I have been in the veterinary field for 20+ years and have done my share of fostering as well as experienced pet loss of my own as well as along side clients and their beloved family members. As the hospital administrator for Veterinary Specialty Care I am more behind the scenes and don’t get the client/pet interaction I used to as a technician and receptionist. Two weeks ago I stopped by our North Charleston emergency location to visit with staff only to find 4 little kittens that were found. My 14 year old daughter was with me. She has grown up in my veterinary world, helping with open houses, Santa Paws and anything else that I was involved in. She of course saw the kittens and asked if we could foster them until they could go to forever homes. They were only 2 weeks old and a couple weren’t eating well off the bottle. One of the little white ones was so tiny – typical “runt” of the litter. I explained to her that we could but that it would be a lot of work and that there was a chance of losing a kitten along the way. She said she understood and said we had to try. So, try we did. For the past couple weeks we have been making formula, bottle feeding, tackling fleas, listening to hours of kitten cries as they search for mom but my daughter was enjoying every second. Last night, I was at a veterinary meeting when I received a frantic call from her. She was hysterical telling me that the runt was not moving much and seemed to be having a hard time breathing. I left the meeting immediately and rushed home to find my daughter waiting outside with the kitten in a towel. We quickly took him to see Dr. Klein at the ER. The kitten needed to be put to sleep to end his suffering. My daughter cried so hard and even Dr. Klein began to tear up. We talked to my daughter about doing the best she could and without us they would have had no chance. She seemed satisfied with that and was happy to rush home to the 3 kittens who were screaming for the bottle when we arrived. I guess the point to this story is that we truly understand pet loss. Everyone on our staff is so caring and compassionate. They sit with clients and cry. They hold sick pets while they are hospitalized or even just sit in a cage so they aren’t alone. We have teddy bears that we give to patients after their pet parents held them so they can have their scent on it. We try very hard to recognize that the things we see daily are new and often sad experiences for our clients and their families and we want to be there to help them through it. Seeing an emergency doctor cry over a stray kitten who didn’t even have an owner and a child who was heartbroken really and truly reminded me why we do what we do and to sit back and be thankful for the most amazing staff! Their care and compassion is truly appreciated by not only clients but by me.
Sometimes it’s just sad.