"Chart Up!" The receptionist at the animal hospital yelled in the intercom to the back surgical department was. It was my turn to receive the surgical animal, check it in, triage the information and put a catheter to admission medication and I.V. fluids while the pet is under surgery.
It was a beautiful female husky with the perfect black markings and piercing blue eyes. The owner handed me the leash, I gave a quaint smile and nod and continued to the back. He was distraught, as most owners can be, knowing their pet is going under anesthesia.
With chart, leash and information in hand, we (Keasha the husky and I) walked in the back. Everyone was walking around and getting operations organized. I retrieved a few supplies I needed for the catheter and Keasha and I went into a quiet corner. I bent down, gave her a smooth talk and gently started. Now, a lot of spitz breeds will have nothing to do with having their feet touched, let alone let 1 person advanced a catheter. Keasha did. She sat there, ears back, tickled foot bouncing, but he let me.
Great! All done, now I just write her information on the board and get her in line for surgery. I looked in her chart to see what surgery it was and get paper work ready. I looked in the chart and E & D was written in red. Euthanasia and Destroy.
What! Wait...huh? I was totally confused. Pissed, but more confused. I looked around and asked the veterinarian (and owner) what was going on. He shortly answered "The dog keeps fence fighting with the neighbor dog and he's tired of it." I said "So why don't we educate the owner and neighbor to get them to stop and not do THIS?" "It's not our problem. Do what the form says and meet me in the operation room." he stated.
Not our problem...NOT OUR PROBLEM!! It is our problem, we are the ones responsible to educate, care for, save lives, have passion and compassion. I stopped, looked around. A few people were looking at me. I could hear my heart beat. Feel my cheeks fill of red, I was dizzy and nauseous.
NO! I am a professional dog training and behavior consultant and part time veterinarian technician. This is NOT what we do. This is not what I do. I put the chart on the table, looked down at Keasha. She was looking at me and slowly swaying her tail waiting for me to do something.
I took a pair of bandage scissors, cut the tape off and pulled the catheter out. I rewrapped fresh gauze and tape on her leg. Gave her a kiss on the forehead and put her in a cage. A doctor asked me what I was doing. I couldn't talk. If anything were to come out would have been unprofessional and emotional.
I walked up to Human Resource and quit that morning. I do not want to be in the business of destroying a pet out of inconvenience.
I went home that day crying. Grabbed my dog and sat down at the computer. With tears literally coming out I just googled, and googled how to start my own business, how to make web sites, how to make business cards. I called around to other dog trainers getting advice how to become better and more experienced and to learn different techniques. With $17 in my checking account, I worked diligently, honestly and effectively. That was 8 years ago. Ever since that day I haven't looked back. I never regretted what I did. It still brings a lump in my throat to tell Keash'a story. But I think that maybe sometimes we have to have a little hero like her to get a movement going like NW Dog Pros and to save, train, educate and have owners live with their dogs like hers couldn't.
Thank you, Keasha. You will be missed.