Euthanasia is defined as “well death.” As a veterinarian (and I bet Amy would agree) some of the most common statements I hear are: “I just don’t know how you handle that” or “I could never be a vet for that reason.”
In the veterinary world, dog and cat owners often are forced to make the difficult decision to euthanize. My job as a veterinarian is to reduce the already extremely stressful event of euthanasia by providing a nurturing environment for the pet and their people. My goal is to provide a space where people can feel comfortable expressing their emotions in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere. I want their last moments with their pet to be as peaceful as possible. I also strive to create an environment where their pet feels safe, peaceful and relaxed during his or her final moments.
So, in a way, in order to emotionally “handle” doing the procedure of the euthanasia, I focus on helping the people and their pets during the process. My goal is always a “well death.” My job, as I see it, is to alleviate animal suffering and to help their people close this final chapter of the amazing human-animal bond. There are still some nights (and days) that I go home with tears flowing down my cheeks thinking of that special patient or client—and it is heartbreaking. I am pretty sure the day that it no longer bothers me or hurts, I’m going to hang up my stethoscope and do something different.