On Sharing, Being Awake, and Vegan Dog Food

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

When I interviewed for the Humane Education program, the director asked me how I would deal with coping with some of the information I would learn about.  How would I keep my spirits up when some of what I will read and see is the sort of thing that most people would turn their eyes away from, like the ASPCA commercial that has Sarah McLachlan’s song, “Angel” playing in the background?

To be honest, it’s been hard sometimes. Luckily, one of my coworkers went completely vegan at the beginning of the year so I have someone else to talk to about the whole factory farming thing and why we have both gone vegan. With her, I don’t have to hear “I’ll never be able to NOT eat meat,” or “Why don’t you eat dairy?  The cow has to give milk and it’s not like they’re killing her for the milk.” She “gets it” when I say that I don’t want to be part of causing any animal pain, and she doesn’t look at me like I’m nuts when I say that I’m considering feeding my dogs a vegan diet such as V-Dog.

It can be kind of depressing (or maybe disheartening is a better word) to see what is happening to so many animals every day and know you can’t stop all of it.  Add to that the quandaries you find yourself in, trying to figure out how to best spread the message about becoming vegan or vegetarian, or how our climate is changing every day, or why it’s better to adopt an animal or rescue one off of the streets instead of buying one from a breeder, thereby encouraging the use of puppy mills or the existence of backyard breeders.  Some days, you wish you could still be ignorant of a lot of the pain and suffering that animals go through for humans.  But deep down, you know it’s better to be awake and aware, than to not know what really goes on behind slaughterhouse walls.

So, you push through things and you watch or see images that hurt your heart.  But you do it because the animals need someone to be their witness.  Someone to be their mouthpiece.  I also tell myself that my brief suffering of watching the event is nothing compared to having actually gone through it.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I’ve found that I have needed to spend some time out in the sun and a lot of time holding Snuggles close to me, especially when watching documentary films like The Witness or Earthlings.  I’ve also found writing in my journal to be so helpful in guiding me through the crazy maze of my thoughts.  Posting on here has been cathartic too.

I try to not beat myself up for having eaten animals and related products in the past, or for having worn wool and used products that involved animal testing. That was when I didn’t know better.  All I can do is help the animals now, going forward, both by my own actions and lifestyle choices and by writing posts like this one from January.  (In case you want to see more animal issues awareness posts of mine, look here.  And for other posts about my love for animals, look here.  Of course, there is some overlap.)  In case you are wondering, yes, I still have plans to make lots of updates to this website and making changes to incorporate suggestions that some of you generously offered in response to my post of last December when I requested input from you, my readers!

Last night, I came across a job board called VeganJobs.com.  You have no idea how excited that made me!  These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been spinning circles, trying to figure out how to earn a living wage while still working in an animal-related job.  Unless you are the executive director of a shelter or sanctuary, the jobs are usually very low-paying and as I have my student loans, I can’t afford to take a job at any less than what I am now.  It’s hard enough at my current salary level.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

It was on VeganJobs.com that I came across the website, Bite Size Vegan and her corresponding YouTube channel.  She has so many educational videos on her channel, and many can be shown to kids or young adults. I want to help spread the word about the incredible work she is doing so I am sharing it here.  Please go give her some love!

My last few posts have been longer than normal, so I’ll stop this one here today.  Today, I’m feeling more upbeat and hopeful about things.  I may not be chosen for the jobs I’ve  applied for but now I know there are jobs out there that I would love to do and for which I feel qualified.  There is light out there at the end of the tunnel.

As always, thank you for reading.  Please share if you know someone who you think can benefit from reading it.  And as always, comment if you have any thoughts!

 

 

On making decisions: learning, writing and living

Image from pixabay.com

I have definitely been decision-impaired at times in my life.  Paralysis by analysis is one term with which I have been intimately familiar.  I’ve also been known to research and research and research, thinking that if I have that one last strand of information, I can make a decision and feel confident about it. But I know what that is — it’s another form of procrastination, in disguise.  Because the thing is, sometimes you just have to make decisions in life and then go with it, dealing with the results or consequences as they may fall.

