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