Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Skeletons You Can't Take With You

We all have baggage. Those little skeletons we try to keep hidden away under subconscious lock and key in the desperate hope that no one uncovers our secrets.

For every veterinarians proverbial medical bag there is an unseen dumpster full of regret, self-doubt, and lost cases. I suppose that at some point we either get so busy that we don't have time to sit and reflect on these, we decide we in fact have no idea of what we are doing, or we try to remind ourselves softly, kindly and gently that we are indeed human, we do not know everything, and that sometimes fate decides for you, in spite of you, and without consulting with you. Boy is that frustrating.

If you truly can forgive yourself and keep plodding through the day to day life of cases you learn to get better at recognizing the subtle clues a pet gives you. If you trip and march on long enough you can occasionally give fate the finger and save a pet from following in the footsteps of a case that got you screwed in check mate before. Boy is that liberating.

Stubbornly blind determination can be a good tool to help you get through those dark days. Your good clients will be grateful for it, and your bad cases might actually live to see another day. It is the flip side to ignorance is bliss, but the only way that you can walk away with a clear conscious should fate decide to throw you a fastball.

For all of my most painful cases this one trait has gotten me through the darkest of days.

Saying goodbye, losing a case, and the feeling that fate stole another soul from my clutches is a difficult task that never gets easier. But for every face whose eyes have stared back at mine begging for a release from the pain and suffering I always say the same thing, "I am sorry, I am trying, and I am on your side."

There is great humanity in humane euthanasia. There is great grief in not understanding how fate can keep you at the poker table, bluff you, break you, and keep trying to bankrupt you. And yet we stay at the table, deal another hand, and tell ourselves "maybe I can win this one?"

If you have a pet question, need, concern or a desire to help other pet people please visit us on Pawbly.com. We are a free open online community dedicated to helping pet people by exchanging information to better pets lives.

You can also find me at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in beautiful Harford County, MD, or on Twitter @FreePetAdvice

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