On Learning:

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I think I may have mentioned it in an earlier post, is to cease school after this semester.  I have loved the classes I have taken so far feel like I’ve learned a lot, and met some people with whom I’ve really connected, but it is a matter of $$$.   (I hate that money can have such an effect on our lives but feel it is inescapable sometimes.)

On Writing:

The courses I’ve taken over the past two semesters have taught me the value of language.  I am so much more cognizant of the words and tone I use now.  Through the animal protection classes, I have again experienced such physiological effects as I read through some assignments, that I know in my heart, I am meant to do something in my life where animals are concerned.

I also know in my heart that I am meant to use my writing skills for good.  I was born with them for some reason, and have realized I can really move people sometimes by the words I choose and subsequent images I create in their mind.  I’ve recently pictured myself traveling around to animal sanctuaries around the country, talking to their founders or workers in an effort to spread the word about their good deeds.

Having worked at an animal sanctuary for even only six months, I know how how much work it involves, and how exhausting it can be.  There is precious time available at the end of the day to self-promote or market or attempt to raise funds in order to continue doing such beneficial work.

Consequently, I’ve been thinking of ways to help those sanctuaries in a way that can be sustainable for myself, i.e., help to ultimately create an income. One thing I’ve mentioned in the past is grant writing and recently, conversations with my sister-in-law, Geneva (writer extraordinaire behind It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast House) have reminded me of that as an option.  In a way, grant writing is one form of marketing the positive qualities of an organization.

As with anything, every choice involves compromises. 

Grant proposals require the power of persuasion, writing and research skills.  One thing law school teaches you is how to construct an argument and to see situations from multiple angles, how to acknowledge your weaknesses but in the best, most positive light.  Being a reference librarian requires kick-ass research skills and a thirst for knowledge and learning.  Humane education also teaches you these similar skills but also provides you with a base of knowledge that law school and library work don’t encompass.

I’ve also thought of creating a directory of sorts for animal sanctuaries in the country as part of my dream of visiting and talking with many of them. (I need to see if something of the type already exists, and if so, what hasn’t been covered by such a resource.)

One reason why these ideas appeal to me is because they would allow me to spend more time with my animals.  It pains me to leave them every day that I have to go to work for 7-8 hours at a time.  They are my world!

On Living Choices:

Any occupation involving animals usually doesn’t pay well.  I’ve known this and have changed many of my habits and routines to accommodate this.   Moving forward, if I were to support myself with my writing, I would need to keep my living costs as low as possible.

My friend Dan has had conversations with me ad nauseum about what it’s like to live out of a small abode and with cats.  (Bless him, he’s still my friend!)  Geneva has also had many of those conversations with me.  I’ve gone back and forth between loving the small travel trailers like Scamps and Casitas, versus motorhomes such as a small Class C or a Class B like his Pleasureway or even a van that has been converted into a tiny mobile home.  I’ve also been considering what it would be like to buy something like a shuttle bus (14 passenger or so) and convert that into a mobile home.

I’ve decided that if I eventually turn nomadic in my living situation, a travel trailer won’t work.  Cats are creatures of routine and habit and really don’t like change.  To have to put them in carriers every time I go somewhere is not a great life for them. And if I am going to be a solo female traveling, a mobile living vehicle makes the most sense, both in terms of money as well as safety and convenience.  If a situation or location doesn’t feel right to me, being able to jump quickly into the driver’s seat will be important.  Having a space for the animals to call their own and have a cat tree of sorts will be necessary.

If I end up in a stationary setting for whatever occupation I ultimately find myself in, it will involve living tiny and simply.  Of that much, I am sure.   Until then, I find myself saving as much money as I can.

So what does this all mean and involve?

It means I will need to, again, embrace my fears and push through them.  It means I need to really focus myself on continuing to build skills and have the confidence in myself to start promoting them.  It means talking to a lot of people in Florida at the upcoming APHE Conference and finding out if my ideas are viable options to pursue. It means I need to put myself out there and quite possibly, face a lot of rejection.

But I also might find out a lot about myself in those processes and meet some really great people doing some highly valuable and beneficial work.

