My apologies that this post is mostly emotional mumblings and musings of incomplete thought, but hopefully buried in there somewhere is some sort of thought provoking content.
Working in a Veterinary Practice, seeing new life, healing, experiencing death…it’s all made my awareness of the circle of life prominent and at the forefront of my mind.
Today, as euthanasia, emergency and chronic illness seemed to take up the majority of procedures, I am left feeling slightly empty (a feeling I know I will have to learn to cope with as I move towards this profession) but also entirely aware that no matter what happens, life goes on. Everything moves in a circle, every death is dealt with, mourned and then the healing process begins as we begin to move on with our lives as we inevitably must. It is sad, yet true.
We move on, but we do not forget. Death is the only thing certain in life, it’s how the circle ends, it’s how the loose ends are tied. Despite this, it is still such a difficult certainty which never seems to get easier.
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” – Lemony Snickett
Unsurprisingly, working within the Veterinary world makes you question your own views on Euthanasia for human medicine. As I watched a dog lie on the table today in unbearable pain and with incurable illness at a great age , and soothed her whilst she was put to sleep, it was of course sad, but a relief to be able to ease her suffering. She was not born into this world to be put through that pain, and she is now in a better place (chasing cats and eating lots I’m sure!). The kindest thing to do in that situation was to ease her suffering, but this is not the case with human life. With no answers and an indecision about my own belief, does this make sense? Does the suffering of an animal mean more than the suffering of a human?
My emotional attachment to many animals has been heightened when it know they have to go back to homes where they are not truly cared for, their needs are a last priority, and illness is brought on by neglect. I have been shocked and appalled at some of the awful things I have seen that will be etched on my brain throughout my life.
With all of this being said, my experience within the Veterinary Practice has definitely taught me one thing. Animals, no matter which, how small, how large, need our care. The lifespan of most animals is much shorter than our own, and in that snapshot of time, we must show them kindness, tenderness, love, care, loyalty, appreciation and patience, just as they show us. When I look at my dog, I see nothing but love: unconditional, unquestioning and unbreakable. The bond we share will last a lifetime, for mine and for hers. All I can do is love her how she deserves to be loved, and how she loves me. And that is what we all must do.
Unfortunately, we can’t fight the inevitable: We’re born; we live; we die. It’s the circle of life. What we can do however, is love unconditionally and be loved back, by all with four legs and all with two.