The week before last was especially difficult for my tech and me. We had 3 euthanasias in just one day . All the pets were under 8 years of age and still up and wagging their tails when we arrived for each appointment. All of the dogs also had cancer.
Both of us cried at the home where the dog was only 6 years old. The dog was so sweet and trusting- this is the terribly difficult part when I walk into a home where the pet is still fairly active and wagging its tail. He sadly had cancer (Lymphoma) and the owner had decided not to pursue chemotherapy. The dog also had a striking resemblance to my “baby” dog Marley. Same mix of Sheltie and Shepherd, same sweet brown trusting eyes, and sweet disposition.
Compassion fatigue is a real problem. We don’t usually do 3 euthanasias in one day, but sometimes that is what is on the schedule. I swear I have noticed a correlation between extreme heat and an increase in euthanasia requests. Seems odd as these are all pets that spent the vast majority of their time inside in houses with a/c. Because of all the sad cases of late my technician Yvonne and I took a mini-break to go to Port Aransas for the Fourth of July holiday. I felt we both needed a mini vacation from euthanasias just to recoup and regroup.
Yvonne and her husband fished and visited relatives in a small town about 45 minutes away. My friends and I laughed and giggled like teenagers as we played on the beach and in the waves. Frankly it was sooo relaxing for me just to be away from home for awhile. People and bird watching was enjoyable There were lots of gulls but I got the biggest kick watching the Brown Pelicans. FYI the Brown Pelican was once on the endangered species list but at this time appears safe from extinction.
The weather was lovely! High of 92 degrees every day with continuous ocean breezes. Just thinking about the heat in Austin (around 100 plus give or take a few degrees) gave me an appreciation of the wonderful weather we were experiencing. Since the weather was so nice, I was able to swim laps each day in the pool where we were staying.
Port A had an amazing fireworks show and I got some darn good photos. I can’t wait to find the time to down load those in my computer so I can email pics to my mother and my friends. I know they’ll be jealous- well maybe not. My mother is not crazy about the ocean. She says the Gulf of Mexico is dirty and there are too many dangers lurking beneath the water. She just likes sitting on the beach and listening to the sound of the waves.
The only unusual and slightly worrisome aspect of the trip was witnessing a man who came screaming out of the ocean not 100 feet from out little beach encampment the first day we arrived. The poor man had a large Portuguese Man O’ War attached to the back of his neck and tentacles wrapped around his face and chest. It was a horrifying to witness the man in extreme pain and distress. A young man of 18 or so ran up and pulled the jellyfish off but he too was stung severely.
Last Friday, we had three house calls that were nice and relaxing with lovely owners who cared deeply about their pet. Those calls were just what the doctor ordered, for I was feeling good about being a veterinarian again and knowing that I can make a difference, one pet at a time.
Post Dr. Lisa Daniel