Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tough stuff....

So many people, in tears, say, "I could never do your job."  And mostly it's because I've just euthanized their beloved pet.

It sucks.

However...(there's always however)...

If you can't find joy in the sorrow, smile in the pain, love in the loss, humor in the small things...you're right.  You could never do my job. 

There is peace in the idea that, I can prayerfully ease the pain and suffering of something that cannot speak for itself, an animal who has no capability of allowing the "natural" process of death occur because there is that stronger than steel bond that ties themselves to a person who wills them to keep going - a person who will pay me hundreds of dollars to give them just a few more days.

There is magic in the thought that the tenuous life of a pet, regardless of how many weeks, days or years it graced the earth, can change the soul of a person forever.  Magic, I say. 

I've been there.  I've had beloved pets too.  I know exactly how it feels to make a decision to allow them to go, and maybe that's what makes my job a little less tough, besides the understanding I have of limitations of medicine.

I always say, "I know how hard this is.  No matter how much time we get to spend with them, it's never enough, and I know you love Fluffkins very much." 

And, depending on the what diagnosis we've arrived up on for Fluffkins, there's always the discussion of "Am I doing the right thing?"

When it's something like feline leukemia, like my patient last week, that discussion is a little bit easier, more concrete. 

When I asked the owner of the cat with leukemia what she planned to do with the body afterwards, noting that the ground was frozen and it would likely be difficult to dig a grave, she responded:

"Oh no, I'll be fine.  I always have two cat graves and one dog grave dug at all times.  We have a little family plot back behind the house."

See what I mean?  Humor in the small things.

Friday, February 10, 2012

So, I've been thinking...

Thinking is really dangerous for me on a day off.  Just like every other third Friday, have been mindlessly roaming around the house, doing an occasional chore in between reading chapters of a book that I've read a million times, listening to the windchimes outside, watching the dogs play in the front yard.  I have a strict rule against thinking on days off.  It allows the hours go by in a restful, lovely cadence.  My no-serious-thinking policy also allows me to rekindle a sense of wonder at the simple world I live in - just a few minutes ago, I discovered that Gidget had carried a stone the size of a baseball into the laundry room through the dog door and was playing hockey with it.  The industry of small creatures never ceases to amaze me.

I had her in mind as I sat back down on the couch, having drug (dragged?) the quilt from our bed into the living room and made myself a little nest.  Little Trippers the cat was purring on a pile of unfolded laundry beside me, watching the book resting on my belly randomly bounce up and down as Miss-Tompkins-To-Be enjoyed the effects of my once-every-other-day glass of sweet tea.  He reminded me of the shelter cat that has recently taken up residence in the office.  Shelter cat is the sweetest thing - I go in and talk to him at random moments during the day, whereupon he kneads with his little paws and purrs in response.  Every once in a while, I'll sit with him in the treatment area and he'll watch the goings-on perfectly content in my lap.  Thanks to me, he's grown accustomed to the sound of a can of cat food opening...it's no wonder people overfeed their pets with random junk - just the look a cat/dog/horse/emu/whatever gives you when you offer a treat makes you feel like you've hung the moon.

Anyway, while reading I wondered aloud to Trip - first, whether someday he would get over his loathing of other cats and let me bring another one home?  Then, whether my husband would get over his loathing of all cats and let me bring another one home?

Then, I had an amazing idea.  What if I brought the shelter cat home, made peace with Trip, and then just made ARay believe that no, it's not two cats living here, just one!  I mean, they're both orange and white tabby cats - who cares if one has long hair and one has short!  He'd never notice!!!

Then I rembered...

How would I explain that Trip grew back his fourth leg?

It's a conundrum, really.  I'm open to ideas.  Shelter cat is a neutered male that's front declawed, thus definitively ruling out the possibility of his being an outside cat, even if the dogs would allow such a thing.  I think my pregnancy hormones have created a love for him very akin to what I felt for Gidget when she first came here.

I need help.