Open Letter to Mourning Pet Owners

Subject: Open Letter to Mourning Pet Owners
From: From a Veterinary Technician
Date: 11 Aug 2020

The time has come to make one of the most difficult decisions of your life because making the right choice doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Today is the day that you come to the clinic laden with sadness and doubt. You’ve been putting off this appointment, praying for a clear sign that your best friend is ready to leave your side or hoping that there is something that the veterinarian can do to prolong their life so you can have more time with them. This doesn’t make you a bad pet owner, it’s something that everyone whose life has been touched by an animal wrestles with when that pet reaches their golden years. There is no judgement passed on you by any members of the staff, we respect your decision and truly understand what you are going through. We admire your strength and devotion to your pet.

Unfortunately, animals don’t live as long as humans do, but in the short time that they are with us, they make you a better person. Animals teach us about unconditional love, loyalty, adventure, compassion, and lightheartedness. We need animals as much as they need us. Most animals put their owner’s needs before their own because they would do anything to make their owner happy. The pets that are considered to be really sick never stop greeting their owners in the morning when they wake up even though they barely have enough energy to function. Do not wait for your pet to give up on life before you decide to help them pass on because they won’t. Animals are extremely aware of human emotions and they respond to feelings of guilt, sadness, worry, etc. They won’t stop until their body quits: their soul is infatigable and untouchable by disease or age. Even though their hair turns gray and their stride slows and shortens, their personality ages gracefully.

As a technician, I am one of the first and last people you see on this day. It is with a heavy heart that I greet you and walk you through the paperwork and discuss final arrangements. It is extremely hard for me to remain composed and professional during this process because I know that there is nothing I can say or do that will ease your pain. I have been in your shoes many times before with my own animals. And no, it never gets easier helping pets cross over no matter how old the animal is or my relationship with the patient and their family. I quietly mourn alongside each animal and their family as my doctor administers the drugs that bring your loved one to their final resting place. The only benefit of wearing a face mask and conducting the appointment outside in the middle of the summer is that I can blame the sun being in my eyes or claim it’s sweat to hide the tears that escape as I watch you say your final goodbyes and urge your pet to seek out other family members once they reach the rainbow bridge. It takes a lot of restraint to stop me from giving you a long hug until your tears dry. It doesn’t seem like it at the time, but they are in a place where they don’t feel pain and they’re not sick anymore. They regain their youth and they will be waiting for you when your time comes.

I pursued this career path because of my boundless passion for animals and the strong connection that I feel towards creatures with fur, hair, scales, and feathers. I aim to treat each patient that comes into my care as if they were my own and utilize my education and skills to their maximum potential to help maintain health or nurse a patient back to their full potential. Your pet is never alone when we get them ready in the treatment area. I do not leave their side from the minute they’re admitted to the time after they draw their last breath. I try to help them relax and provide companionship in a scary environment. Honestly, this is the hardest part of my job, but it does not break me down inside. It keeps me human. Every animal I help teaches me something and keeps my heart open and light.