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Friday, March 28, 2014

Inspiring Story #6

This next story was submitted by our own Marcy Hatch. This is a true story that happened while she was working in a veterinary clinic.



                                                 Jack


"You would have had to..."

The doctor (veterinarian) was talking through her surgical mask and I couldn't quite hear her. But I knew what she was talking about. She was talking about innards, guts. And I knew the diagnoses: gastric torsion. The stomach twists. No one seems to know why, or at least, no one agrees. It happens to large dogs for the most part. And unless you act quickly they die.

Which is what had happened to the dog on the table. A standard poodle, black once, in his youth, faded now to grey in his old age.

I wondered what sort of dog he was. His condition upon arrival gave no indication of personality; he was nearly comatose. Was he the usual reserved and proud example of his breed? Was he a happy dog? A somber dog? Did he like to play fetch? Was he loved?

He was not one of our patients so we had no history, no connection to him or his people, not even a date of birth. He was being kenneled. His people had dropped him off as they had so often in the past, without incident. They would have to be told. The kennel people would do that. An unenviable task. Telling someone their dog has died while in your care.

I did not know this dog. He was a stranger to me. And I am not particularly fond of standard poodles. But I spoke kindly to him, held his cold paws in my hands while he was prepped for surgery, his shaved abdomen washed with blue soap and treated with betadyne. I hoped some of the warmth from my hands might seep into him. I do not think he heard my words.

I made a cage up for him with clean paper and a soft fleece to lay on, knowing his stomach would be tender. I left a towel to cover him with, wanting him to be warm. But of course, he never needed these things, dying midway through the surgery, alone in a strange place where none of the voices he heard were familiar. Was it better he died with us? With someone? Would he have had a better chance if his people had been here? Or had he already given up?

The girl who brought him in cried and I guessed she knew him well enough to have feelings for him. He was a frequent guest. I wondered, would his people cry for him as she did? Or would they simply accept his death stoically and tell themselves he was just a dog.

His name was Jack.

Written By: Marcy Hatch

6 comments:

Huntress said...

This brings back so many thoughts from years gone by. Decisions. "Did I do the right thing?"

Beloved dogs. Sweet-natured horses.

Did I do right telling the vet to end their life when I could see they were suffering and there was no other way? I'll always question these things.


Patricia Haggard said...

Losing a pet is so hard. He was loved, that I must believe.

Charity Bradford said...

How sad! It's got to be a hard job sometimes, even when like this case you didn't know the dog, but how much harder when it's a dog you've seen over and over.

My little Rosie had surgery on Monday and just perked back up yesterday. It makes me dread when she and Chewy get older and we have to start thinking about when they leave us. Pets really are like your own children! We just don't get to keep them as long.

tasha said...

Our pets are always close to our hearts. Our family just lost our dog last year and we still find that on any such day we ache for her! Thank you for sharing your experience with Jack and his passing!

- Real Imprints -

farawayeyes said...

Readi g through a weeks worth of inspiring stories and THUS one made me cry. Our pets are as portant yo us as 'their people' are to them. Thank goodness for the wonderful People who work with the vets and believe they are so much more than. 'just dogs'.

Kristin Smith said...

Wonderful story. So true, our pets are not just pets but part of the family. Thanks for sharing this story with us.