You Do WHAT for a Living?!

I frequently get asked how I ended up doing in home pet euthanasia. It's certainly not what I pictured using my veterinary degree for while I was in school or my early positions as an associate in general practice veterinary offices.

 Dr. Rathjens (left) with her childhood dog, Rudy, and younger sister. Yes, this is indeed a picture puzzle. Very 90s.

Dr. Rathjens (left) with her childhood dog, Rudy, and younger sister. Yes, this is indeed a picture puzzle. Very 90s.

One of my first experiences with veterinarian medicine was taking our family dog, Rudy, to be euthanized the winter of my freshman year of high school. He had been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure a few months prior and despite treatment, he was starting to become lethargic, missing more meals than not, and having trouble breathing normally; all signs that the end was near.

When we arrived at the clinic, I was adamant that I would stay with him throughout the procedure. I remember the veterinarian coming in, me sobbing, and Rudy passing away. I also remember that despite my heartbreak, I was absolutely certain that we were doing the right thing for Rudy and that letting him go was the most loving, respectful, and selfless course we could take in that situation.  

As a veterinarian now, I have continued to feel that euthanasia is a gift, a hard and painful gift for us to give, but a gift nonetheless. At each of my appointments, I feel tremendous sadness for the individual or family experiencing loss, but I also feel gratitude that they are putting their pet’s needs first and that they found the best way possible to do the euthanasia by choosing an in-home provider. (I've previously written about the benefits of in-home pet euthanasia)

I can not reverse terminal disease and I can not make dogs or cats live to be 50 years old, but I can honor their lives by allowing them a peaceful, private passing and by providing support to their families as they experience this difficult transition. This is why I do what I do. 

-Clare Rathjens, DVM

 

**Next week we’ll talk about the difficult topic of decision making around euthanasia**

Pet EuthanasiaClare Rathjens