cats, dogs, Pet Health
Euthanasia Through the Eyes of a Veterinary Nurse – Petful
To think about putting your pet to sleep is something no one wants to think about. With my first dog, it was something that haunted me for years.
Loving and caring for our pets means at some point we will have to let them go. I have been present for many a pet’s passing in my veterinary career. There are days in the hospital when I have so many sick pets to care for that I must stay strong so that, when I leave that room, I can continue care for others in the hospital.
But then there are days when it all hits you: the reminder of the magnitude of what is about to happen and the great loss that someone is about to go through.
Grief Is Expected
Euthanasia is perhaps
My role in this moment is to provide comfort, care and respect to both the patient and their person. And although
People at first are always so concerned about revealing their emotions, being vulnerable in front of a stranger. But grief is something we cannot avoid. I want people to know that I understand, I have been there both with my own pet, and also for so many others, and it’s ok — in fact,
A Compounded Loss
Once, an elderly lady had come in to put her dog down, and she had just lost her husband the week before. I remember looking at her and thinking she just looked so broken. At one point, I said, “I don’t want you to have to go home alone,” to which she replied, “I don’t either.”
This was the dog who stood by her side through her husband’s illness, a steady companion to help her get through the days, weeks and months. And then, so suddenly,
I once had a person tell me, “If only we could all go so easily.” The simple truth of this statement struck me: Death is so final and painful for us all.
You’ll Know When It’s Time
For our pets, when we know their time has come, when we know there is nothing left to be done, we have the ability to spare them that pain and suffering.
For someone who may be struggling with this decision, the one thing people always want to know is how they will know when it’s time. What I can tell you is simply this:
While this advice may seem lacking at first, you know your pet better than anyone. The day will come when you look at them, and
Euthanasia is undoubtedly one of the most difficult aspects of my job, but it has also been one of the most valuable. It has taught me the power of the human spirit; it has shown me that, as human beings, we have a capacity to love far beyond ourselves. I am a better pet caretaker, veterinary nurse and individual because of these experiences.
And although I wish no one would ever experience this, please know that when the time comes for you to say goodbye to your own pet, someone like me will be there to help guide you through, to care for your pet in their final moments and to
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This article was written by Kristene Carroll, a certified veterinary technician. She worked for 10 years in general practice and now works in specialty doing anesthesia and surgery. She lives in Massachusetts with her boyfriend and 3 dogs.
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