The saying, “Life is a journey” can be very overused, but in my case, it is certainly true.

Question for you, the reader:

thank you to those who have made it this far in my post!  Here is my question to you:

Do you know of animal organizations or sanctuaries that might benefit from having someone like me reach out to them and see if partnering up on a grant proposal or other form of marketing might be beneficial? 

A few readily spring to mind for me already but I am always interested in learning of others.

Thanks, as always, for reading. And remember, it’s good to share if you think someone can benefit from reading this post and/or connecting with me.

On Death, Dying, and Saying Goodbye

I had a conversation with my sister today that has made me think about death and dying, and saying goodbye.  She told me she listens to this song below and it never fails to remind her of our grandmother.  So, I’d like to share this video with you, as it has really touched me to my core.  The song is Supermarket Flowers, by Ed Sheeran.

Remembering my Grandma and Grandma Helen

My best friend back in Boston is basically a younger sister to me.  Her family treated me as one of them, and they were the hardest thing for me to leave behind in Boston.  Her grandmother died last week.  She was 98.  When I heard that she was expected to only live for about a week, it brought me back to the last week of my grandmother’s life.  Both of them, I think, made up their minds when they were ready to go.  For my grandmother, it was that she had a DNR, and didn’t want to be kept alive on a feeding tube after her major heart attack and stroke.

For Sarita’s grandmother, she refused to take antibiotics again.  Sarita told me that lately she had gone from being sick, taking antibiotics and getting better, to needing them again, and it was just a cycle over and over.  Sarita thinks she had had enough and was ready to go be with her grandpa.  I am very grateful that when Grandma Helen died, it was peaceful and in her sleep.  That was best for her and her family.  Sarita had lived with her for the past six years.  I envy her for that time she was able to spend with her, even if at times, she did drive her crazy.  The people we love have a tendency to do that, don’t they?  I think I used to surprise Grandma Helen when I would go to hug her before I would leave, but it just felt natural to do it.  So,  I did.

I know my grandma was ready at the end.  I also firmly believe I was not the only presence in the room with her during those last 24 hours.  My sister was also there for a good portion of the time, and had my (now 17) nephew with her.   My grandma slept a lot for those last few days, but I do remember this moment when my sister put Sean onto my grandmother’s lap.  He was just shy of his first birthday at the time.

Sean reached out and touched my grandma’s hand, and she reacted back to him. It’s hard to put into words how I felt, seeing that.  It was like something other worldly took place in that exchange.  She had been asleep before that.  But I remember the look of peace on both of their faces.  My nephew, of course, doesn’t remember it, but I do.  And I always will.  I know how proud my grandma was of him.  He was her first great-grandchild.  I’m so sad that she was never able to meet Jack and Katie, but something tells me that she knows of them now.   I know her heart would burst with pride if she could see how all of them are turning out.

There were moments during those last twenty-four hours when I know she was looking over my head at someone or something.  Her eyes were quite focused, and she tried to speak.  I knew then and now that she wasn’t talking to me.  And that was okay with me then and it is now.   I know at the very end, her eyes were focused on me.  I know she heard me when I told her that if she needed to go, she should just go.  I knew she would be at peace.  And I know she understood me, that I was saying she should go be with my grandpa and her family, especially her sister Helen who had died so many years before.  (There’s that name again.  Helen.)

My Dad

My dad is in the Boston area now.   He’s 81.  He’s never taken good care of his body, so he has some liver issues, Parkinson’s, skin cancer issues in the past, and dementia or Alzheimer’s.

I was primarily raised by my mom since I was eight.  My parents split.  I’m not angry at either of them.  It’s just I don’t really feel much toward my dad.  He’s not a bad person.  We just have never had much of a relationship.  I don’t blame him.  I don’t blame me.  It is what it is.

