Have you ever cried as a vet? I have been at a clinic where I was asked, “As a vet, have you ever cried over a pet?” And I can honestly say that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Despite my professional pride, I never cried over a pet. My colleagues, on the other hand, cried a lot. I’m sure you have too.
Unlike other professions, veterinarians have the privilege of witnessing the bond between people and animals. But pet loss can transform a bond into a more personal one. While others may make judgmental remarks about how to cope with such a painful event, we vets are more likely to be empathetic and supportive. So how do we cope when our beloved pets die? We should first acknowledge our feelings.
It’s important to recognize that pet owners often practice denial. During my own time at a hospital, I had one such patient. She had a terminally ill dog, but refused to acknowledge the fact. After months, she finally gave up. This was a mistake. Denial robbed the pet owner of the time to prepare for the loss. This is why many veterinarians recommend staying with their patients throughout the euthanasia process.