Last night I came home from the clinic. I walked in the door and put on a brave face for my roommates (I don’t know why). I kept it together until they left to go out for the evening, and then I went upstairs, curled up in a ball on my bed with my cat, and I cried.
Earlier that day, I had seen multiple animals for multiple reasons, who had ended up being euthanized. When I looked at the schedule for the day, there had been one scheduled euthanasia for an aged cat, but by the time I left we had performed four. There’s nothing you can do about it when it needs to happen, it needs to happen. That doesn’t make it any better at the moment. It doesn’t make it any easier to tell an owner that a dog has a very diffuse tumor in its chest. It doesn’t make it any easier to tell an owner that their very young dog has leukemia. It’s just awful, but you have to pull yourself together and go treat a dog with an anal gland abscess, or a kitten who needs vaccines. During the day, we don’t get to grieve. I know it’s not our loss, but we’re still part of a very sad moment, and it’s important that we in turn also have to grieve.
I know I’m still learning how I process euthanasia, and I’m definitely still learning how to deal with it as it’s happening. Sometimes I’m OK, sometimes I’m trying to choke back tears. I know that it will never be easy, and I’ll have to adapt my methods of coping because I think that my current crawling into bed to cry is not an efficient way of dealing with my emotions. Only time will tell.