Saying Goodbye

Working in the vet field you hear a lot of a certain thing. “I could never do this because of…the euthanasia.”

Except that the euthanasia isn’t the hardest part.

Last week my grandma died. She was 93. She’d been mostly immobile and suffering from dementia for a while. I got to hear lots of stories about how everyone was horrified because she cursed at people and kept stripping. I also heard the pastor at her funeral service talk about what a great thing it was that she held on for so long, also mentioning that she had been asking him why God was leaving her behind, in pain and deteriorating, for almost ten years.

Today was my first day back at work after taking time off to travel for the funeral. We had two euthanasias today, both old, very sick animals. It’s not easy. It is never easy. Even when it’s not your pet you’ve still been caring for the pet, either through boarding or hospitalization or just routine visits, sometimes for years. And we’ve all been there. It’s impossible to watch an owner stroke their pet for the last time and think about when you did the same.

But it’s not the hardest part.

We should all be so lucky to go in the arms of those we love, bellies full of rich food, on warm blankets, before the pain gets bad and our bodies refuse to stand. Euthanasia is precious give we give our pets.

It’s not easy.

Life is important, but it is not sacred. Quality is sacred. It’s not about how long we get, or how long others get with us. It’s about what that time means. I wish we could all focus a little more on making the lives of those around us better, instead of just demanding that it’s longer.