Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital (South Africa) is a Disgrace

Here's a shining example of how mindless anthropomorphism negatively affects not only animals, but victimizes people too. In 2018, a cat owner named Jessi Dietrich tweeted a response from her vet after she asked him what the hardest of his job was. He replied "when he has to put an animal down, 90 percent of owners don’t actually want to be in the room when he injects them. So the animal’s last moments are usually them frantically looking around for their owners."

After the tweet went viral,  South Africa-based Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital & 24hr Emergency Service shared a comment with the description "This was written by a vet and is so true". The vet in question, who has labelled many dog owners as cowards, ironically will not reveal their name, but might quite possibly work at Hillcrest as they are the source of this pathetic tantrum:

Furthermore, within the comment section, a representative of their Facebook page stated:

"Unfortunately the vets do not have a say. This is probably why it is so heartbreaking. The owner of the pet has all the legal rights and say as to what happens."
The "vet" who wrote this, those who work at the practice who endorse it, and anyone else who agrees with this are disgraceful for several reasons.

First, while people who become vets presumably do so because they are passionate about working with animals, veterinarian-hopefuls quickly learn that interacting with humans and providing them comfort in difficult times is also part of their profession. However, this South African vet has very much utterly done the opposite. This vet has thrown salt in the wounds of grieving pet owners who cannot emotionally handle watching their pet die, and even worse, owners who didn't even have a choice.

While the goal of this "vet" was to shame owners who would rather not stay for the emotionally devastating process, they have inadvertently sentenced those of us whose animals died on the table before and during medical procedures who wish we could have been there to suffer even further, taking into consideration their horrific description of our pets searching for us in fear and misery.

As we weren't even there, we often picture the worse and imagine that our dogs knew what was coming and felt abandoned by us. Even myself, someone who knows better, cannot escape these self-criticisms, and as a result, ridiculously, I often feel regret and shame for attempting to save my dog's life for an additional $7,000 after complications from her $10,000+ cancer treatment. The vet wasn't talking about me, but the result was the same. My dog passed without me and I wasn't there with her because I tried to save her instead of put her down.

That being said, who the hell is this vet to viciously judge and hurt owners who can't stay? I can't imagine a more despicable act of emotional treachery than a so-called professional actually writing, in all CAPS like a baby, "THEY SEARCH FOR YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE THEM BEHIND!", but that's not all, to actually call their clients cowards makes me pray that it was a lie that a vet wrote this. Perhaps it was their naive 13 year old daughter. Regardless, the clinic has publicly endorsed it and that is unacceptable.

While the animals in question are at peace and no longer suffering, this so-called vet has decided to create extra misery for the owners who have to live with their perception of their pet's last moments. Even more gross is that the person who runs their Facebook page has the audacity to express discontent that the owner has the final say on how they carry out this torturous process and that they can't force the owner to do things their way. HOW HORRIBLE that the owner gets to choose!

But is this awful vet's thoughts even valid? I have little doubt that dogs who are physically able search for their owners when the owner leaves the room. I can guarantee that dogs who are attached to their owners search for them when they are left behind for any other non-medical procedure too. Dogs probably search for their owners when they are left behind for grooming, kenneling during your vacations, and even when you leave for work! Most dogs, being social animals, do not like being left alone in general.

I would like to ask this vet exactly what the heck is the difference between leaving my dog to get her teeth cleaned and being euthanized? My dog doesn't know when or if I'm coming back and both procedures involve inducing a lack of consciousness without the owner present. I recall while standing in the examination room at the vet, a dog wailing and crying in the back thinking it must have woken up from the most brutal and painful surgery. The vet told us he had woken up from getting his teeth cleaned (he was a little nauseous).

Dogs go through this 'trauma' on a regular basis.

More importantly, do you think you're doing your dog any favors when you bawl your eyes out in front of them? If they are already scared, I'm sure this reaffirmation from their normally calm and collected owners will solidify their terror. In fact, this is one way I know that me staying with my dog may have done more harm than good, as not crying hysterically is not an option for me. I would love to be able to comfort my pets confidently during euthanasia just as I would when they are nervous going in for a dental exam, but I just can't. Crying is involuntary. My presence would let my dog know something really horrible was going down.

The animal charity Blue Cross states in regards to euthanasia:

"This is entirely your choice. It may be a comfort to you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process, but try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch – if you are very upset then this may upset your dog."

Some owners may not want to amplify the distress in the room, so it is rather nervy for someone to think they should be making decisions for you and your pet when you know them best. 

I don't know why this shit from these bullying vets went viral. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Dogs are privileged in our society to receive such compassionate care and a quick and painless end to their suffering, however a "vet" can essentially accuse owners of being callous towards their pet anyway, and it will get shared and lauded by other dog snobs in our animal rights obsessed climate.

Rampant anthropomorphism and projection of a human's feelings that are often irrelevant to the animal often just leads to misery on both ends. Dying must be a pretty unpleasant process no matter what the owner does, so the key is to just get it done quickly and not dwell on the quality of the 'last few moments'. What really matters is the quality of your dog's life with you. Euthanasia should result in a dog's rapid escape from its hurting body, so people need to leave their owners who are still stranded here the hell alone.

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