An 8 year old yellow lab. I met the owner in the parking lot. He didn't want to be present for the euthanasia. I stood next to his huge, expensive looking truck not knowing what to expect. We had brought a gurney out expecting her to be unable to walk. He opened the back door and she hopped out happily, wagging her tail. He handed me the leash, saying he didn't want it back. He was crying, obviously upset. I quickly brought her inside and as soon as the door was shut I'm pretty sure I exclaimed something sacrilegious out loud. The dog was skin and bones and had huge bald patches all over her body. She looked like one of the worst case street dogs I saw while working at an animal shelter in India. Her toenails were so long they were almost curled under and there was a huge purple lump over her eye, probably an abscess but maybe a tumor. I looked at her chart. She hadn't been to the clinic in over two years. I weighed her. 50 pounds. Her previous weight was 80 pounds. This dog had lost 40% of its body weight and much of its hair and the owner hadn't brought it in to see what was wrong. Maybe it had cancer. Maybe it was something more simple than that. We'll never know. What got me the most, however, was how absolutely sweet this dog was. I sat on the floor and she rested her chin on my shoulder then gave me big wet kisses all over my face. I asked a co-worker to bring me treats and she accepted that excitedly. Then she crawled into my lap and held her chin up against mine. I was holding off her vein for someone else who did the injection so I was able to stroke her head and whisper to her as she passed. She was an amazing dog who deserved so much more. At least the owner got one thing right - the dog's name was Angel.
An Amazon parrot with a viral wasting disease that is very contagious to all other psittacine birds. The owner is one of my favorite clients. She's the type that will take in any homeless animal and will do whatever it takes to give it the best care possible. She spends thousands of dollars a year on animals, some of which are just transients passing through her care. This particular parrot was not at all friendly, and in fact was quite aggressive yet the owner was sobbing so mournfully at his demise. She said "I'm never getting another pet again! I just can't go through this each time." It was all I could do to not laugh and say "I don't believe that for a *second*. You'll probably find a stray on the way home and schedule an ultrasound for it next week."
I try very hard not to judge people. Everyone has a story and a side that I cannot see. But sometimes it's very difficult.
I leave you with some words, The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.