Oh. Hey. My last journal entry was my 1,500th on this LJ. Go me.
Hello everyone. Let's talk about a thing.
So pets die, right? I deal with that a lot on account of I work at a vet clinic. PS, I don't think I'm building up to a certain point, I just need to pour out some words, so. Don't expect some sweeping, majestic summation of human existence at the end here.
There's a lot of different reasons as to why someone would have to get a pet put to sleep (PTS), but if the reason is bogus, my vets will send the person away with a live pet. They don't fuck around and take "well I just don't want it anymore" as an excuse. Reason number five hundred and sixteen that I love my job, right.
The vast, overwhelming majority of pets that are PTS at our clinic are PTS because they are very old and their bodies are shutting down on them. That's... a pretty damn good way to go, it turns out. Better than the ones we see that are young and suddenly horribly ill or injured. We get those sometimes, but it's far less regular.
My first PTS at this clinic (and my first working in the field, not a PTS that was one of my pets) was an old, sick cat who had had a great run and needed a little mercy. I was fine with this. The owner cried a little, thanked us profusely, and left with her equally crying toddler. It happened, I went "aw, that's too bad, poor family," and went about my business.
The second PTS was an ancient sheltie with an equally ancient man for an owner. He'd known this day was coming and was just so... At peace with it. We dragged a chair into the exam room so he could sit with her (we don't have chairs in there normally on account of very small exam rooms) and his adult daughter was with him. She was sobbing, he was just sitting quietly with his hand on the dog's paw. The daughter had to leave the room, asked if I would stand with him. I did, because how do you say no to a sobbing lady and a 5000 year old man who are asking for something so simple? You don't, that's how. I felt sad after this, but the old man hugged and thanked me when we took the dog's body away and I went on with my day.
(The aforementioned old cat's owner came by a few days later with a fruit basket. That happened. Blew my goddamn mind.)
I didn't know either of these families or their pets, this being my 1st/2nd week at the clinic, but I knew their pain and it made me frown and go "awww, bad day for them, I feel empathetic towards this situation, &c." This was also right around the time I had to put Casey to sleep.
We had a couple more, I don't really remember. A relatively young dog with pancreatitis that had been in every day for about 15 in a row for rechecks, fluid therapy, etc. had to be PTS in my first amount of time at the hospital. I knew the owners a little better (really nice old married couple) and I knew the dog. She was a real sweetie. They thanked us too, the whole team, and gave the vet who did the euth a hug and dropped off a card when they came back to pick up the dog's ashes.
But then Nash. Nash was a dog I had never met before who belonged with a family I'd never before. He was old and very sick and he had a peaceful death. And fuck did I ever cry. I got myself together relatively quickly, but in the 10 minutes I was crying, I was fucking sobbing.
There have been about 4 now that have had me in honest to god tears. And a few more past that were I've welled up a little, or had a Dean Winchester style "single manly tear." But I mean, the majority of them are "oh gosh, that poor cat/dog/hamster/family." There's a few more coming up, that we know are on the horizon that I know I'll cry over (including one for Sasha that's going to have me in tears for an hour, I guarantee it. Tonight or tomorrow. Very anxious about going to work soon :/), and a few more that I'll just be thankful have finally happened (again, Sasha. Ugh, poor creature).
On Friday, we had to euth a large Maine Coon (like McLovin and Casey...). The owner was a bedridden 89 year old woman and the cat came in with her daughter and HER daughter (so, daughter and grand-daughter to cat's owner, referred to henceforth as "lady" and "daughter" because I never met the actualfax owner). The cat was sick (suddenly, acutely, in a 8 year old cat, so still relatively young, though maybe closer to geriatric from a Maine Coon stance). Very sick. We did rads and a basic CBC to comfirm. Yes, the cat was very sick, Yes, the best thing we can do for the kitty now is have it PTS. So that's what the lady and her daughter did. They called the owner and she said goodbye over speakerphone in the exam room, then they paid the bill and left. They couldn't stay while it happened.
Some people find it really difficult to stay for any of it, and some people don't even want the pet to be taken to the treatment room to have the catheter put in because any time away from the pet is horrible for them to conceive (putting in an IV cath makes it way easier and less painful to put the euthynol in, less messy, less scary, less stressful. We put a cath in in the back, bring the pet back to the family and the vet gives them however much time they need before coming back in and doing the euth). I'm totally non-judgey of whatever someone chooses to do. I stay through every second of McLovin's euth last April and patted his stupid cat head. I was there for all of Casey's, but I could barely look at him, let alone touch him. Grief does weird things to us, every time.
They left, me and the tech stayed with the cat while the vet put the needle. It was good, tbh, that they left. The cat needed way more of the drug than we thought it would, had to IC after initial sedation. It was pretty bad to watch (but he didn't feel it, don't worry). I cried a little because it made me think of my stupid Maine Coons who decided both to die last year.
I'm covered in cat fur and dried tears now, it's 30 minutes after we close and we've been slammed all day, so I'm sweating like a cow. I've stripped off my scrub top, so I'm in my ratty old kennel tank and am washing blood from a very-enthusiastically-in-heat dog off the walls in the big exam room when someone starts rattling the front door. I am pissed, and exhausted (after being there 30 minutes late on top of my 13 hour shift already and it's been a goddamn long day).
It's the cat's people. The lady and her daughter. They brought us cupcakes.
So. I cried a little over the cat. I fucking sobbed over the cupcakes. Grief does weird things to people.
This has been a lot of thoughts about dead pets. I have to vent them out periodically so I don't explode.
Also, never give your dog his/her medication mixed with chocolate milk, that just makes you a fucking idiot.