Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Of Early Days & Euthanasia

My first day of work at the vet clinic was on a Saturday in July. I had never been as happy and willing to be conscious before noon on a weekend than I was that first day. I put on the most comfortable pair of work clothes ever made and headed into work at my new job.

I haven't had a whole ton of jobs ever since my first one in high school. With the exception of The Worst Job Ever I'm So Not Kidding, I'd always hung around my jobs until I either moved away or had to leave due to the office kind of not being there anymore. But each time I did start a new job, I was always nervous pooping my pants the first day. This time I was still pooping my pants, but not because I was nervous, but because I was so goddamn excited.

I don't remember much of the first day because I pretty much blacked out from getting to hang out with ani-pals all day. I do remember that I adored each and every person that worked there; a near impossibility with most jobs, I think. I guess I considered them to by "my people". My fellow animal lovers. People who wouldn't look at me with fear and slowly back away when I mention that I may or may not have dressed up my cats in the past. No, these people would tell me where I could find sales on such clothing. With a straight face. And not be dialing the psych ward with their free hand.

I spent that first day ingesting all sorts of hair, wiping up all sorts of bodily functions, creating poo & sugar water cocktails, and sticking thermometers in places that you would only normally see on Cinemax at 3:00 in the morning. I don't think I have to tell you that it was freaking awesome.

Until around 12:00 noon, when a beautiful golden retriever named Moses* came in with his extremely distraught owner. I was completely oblivious to the fact that this dog was coming in to be euthanized after it became all too obvious that the cancer was winning.

I helped restrain this dog while the vet prepared his catheter with tears in her eyes. I kept fighting lump after lump that grew in my throat until I couldn't hold it in any longer, thought "fuck it", and let the first of many tears go ahead and fall. It completely wrecked me.

I watched Moses pass away. I watched as the dog's owner sobbed so hard I don't know how she held herself up. I watched her leave her best friend behind after she finally got the strength to go home without him. Then I watched as two of my fellow co-workers placed Moses' body into a large bag and put him in the back room.

Then I finished the rest of my first day at work and went home where I cried until I seriously think I ran out of tears. I'd never had a more emotionally confusing first day of work.

Afterwards, my husband watched me for a moment before he finally asked me if I was having second thoughts about going into this field. I didn't hesitate to say, "no way". And then I cried some more.

*Names changed because... well, you just never know. They're just changed.

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