Life of a vet tech: Part 1

Life and Death

I think it’s great that people I meet genuinely want to know more about my job when they find out I’m a vet tech. Sometimes there is a raised eyebrow, or a questioning look. Sometimes people don’t seem to have the slightest clue what a vet tech even is. Normally I start by saying that a vet tech is kind of like a nurse. When I mention nurse it seems to draw a good comparison in their head. At that point there is usually a “ohh”, followed by more questions than I can’t comprehend listing here. But the majority of questions start with something about puppies and kittens and how great it must be going to work every day. The conversation never seems to start with euthanasia, parvovirus, or osteosarcoma. The parts of the job that people may have experienced at some point with a pet, but they never seem to relate to my job as a vet tech. Which is quite unfortunate because I do really enjoy talking and educating people about some of these diseases they may not have ever heard of. But it seems like most people are more interested in the cuter side of the job. Unfortunately what they don’t realize is that the cute side of the job can be a relatively small part of the job. And don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy being a vet tech. I just think it takes a certain type of person to be able to become a vet tech.

I really do enjoy the puppies and kittens. It always makes me happy to see and hold that tiny little animal, especially during the first part of the day. A little muzzle, a pot-belly abdomen, and a wagging tail. Things that can really get you in a good mood for the rest of the day! Not to mention being able to witness the joy in the owners eyes as they hold the little bundle of joy. I really do live for moments like that. I also realize that I have to take the good with the bad and in veterinary medicine that usually means life and death.

Just for example. Over the last 2 weeks or so the clinic I work in has had to euthanize over 10 long-term patients. For me (and the rest of the staff) this is years and years of building a relationship with that pet and that client. Sometimes I would see the pets several times a week, more often if they were sick of course. These are clients that I call by their first names, I know their children’s names, I know what sports team they root for, where they are going on vacation. I know these clients, and when they lose a beloved pet I feel like I lose that pet with them, because I have. I can tell you that it is emotionally draining. I have cried many times at work and I know that there will be many more times in the future. The emotional nature of this job can be exhausting. But when I receive a warm embrace from the owner of a pet that has been euthanized, I know that I have helped to ease suffering no matter how much it seems to hurt at the time. And as sad as it is at the time, I know that eventually I will be there when that owner decides it is time to bring in a new pet. Once again I will get to see the joy in their eyes and the happiness that a new pet brings.. full circle seems to be the best way to put it.

To be continued…

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