After a long couple weeks where it felt like we had euthanized every patient I had grown close to over the summer, I’m ready to be done with euthanasias for good. However, it’s a part of our profession that is a “necessary evil.” In reality, it’s a blessing that we’re able to relieve an animal’s pain with a single injection.
To see an animal have a look in its eyes that almost says, “I’m done,” is a heartbreaking sight. Euthanasia is never a pleasant experience for anybody involved, but I like to believe it’s a relief for the animal that is sick or in pain. It’s always sad that we’re losing a pet, but I think the part I get emotional about is something different.
Having made the decision to euthanize our family dog this past fall, I know how hard it is on the owners to make that choice. To knowingly bring your dog for its last vet visit is crushing, knowing that you are the reason your pet is leaving this world. To me, this is what makes the tears well in my eyes while comforting a family through their pet’s journey “over the rainbow bridge.” It’s connecting with them on this emotional level that makes my heart ache every time I see that a euthanasia is scheduled.
In the words of my mentor, “You’re never going to get used to this.” Euthanasia will always be hard to deal with in practice. It’s never going to be easy to make the decision, and especially not easy to be the one performing the euthanasia. It will be the comfort of knowing that we relieved a pet’s suffering that helps us get through the day.