC Agent

    2/13/2008  
    Anonymous hippygoth said...

    Was this the day that this blog was linked on Warren Ellis' blog? I meant to log on to our mutual super-secret site and comment. But I didn't. I thought it would be weird. But I thought of you when I saw the link on Warren Ellis' blog - "hey, I know that woman. sort of."

    And now I look back to catch up, and I see all the comments from this day, and realize that this must have been around that time.

    3/13/2008  

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