Losing your pet to euthanasia, a decision you and your pet's doctor have to take together, is a painful experience. Your vet understands everything you're going through, too.
Choosing euthanasia after your pet has given you their entire life is no easy decision. While you want to spend the rest of your life, too, with your beloved furry friend, there's no way to do that without causing them immense pain and misery. Though you believe you and your family may be experiencing all the heartache, sadness, and pain in isolation, there's someone else right there with you: your pet's doctor, whom you and your pet have entrusted with every health and medical decision since you brought them home. In a poignant and heartbreaking post uploaded to social media platform Facebook, veterinarian Brenda Gough explained how euthanasia affects her just as much as it impacts the family.
She wrote: So, you bring me this puppy - she kisses my face, devours the cookies I offer, and our friendship starts. Several visits later, he starts to learn where all the cookie jars are in the clinic, and that lady in the white coat, well, she’s okay. Fast forward many visits later, now I am in love with your dog and your whole family because, well, you are just really really good people and I have not only watched that pup turn into a really sweet family member, but I got to watch the kids grow every year and be a very small part of your journey... And here we are, fifteen or so odd years later, having to say goodbye. He’s got heart disease and I can’t fix it anymore. She’s got cancer and there is no cure. He has arthritis and the meds just aren’t working. I want her to live forever for you. I want that so [bad], it hurts. I feel like I have failed him and you when I have run out of options to keep them, and you, comfortable and happy.
She then described the pain she experiences every time she has to put a pet that she has come to know and love to sleep. Brenda continued: So now it’s time, and I am supposed to be professional. Objective. I am the doctor. Calm. Cool. Collected. Always under control. F*ck that. I have known you and her for a third of my life, and most of my professional career. But I keep it together. My superhuman amazing technicians have put the catheter in. My support staff from reception to assistants have done all the paperwork. Trust me they may not show it but their hearts are breaking for you. They have been there. They know. And they know you and care about you too... The doctor then went into every detail of the procedure, and how painful each part is.
I have the needle in the pocket of my white coat. The same pocket that was always full of treats for him. I take a deep yoga breath and come into the room. Gotta stay strong now," she affirmed. "She’s giving me that sweet look she always does, the one that is followed by puppy kisses and a glance at the cookie jar. But she is too weak now. She is ready. You are not. I am not. But this shit has to happen because we love her too much to let her suffer. She would keep going as long as we asked her too. But we can’t ask her to anymore. It’s not fair to her. I wish our human hearts could be so giving all the time. I wish I could be the person my dog thinks I am. I wish, I wish, I wish I could find a way for them to live forever. But I don’t have those magical powers. I am just a vet. This is perhaps the most tragic part of being a doctor. At a certain point, there's nothing more that can be done.
Brenda went on to write about the similarities between all the experiences she has had of euthanasia, how they all play out like an unhappy ending of a movie. She stated: We kiss him back, not much left of his body that still works, but that old tail wags, just enough that I lose my shit on the inside but I try not to cry. Gotta stay strong. Her body relaxes, she is in your arms, and you are sobbing. Another family has lost one of its most cherished members. I put my stethoscope to her heart to make sure it has stopped but she is held so tight to your chest that maybe that is your heart I hear pounding or maybe it’s mine and all the blood rushing through my ears as I try so so so hard not to turn into a blubbering mess... Confirmed, he has passed. You lay him gently on the table and we hug tightly as you go to leave. The door closes behind you and I don’t know if you hear this, but I sob hysterically into your pet's ear. She is gone, he will be missed, and you have to face what I know will be one of the hardest parts of today. Entering that house and they are not there to greet you.
Finally, the veterinarian concluded: Please know that I know how you feel. As you leave the clinic I just wish with every fiber of my being that you never had to face that. I wish they could live forever. And please know, I am so grateful that I was a small part of your journey. Love always, your vet. The post, as you probably expect, has touched millions of people's hearts across the world. Many have written in to note just how moving it was. While hundreds of families struggle with the loss of their pet, it is heartwarming to know that there are vets out there like Brenda who can provide comfort and compassion at such a sad time. I'm not crying, okay? You're crying. We're all crying, aren't we?