Holidays in the Veterinary ER
Animal emergency clinics are tough places to work. There is a fair amount of suffering and dying that goes on in them. To be sure, the work can be very rewarding–a veterinarian can make a big positive difference in a short period of time at an emergency clinic.
Unfortunately, many times the animal arrives in extremis. The owners have brought in their pet either because it looks like it’s about to die, or they already know that it’s time for their friend to be eased out of this existence and into whatever comes next.
Alas, the worst time of the year in e-clinics seems to be Christmas. Inevitably, it seems, either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or Boxing Day, some family brings in a pathetic case that should have been euthanized at Thanksgiving if not at Halloween. However, they wanted to keep it alive, just until Christmas. One colleague recalls his worst Christmas, euthanizing 10 in a single day.
We understand the motivation. Maybe the kids are coming home and want to see their childhood pet just one last time. Maybe the family wants just one last picture under the tree, or maybe the idea of the holiday without the pet is too painful in a season where one is supposed to be happy, especially for those people who consider their pet their best friend.
What happens when trying to hold out for Christmas is that instead of the Happy Last Christmas for Fluffy we get the creation of a new annual holiday: The Day We Had To Put Fluffy To Sleep.
Isn’t Christmas stressful enough already? I hear that it is, but if not, you can always save that euthanasia for near-darkest day of the year, while the Yule logs burn and the wassail flows.
The above picture is from a photoessay on at-home euthanasia. You can find it here at Zimbio.com.