My older brother  Eric has been his primary caretaker for the past few years.  He handles his finances and everything. It also takes a toll on my sister-in-law, Judi.  Eric emailed all of us with an update on our dad, and it involves him being moved to a long-term care facility.  He said he’s lost a lot of weight, and that it has been decided to put him on comfort care.  Without him even having to say it, I know what this means.  It’s probably not long, although my dad being as stubborn as a mule, he might just surprise us all and live for a lot longer.  (Even when my parents were together, doctors were saying if he continued living, eating and smoking as he did, he wouldn’t live another ten years.  Well, I’m 45 now, so you do the math.  They were clearly wrong.)  My brother said he could understand if we didn’t come, but that if we wanted to, this might be a good time.

It’s weird but I don’t feel much when hearing all of this.  I’m not sad, or regretful or angry.  It just is what it is.  Unlike my siblings, I have never really yearned for a relationship with my dad.  I’ve never felt like I missed anything, other than when I hear my friends like Sarita talk about their dads.

My dad is not a bad person.  He wasn’t perfect then or now, but no one is.   I just know that if I will  head back to Boston at some point, it will be when he’s gone.  And I will go because of my siblings.  I know they will need the support.

Maybe a part of me is dead inside, but it’s how I feel.  I didn’t say goodbye to my dad, really, when I left Boston 2 1/2 years ago.  I figured with his mental acuity diminishing at that time, he might not even realize I was gone.  Possibly I tell myself this because it makes me feel less guilty for not having acted like a better daughter in that way.  But it’s also in the past and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

Do I fear I will regret not going home now to say goodbye?  I don’t think so.  Maybe I will get his number at the new facility and give him a call.  If I do, I know it will be awkward and strained.  Somewhat forced, like in a way, I am talking to a stranger, because even though we are related by blood, we don’t really know each other well, and never really have, when it comes down to it. Again, I’m not assigning blame.  Just saying it like it is.

Lily and Stinky

It is hard to explain the pit that I feel in my heart when an animal dies, either in a documentary, or in a story I’ve just read (such as the short story, “Meat,” by C.S. Malerich, in Among Animals, a compilation of short stories published by Ashland Creek Press.)  It brings tears to my eyes.  I have a tightness in my throat. It compels me to ask “WHY??”

This week, I was mentally drained on two occasions.  Stinky was a rottweiler whose owners couldn’t afford to really care for him the way he needed to be cared for.  He was four years old and completely blind, from what, we didn’t really know.  But he was euthanized.  Before his owners made that decision, he and I bonked heads/faces together and I bled a little.  That’s not what bothered me, not by a long shot.  What bothered me is that his owners didn’t stay with him for the procedure, and that because of his accident with me, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold him and  tell him what a good boy he was while the doctors gave him the life-ending injections. So, my boss volunteered to be with him. I was and am so grateful to her for that.

Lily was a gorgeous 11 year old border collie mix.  After having gone through a lot of testing, it was found that she had a large mass on her liver.  I’m not sure what the care for that would entailed, but her owner decided to have her euthanized.  He was very shaken up and couldn’t be with her at the end.  So, I told him I would, and I’m super grateful to my co-workers who allowed me the time away from the desk to do so.  I held her head in my right hand and with my left kept stroking her incredibly soft long fur and kissed her head on the head a lot and told her what a good girl she was.  I told her she might see a little white chihuahua soon and that her name was Osito, and that she could play with her and all of my other babies up at the Rainbow Bridge.  As with my grandmother, I saw the  light go out of her eyes at the end.

I know Lily had an idea what was happening when I took her back to the treatment area without her dad and removed her collar and leash for him.  Whereas before she seemed to be smiling with all the attention she was getting from the nurses as they shaved some fur in order to place the catheter, she seemed much more subdued.  She didn’t struggle when I held her and she seemed to just accept it.  I was very glad it was quick and peaceful.  And I was very glad that the doctor let me hold her in my arms.  Because no animal should ever have to die alone, without someone telling them that they are loved.  Ever.

Many people say they don’t know that they could do something like that.  I think you find out what you are capable of when the situation calls for it.  All I know is, I do it because I HAVE to.  It’s not part of my job description.  I just can’t stomach the idea of them dying without being loved at the same time.

