Grieving is one of the hardest things to get out from under, and many times grieving can lead into depression. When people leave their animals to be euthanized at the vet, they don’t think about the burden they are handing over to the veterinarians.
Veterinarians feel the emotions too.
I didn’t think about it until I read a book last night, wherein they mentioned that many veterinarians commit suicide. As with anything human, the factors can be many, but certainly it is tied together with stress.
Many times we forget that the veterinarian is a feeling and loving person, one who wants to help animals and their owners. Some clients have become friends over time and are very old friends, the veterinarian having followed them from puppy to Senior. Several times the veterinarian also grieves when they help very sick and dying animals to cross the Rainbow Bridge. But as professionals, they cannot show their emotions; they have to stay strong for our sake. Otherwise, we would question them.
(How hypocritical is that? We want them to be caring in their treatment of our loved-ones, but would question them if they show emotion?).
Our grief or sometimes selfishness is so strong that we don’t see the human in the veterinarian clothing’s, behind those glasses and clinical behavior.
It’s a selfishness that even I sometimes possess, one who has worked together with veterinarians for twenty years.
I admire many veterinarians.
They have to comfort me because I am totally devastated to lose my friend. And many times we demand that they should know and be able to fix every problem with our animals.
But think of all these animals that we bring in, that are totally healthy and we ask the veterinarians to end their lives.
“Kill them!” The owner might say its better for the animals. (Normally, it is just more convenient for the owner.)
Is it better for the veterinarian to do that?
When people come in with a healthy animal to be euthanize, I wish they would be the one to look into the animals eyes while they put the needle in the dog’s vein, and at the same time say, “This is what is best for you!”
I never knew we had so many animal communicators on this planet that actually knew what was best for the animals! What I find kind of ironic is that these people actually know what’s best for their animal but never seem to in their own lives.
Veterinarians are there, working to save lives not to make a persons life easier when the animal is inconvenient in his or her life. Or having “rescued” an animal, kept him for two years, then kills him when it is time to move. Hello and goodbye!
When a healthy animal has been requested to be put to sleep, the vet team’s hearts break as well. Once, I was in a clinic when that happened, and the energies just changed dramatically to a big thick, sticky, grey fog. It was like I couldn’t breath in there. No one said anything, but you could feel it.
It has been known for a long time that for a pet owner, losing an animal can be more devastating than losing a human. We shouldn’t be surprised that it also affects those who treat and often euthanize our pets, too.
According to some research done in the UK;
- · Vets have high-stress jobs due to early competition for admission, compassion fatigue, long work hours, oversized client expectations and physician-level economic indebtedness with half an M.D.'s earning potential. The stress starts early and continues through their career.
- · Working solo as many do, means greater isolation.
- · Vets have to perform many “healthy” euthanasia’s every year without their capacity to save the animals.
- · Vets have access to drugs --- heavy and lethal drugs. They can use these drugs illicitly very easily, privately and quickly.
- · U.K.'s male veterinarians suicides between 1982 and 1996 all injected themselves with lethal doses of a common barbiturate; the drug vets most often have to euthanize their clients.
- · Six U.K. vets commit suicide every year, a significant number in a population of just 16,000 veterinarians in the country. We can surmise that many times more are clinically depressed, self-medicating and coping in silence and private.
- · Many veterinarians are pleasers. Feelings to making the owners and clients happy, of course that adds to their stress levels. Sometimes they cannot meet their clients demands, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-flagellation in a mixed emotional pot
- · Vets are very sensitive. Of course not all are, but they care in a more deep way than the average person does about those who cannot speak for themselves deserve to be treated.
- · Vets have planned long and hard for their careers. They have invested their identities in this profession and suffer disillusionment very acutely once the realization of our dissatisfaction hits them.
Why I brought this up is that when I learned about it I realized that even I am guilty of forgetting the person standing in front of me also are conflicted with emotions.
Are we polite and humble when we go to our vets and ask them to help us with our animals? I know for sure after learning about these facts I will think extra hard. The next time I will bring a box of chocolates or a card that my children have painted.
I want them to really understand that I do appreciate them and what they are doing for us: pet owners and rescue persons.
Mia Mattsson-Mercer (c) 2013