Tag Archives: spay

My First Time

20 Apr

Euthanasia.

A four syllable word that brings a lot of discomfort, both in the hearts and the minds of those speaking and hearing it.

It isn’t something that anyone enjoys doing. If animal lovers had their way, it wouldn’t exist…and thats a fact that is true across the board. Sometimes, as you will hear most people put it, its a necessary evil. This is especially true in animals who are suffering. If you’ve ever been in extreme pain, you know that it can be so bad that you wish you could just cease to exist. We all wish this was the only time it had to be done…in extreme cases. Sometimes, its not. There are so many animals in this world that there is no possible way for us to find homes for all of them. Some of them can’t even be in the same room as someone. I don’t know if that is something I could’ve fathomed as an absolute until I worked with some of the animals I have.

Sometimes, animals just have to be euthanized. I don’t like it, but how can you adopt out an animal knowing that it could potentially kill a child? Or another pet? Or you? How can you say its okay to let an animal keep suffering?

On April 15, 2012, I euthanized my first animal. It was a 16 year old brown tiger cat whose health was failing, and it was requested to be put down by its [loving] owner.

This wasn’t my first time in the euthanasia room by far. I’d assisted many times before, and I had even completed injecting the drug on animals that had already had most of it injected already (to help me become competent in intravenous injection).

This time it was different. This time it was all me.

The problem with older cats is that it is much harder to find veins, and it is much easier to blow them. As with all the animals that come into that room, I gave her attention. I picked her up, scratched her head, and thus began the purring. The purring is usually the hardest part.

Very awkwardly, I put my thumb against the vein to help stop it from moving. I, slowly, put the needle under the skin. I missed. Tried again, and got it. Then…the vein blew. I couldn’t use that leg again, so I tried the other one. It was much less awkward on this leg, and I got the vein on the first try.

And it was done.

It was rather…uneventful? I didn’t really feel…anything. Maybe it was because I had already been numbed by previous events of the day (the terror involved with trying to break up a dog fight), or maybe it was that I’ve accepted that euthanasia is a fact of life in the shelter. Maybe it was even because I didn’t know the animal personally, because I’ve had animals I was close to put down for various reasons and it sucks; I have to choke back tears every time, while I continue to toil away at my duties.

As I walk down the path toward being a veterinarian, I’ve had to do many things that I haven’t wanted to do, and I’m sure I’ll have to do many more. Its a combination of these things that makes me not only a well-rounded veterinarian, but a well-rounded human being as well. I can understand deeper things than just existence.

Once again, be a responsible pet owner. Socialize your animals, train your animals, and most of all get them spayed and neutered. Maybe someday, if people become more responsible, we can get to a point in which euthanasia becomes uncommon in the shelter.

The Truth About Kill vs. No Kill Animal Shelters

17 Apr

Ever been to an animal shelter? One of the first questions folks usually ask is if its a “kill” or a “no kill” shelter.

I currently work in a shelter, and I’ve come to dislike these terms – they are inaccurate. Better, more accurate terms to use are “open admission” and “limited admission” shelter. The reason for this is because “no kill” shelters do euthanize animals in certain situations, and because “kill” doesn’t accurately describe the mission of open admission shelters.

At an open admission shelter, all animals are accepted, regardless of the state they are in and the capacity of the shelter. At limited admission shelters, only a specified number of animals are taken in, and often these animals are confined to a specific age, species, and/or breed – these shelters will often turn away animals, who will then end up in open admission shelters anyway. That’s the first thing you need to know.

The second thing, is that no one wants to euthanize animals. Open admission shelters will work with other shelters and rescues to move animals that have behavioral or other issues, and to reduce the number of animals euthanized (we are all trying to save the animals – we love them, remember?). Limited admission shelters often work with these open admission shelters to provide these homes and to work with these animals to make them adoptable. In a case that an open admission shelter can’t place an animal, or the animal can’t be adopted (health or behavior issues), sometimes euthanasia is the only option. Its also the last option; remember, no one wants to do this.  If an animal is too sick, its quality of life is severely diminished. If an animal is aggressive, how can a shelter say that it is adoptable? If it gets out one day and kills a child, who is to blame?

That being said, limited admission shelters will also resort to euthanasia in extreme cases.

Neither shelter type is necessarily better than the other, because they both work together in order to help find homes for animals and to help correct the animal overpopulation crisis. That is why it is so important to spay and neuter pets. If the number of animals decreases, the number of places they can live increases, and the number of euthanasias decreases. It makes perfect sense.

So please, try to change your frame of mind to encompass open admission and limited admission shelters instead of “kill” and “no kill”. Spay and neuter your pets. And understand the important role each type of shelter plays, because we are all in this together.