I know this post has been much longer than most of mine are, so I thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end.  I needed to put this out there.  If you think it can help someone else, please do share it.  If you have any thoughts on any of this, please feel free to comment below.

Many thanks.

 

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Embarrassed to be a human sometimes

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image from pixabay.com

The above image is what most of us would like to think is how most cows live.  Unfortunately, it’s not.

I spent most of my afternoon watching different videos for my Animal Protection class, and one of them was the 2005 film, Earthlings, which you can watch for free by clicking here.  (I must warn you, the film has graphic images.  The first link goes to the Wikipedia description.)  If you watch it, I can guarantee you will be changed as a person.  I cannot believe what some humans are capable of doing to another living creature.  I really can’t.

Now, I know that telling people all the things that they are doing wrong will just result in their tuning you out. So I’m not going to do that.  But I will say that it caused me to rethink the cavalier way that I sometimes react when I really want a cookie and it might have been made with eggs.  “Oh, it’s vegan today!”  I sometimes say.  Crunch, crunch.

Well, no more.  The images from that movie are seared into my brain.

Chickens crammed into cages so tightly they can’t even move or stretch out their wings.  Dairy cows unable to move from their milking area all day long, pumped full with antibiotics and pesticides so that they will produce more milk, having had their babies ripped away from them on the very first day of their lives.  The slaughter scenes are what really did me in, as I knew they would.  (I’d already known what happens in those buildings but seeing it again is something else.)

Another thing.  In the past, I thought I could be in a relationship with someone even if they ate meat.  I don’t think that I could do that, going forward.  If I were dating someone, and they sat down across from me at the table and started to eat a raw steak, I think it would be nearly impossible to not imagine a cow being slaughtered and the immense pain it suffers from how it’s treated.  I would hear its cries as my partner munched away.  And I really don’t think I can do that again.

I choose to no longer be a speciest. 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, speciesm is defined as the following:

Definition of speciesism

1prejudice or discrimination based on speciesespecially discrimination against animals
2the assumption of human superiority on which speciesism is based
When I was eating meat and using dairy, I was being a speciest without even knowing it.  I was raised to think that eating meat (even veal) was just something everyone did.  Animals were put on this earth to make our lives easier.
I’m not condemning others who eat meat.  But I do think that more people should step out of their comfort zones, and open their eyes to the suffering that goes on every day with so many thousands of animals who are raised for purposes of our food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research.  I no longer accept the phrase “Yeah, I’m good.  I don’t want to know,” as being a valid excuse.  In this day and age, we have so much information at our fingertips.

It may sound like I might be going to too much of an extreme in saying I can’t be with someone who eats meat.  However, I realized today, watching that movie and holding Snuggles closely to me, my animals are all I need.  I don’t need a romantic relationship in my life to make me feel complete.  A few very good friends, located near or far, are enough for me.
A line in the film really stuck with me.
Humans are the one species on this earth that inflict pain just to inflict pain.  No other species does that.
Animals may inflict pain on one another but it’s for survival reasons.   The predator kills and eats his/her prey.
Humans have so many other choices for food and clothes.  We don’t need to kill an animal just so we can have the newest “cute” handbag or “sexy” boots or softest fur coat.  We have so many other options.  The only vitamin a vegan needs to take in order to supplement their diet is B12.  The rest can come from foods that don’t include dairy or meat.
I will add links to some of the other videos I watched to my animal rights page of this blog in the near future.
If you’d like to leave a comment below, please do so.  If someone else’s comment goes against what you believe in or think, please respond in an above-board way.  A healthy exchange of ideas is best.
As always, thank you for reading.

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One of those days

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Image from pixabay.com.  It came up in a search for images related to “resignation.” 🙂

Last night, I came home from work with two six-packs of beer in my hands.  My roommate took one look at them and my face and said “One of those days, huh?” (For the record, I only had two.  He drank three.)

I try to be positive on this blog, I really do.  But sometimes, you just have one of those crappy ass days where you think to yourself, “WHY am i doing this?” Also, “that’s it, I’m GOING to change my life and my work.”

