I had a client yesterday that made a difficult process even more difficult.
Her dog was old. He had cancer. She brought him because he hadn't been able to urinate all morning. Sure enough, he has a stone blocking his urine outlet. Because he is old, surgery isn't an option. However, surgery is the only option to fix this problem. So, she was left with only one decision.
And, the following conversation ensued:
Client: "I really wanted to wait until my husband could be here. He won't be home until 7 or 7:30ish."
Me: "You can't wait that long. This is a very painful problem."
C: "OK. What is involved in euthanasia?"
M: "First I will give him a sedative so that he will be really relaxed. Then, I will put him to sleep. It is painless - only an injection in his vein. An overdose of anesthesia that will stop his heart."
C: "Well, how do you know it is painless? I mean, the animal can't tell you it doesn't hurt?"
M: "That's what I was taught in school. I'm not sure how they know that."
C: "Well, maybe it's not true? You shouldn't just take things without proof."
M: "I'm sure that studies have been done to prove this. Perhaps they have connected EEG's to some animals to detect brain activity, and when there is none, there is no pain perception, right?" (WHY AM I HAVING TO EXPLAIN THIS?)
C: "So, how do you know he's in pain right now? He doesn't act like it. See, he's just sitting on the table - "
M: "Do you know what it is like to be on a car ride and needing to go to the bathroom? And, FINALLY getting somewhere you can go, and then finding out that you can't go? That is what he feels like!"
C: "Oh, I understand that. But, he doesn't act like he is in pain."
M: "He is."
C: "I'm sorry I am asking so many questions. I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but I guess I wouldn't have made such a good one, huh?" (smiling)
Uh. You think?