Whenever we have to let go of our beloved pets, the pain is unbearable. In fact, the emotions overwhelm us so much, we forget about the rest of the world. And that’s only natural. But many times, there’s someone sharing the hurt. In the cases of euthanasia, for example, it’s the carrier of death. Recently, Brenda Gough from Burford, Ontario penned an emotional Facebook post, explaining how the vets feel when pushing the needle into our little buddies, taking them to the other side.
Brenda’s honesty is vivid in every word of the text, which has already received over 112K reactions and 123K shares. And while it can’t bring back our pets, knowing that there’s somebody who’s going through the crushing experience with you might just make it a little bit easier.
Brenda is a small animal veterinarian, mostly dealing with dogs and cats, and owns an equestrian facility. “I have been a veterinarian for 24 years, and I grew up in a vet clinic as my dad was a vet as well,”
Usually, she carries out one or two euthanasias every week. “I [also] have had the rare occasion where there are 3-4 in one day and that is really hard on me and my staff.” After these experiences, Brenda tries to make sure she gets some alone time – vacations, time with family (who are really supportive of what she does).
“The thoughts I’ve shared in my Facebook post have been on my mind for awhile, but that night they just came out – I sat down and wrote them in under five minutes – the words just flowed, real and raw and unplugged.”
“I honestly didn’t mean to cause so many people to ugly cry,” Brenda added. “It wasn’t my intent to have this go viral – it clearly struck a chord with people all over the world. I have had kind messages from New Zealand, Texas, British Columbia, to name just a few places far far away that it has reached. I am just a vet in Brantford, Ontario.”
She also pointed out that suicide rates are extremely high among veterinarians and veterinary caregivers. “It is my sincerest hopes that veterinarians everywhere will read the incredibly positive comments (there are over 25,000!) and know that they are loved, needed, and very much respected. If reading those comments will save even one life, then it is worth it.”
As difficult as this topic is, it has a brighter side. Every year, 6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters – 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Also, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized every year (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). And even though this number can seem shockingly high, it actually has been declining. For example, back in 2012, the total figure was 2.6 million while in 2009, it was 3.7 million. During the 1970s, the number of cats and dogs euthanized in the U.S. stood even higher – at over 20 million.
Since then, large-scale activism, industry professionalization and shifting cultural attitudes have helped limit euthanasia, The New York Times said. “Society is no longer willing to say, ‘Well, there are just too many animals and not enough homes,” Richard Avanzino, a longtime activist known as the father of the “no-kill” movement, stated.
“Rescuing an animal has become a badge of honor,” said Matt Bershadker, the president and chief executive of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “People proudly go to dog parks and walk around their neighborhoods talking about the animal that they rescued from a shelter.”