There's a video making its way around Facebook titled "The Hardest Part of being A Vet", and it features one family's pet having to be euthanized. If this video doesn't break your heart, your cardiologist needs to do some exploratory surgery.

I reached out to Dr. Tal Guidry at Guidry Animal Hospital in Carencro and asked: is the hardest part of being a veterinarian having to euthanize pets? Tal's answer impressed and saddened me. Here is what he said:

Honestly, no. We consider it a privilege and a blessing to be able to end suffering in pets that have reached the end of their life span. (Wouldn't it be great if this was available to suffering humans?!?) It is definitely sad when we euthanize a patient that we've known and loved, but definitely not the hardest part of veterinary practice. And we will (and have) refused to euthanize pets for anything other than those reasons (for example, owner doesn't want to deal with the pet's medical condition anymore, owner is moving, etc etc). The hardest part is knowing that a pet has a treatable illness/injury but the owner is not interested in pursuing treatment, for either financial reasons or for lack of caring (I can get another dog cheaper than that.....).

His answer saddened me because 1) I can't imagine NOT doing everything possible to save my dog(s), and 2) for someone to request euthanasia because they are moving is just wrong. I was impressed because of Dr. Guidry's views euthanasia the same way I do: as a privilege.

Most of the people who know me remember Tucker, my Border Collie/Golden mix. When she was 15, she began to have seizures (due to tumors). They were mild and manageable at first, but then one morning (it was Mardi Gras Day), after an extended seizure, she lay motionless. I called Tal, and he told me to bring Tucker to his office.

Tal met me there, did an examination on Tucker, and then looked at me: we both knew it was time. My best friend showed up for support, and Tal left us alone with Tucker for a few minutes.

I still get choked up remembering that day, but I am also proud to know that I gave Tucker a great life. As a pet owner, I recognize my responsibility to give my pet the best, most humane treatment possible. After all of the years of selfless love Tucker gave me, it was time to make the most selfless decision of my life.

Dr. Guidry administered the injection while I held Tucker and rubbed her behind her right ear (that was her favorite). The last thing Tucker saw was my face. The last thing she heard was my voice. And, I hope, the last thing she felt was my love for her.

Still, I can't imagine what doctors and veterinarians go through when they have to tell a family that, medically, there is nothing more that can be done for a patient.

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