Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Tis Better To Have Loved And Lost,"

...Than to have never loved at all."

The famous quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson was penned over a century and a half ago. But the words still ring true. It is painfully difficult to lose a loved one and for some the pain cuts so deep they close themselves off from ever letting their heart be vulnerable again.

Caught in a fan motor. This one month old kitten lost her front leg.
We are trying like heck to save her back leg.
Is there shame in not spaying and neutering the colony that lives in this factory?
Who pays the price of neglect?

Without the strong emotionally driven bond that we have between ourselves and our pets we would not have veterinarians. (Well, at least the kind of veterinarians that I am).

This is Lucky, two months old, he was found in terrible shape,
but, the man who found him and JVC  rallied to save him.
(Obviously, I have gotten a little attached.).
He has a long healthy life in Georgia (recently adopted) ahead of hi
Is there shame in not seeing the value of a little fragile life?

This is what TLC and kitten determination looks like a few days later.

I read an interesting blog on emotions recently. It specifically focused on shame. How prevalent and pervasive it is in small animal medicine. It brought up some very interesting points that made me reflect on where I stand. (I love those kinds of blogs!).

Here is a small excerpt from the incredibly brilliant blog, Vet Changes World, on "Shame in Veterinary Medicine,"

"Our clients shame us, we shame them, we shame each other. I think we don’t even realize what we’re doing half the time and how much we’re hurting each other.

At the heart of defining someone as a “good vet” or a “bad vet”, a “good pet owner” or a “bad pet owner” is the idea and implication that some of just aren’t and can’t become enough.

I think a lot of what we call compassion fatigue is really shame fatigue. When we care for others around us, and still don’t feel “good enough”, it’s hard to have the energy to keep caring.

It’s a vicious cycle. We feel constantly judged by a colleagues and clients, so we judge them in return. There’s a part of many of us that feels “not good enough”, especially when we just can’t get our message across or when we lose a life despite our best efforts."

To read the entire blog please visit "Shame in Veterinary Medicine."

At the end of her blog were a series of questions that included; Have you ever felt shamed? Have you ever shamed someone? What would you do differently?

When all else seems questionable,
snuggle a pet who benefited by just you being you.
Two of the three parvo pups we helped to save last week.
Is there shame in abandonment?
What if that abandonment places the pet in a place where life-threatening disease is rampant?

Here was my reply;

Huh? Shame. I had to sit and think about this one for awhile,,,

Nope, I have no shame. Is that bad? Am I deficient in an emotion that would make me a whole human? Guess I should continue to ponder it...... I spend countless moments of every day navigating, tip-toeing and trying to avoid shame, guilt, and impropriety WHILE trying to aid a pet whose care, life, and well-being is in the hands of another person.

Do I think that some of my clients lack shame...Yep! But, they have to live with their own conscious,, and I don't think that me trying to shame them,, (gosh, I hope I don't do that), into anything works. I think shame breeds resentment and what would happen if those clients re-directed that resentment onto their pet?, Well, that defeats my whole purpose...

I am a work in progress. We all are. It is part of growing, to learn, to adapt, and to reflect on who you are and how your actions affect others. I accept the flaws, I analyze my actions and words, and I 

Judgments, Oh, how they plague me. If we could all stop judging each other we would stop arguing, and maybe get to that elusive place ere that peace and liberty thrive. 

Regret, Yep! got a few of those...

I prefer the direct, open, honest, dialogue that unfolds something like this, "Here's my thoughts on your pets condition... and, here's my recommendations to diagnosing and treating it." Sometimes it is that easy and sometimes I say that I cannot assist them in their treatment choice. It is never about avoiding a emotion, as I think all of companion animal medicine is centered on emotional attachment, it is about maintaining and strengthening the bond between a pet and a pet parent. Anything that violates this is beyond my scope of assistance and therefore warrants a change in my place in the relationship.

Shame, nope, no shame here. But I consciously, surreptitiously work at this.

But, I might be abnormal..I'm convinced I must be....

The pups head back to Black Dogs and Company Rescue.
Happy, barking, wagging, wiggle-babies almost ready for adoption!
Surround yourself with people who love and support you and be the beacon of hope.

So how about you?

Where does shame fall in your life? How does it motivate you? Or does it just perpetuate more negative thoughts?

And the rest?

Loving and losing? Can your heart grow bigger in spite of loss?

Judgments? Do they have a purposeful place in your life? Your pets life? The lives you influence?

And regrets. Just flush them..don't waste a single moment of your precious life on them. You to are a work in progress, where today is a new day and life is yours to share, embrace and enrich others.

Jekyll's advice on how to best deal with any sort of stress..

Related blogs;

Compassion Fatigue.


Taking A Stand And Facing Consequences.

If you have a pet question of any kind please visit me on Pawbly is a community of pet people, from the single pet parent to the boarded veterinary surgeon, all joining forces together in one place to help you take better care of your pet. It's a simple mission; to help you take better care of your pet. Pawbly is free for everyone and open to everyone who love pets. Oh! and stay tunes for our Pawbly app coming soon to the iTunes store.

You can also find me at the vet clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Harford County Maryland. We are open 7 days a week and offer exemplary pet care from acupuncture, to ultrasound, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, cold laser and even Reiki. Please call for an appointment at 410-692-6171, or visit us on our website, or on Facebook, Jarrettsville Vet.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice sharing pet pictures and random pet facts.

Thanks! XOXO! Krista


  1. I come from a place where there are many dogs in the street, due to owners having abandoning them because they don't have the means to take care of them and other because they might have just gotten lost. This makes me think about shaming those that abandoned those dogs, but then I think that maybe they didn't want to but out of necessity had to. So I like to think as the title of the blog suggest "Tis Better To Have Loved And Lost...Than to have never loved at all" that they at some point loved their pets. I just makes me think that people have options before releasing their dogs into the streets, such as shelters or advise for veterinary professionals. I'm currently taking an animal welfare class and it has allowed me to see different viewpoint on how people perceive and act on animal care. This allows me to appreciate your work and view on "strengthening the bond between a pet and a pet parent", which makes me believe (I would like to believe) this goes a long way in preventing incidences where people stop caring for their animals. This is without mentioning that you also address welfare by preventing disease and helping people find resources for financing pet health. Hopefully not only you see things this way but also those who are pet owners or care for animals can see the importance of creating bonds with their pets/animals and might help decrease issues with animal welfare. I've really enjoyed your post and thanks for sharing your stories.

    1. Hello,
      Many Thanks for reading and for providing your story and perspective. I suppose it is hard to know where we are going and why we are moving in that direction if we don't know why we feel we need to. Maybe knowing there is another option and a kinder way is what evolving is all about?
      My best to you,