What are your expectations of your veterinarian’s feelings about pets?
As I was conversing with an acquaintance I was surprised at her reaction when we were discussing pet grief. Jan is facing the loss of her 19 year old kitty who is in kidney failure. Tina is down to five pounds of body weight. Jan doesn’t expect her to last more than a couple more months. She and I have discussed her possible adoption of a fostered stray Basset Hound named Daisy for the last few months. Jan expressed that she wasn’t sure she could go through the loss of another pet. We discussed the process of grieving, how difficult it is, how the steps are the same for deceased pets as for people, how much it hurts and how long it can last.
“I understand,” I shared. “When I lost my cat, Sally, in 1994, I cried for three years. Have you ever seen a little kid throw a tantrum? I would wake up at 3 AM crying and kicking my feet just like that, I wanted her back so bad.”
Jan looked at me as if I’d suddenly grown a third eye. “I want to take my animals to a veterinarian who can cry over a cat!” she exclaimed.
I was shocked at her reaction. “I know a lot of veterinarians, and I think any of them would cry if they lost their pet. We frequently cry over the loss of our patients, too. I don’t think I’m unusual, at all. At least I’d like to think that all veterinarians are equally caring.”
There is one overriding reason that people become veterinarians. We care about animals and the people who own them.
It’s that simple.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.