As someone who has been in the veterinary field for quite some time, you can become desensitized to euthanasia, especially in some of the particular jobs I’ve worked, such as animal shelters and with wildlife. What I’ve found has a commonality of both of those, is that these animals do not have the connection to a person compared to those with an owner. It never becomes easier to be a part of that decision, but it can make it less complicated when you know that it is truly the right decision.
In the past few days, I’ve been having an inner crisis because, for the first time in my adult life, I’ve come to a place where I have to make the decision for my own pet. I am the proud parent of a feisty Peach-Fronted Conure named Tequila. She is a beautiful, small lime green parrot with a cheerful brush of vibrant orange just above her nose. She is small, but she is one of the loudest creatures for her stature that I’ve ever seen and I love her so much. I adopted her from the Iowa Parrot Rescue, and she has been my companion and study buddy for the last year and a half. In the last few days, my companion has declined in health drastically. Yesterday, I was in the emergency room with her, mostly because I just wanted someone to talk to. I was told that I would be fully supported if euthanasia was what I wanted, but I couldn’t do it. I called my mom, talked with my partner, and went over it in my head all day. I felt that it wasn’t the right time because I wanted to at least give her a chance to be seen by the exotic specialist. If blood work could give me a better idea of what is going on, maybe we can fix it, but if not, maybe I won’t feel like I’ve just given up on her without trying.
The question is still looming around my head, even as I sit here today desperately trying to do something to help her. I so badly want someone to tell me what to do, but just like those who will someday come to see me, that, unfortunately, is not the way it works. As vet students and professionals, we are taught to diagnose illness and detect pain and suffering, and to let others know that it is in our oath to prevent and relieve animal suffering should we be asked. Yet, for me, it’s been a grueling judgment call and I hope that the choices that I am making are right, for me and for my companion.