It is not abnormal for my hospital to get phone calls with questions such as:

  • “Is this something I should bring my pet in for?   It was in dog fight and now it’s eye is sticking out from its socket.”
  • “My dog has been vomiting and has had diarrhea for the past seven days.  Do you think I should be worried or bring it in?”

These are the calls that make me want to bang my head against a wall or go outside and do a (not) silent scream in frustration. I want to say to these people, “Well, gee, if you had your eyeball sticking out of its socket, would YOU want to seek medical attention?!  or If you had it coming out of both ends for a week, would YOU want to go to a doctor and get something for it??!!  Then why would you think it would be any different for your pet?!”

Usually with these calls, we then get the story of how they can’t afford to have their pet treated. We give out the phone numbers to the low-income clinics.  Or we get told that we are selfish money grubbers who only care about money, not if their pet lives or dies.  And sometimes they hang up on us.  One day, it happened to me three times.  Because, you know, it’s MY fault that they can’t afford to take care of their pet.

Nothing could be further from the truth and it pisses me off so much.  I want to say, “Trust me.  I make $12.50/hour so I’m certainly NOT making money off of your pet.”  But I can’t.  I have to try and be as nice as possible with them.

Public Service Announcement:  Please, please, please, people, if you can’t afford to take care of a  pet when it gets sick, DON’T adopt it.  Or find a way to save for its health needs. Or take out pet insurance.  Or hell, get a job at an animal clinic so you get a huge discount on their pet care.  Or call the low-income clinics and find out when or if they have special clinics for certain health needs like vaccination clinics or spay and neuter clinics.  I could go on and on.  The point is —  DO SOMETHING.

Don’t expect the person answering the phone at the animal hospital to be a miracle worker or the receptacle for all of your problems and frustrations.  Because WE are people too.  We really are.  We have feelings.  We are scraping to get by just as you are.  (In fact, many of us joke that we work there so that we can afford to take care of our pets or pay our vet bill.  Unfortunately, it’s also kind of true.)  And also, if you’re there with us in person, don’t treat us as if we are stupid because we are standing behind that desk.  I have advanced degrees.  I have CHOSEN to work with animals because I love them so much.

One thing my mom taught me, and I wish other people had learned as well – never assume that the person assisting you is beneath you or doesn’t deserve your respect.  You NEVER know who you are talking to.  And believe me, it’s true.  And you never  know if that person could be the one to help you out when you need it. I mean, truly need it. 

The point of all this is that yesterday was one of those days where I became even more resolved to change my life from its present circumstances.  Tonight, I will take a transcription test or a remote researcher test (another option for me to make extra cash) so I can start earning more side hustle income, and make one of my dreams more of a reality – being able to do freelance work to support myself.   I want to have multiple streams of income so that if my writing can’t support me or I just plain fail miserably at it, there are still options that I can rely upon.

Today is a new day.  I’m going to try to remind myself to not let my emotions get caught up in what is going on around me and which I cannot control.  Easier said than done, for sure.  I need to take a deep breath. Or three.  Or four.  Or ten, as the case may be. 

If you’ve ever felt this way about your job or your life, please share below or feel free to share this post with someone who has.  I’d love for us to be able to talk about it.

As always, thank you for reading, and thank you so much to those of you who have commented on or messaged me about my last couple of posts about being brutally honest or my talk about money, either here or on Facebook. They have really helped to keep me inspired.

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If you need to shop online, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my Amazon affiliate links or Ebates referral link! Every little bit helps, and it costs you nothing to do so. Thank you!

 

 

Low-Cost Animal Healthcare Options

If you find this post helpful, or know someone who it can help, please share it because as they say, “Sharing is caring!” 🙂

 

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Morgan, giving the puppy dog eyes as only she can do!

 

As a veterinary receptionist, I get so many calls every day from people who tell me about a pet that needs help, or that needs to be spayed or neutered, and when they hear what my hospital charges, they say “Well, I can’t afford that.”

The other day I was volunteering at a food pantry, giving out pet food as we do every third Friday of the month, and some ladies told me that they were trying to feed 15 cats that were just dumped on them.  The daughter seemed at her wit’s end, having called a few different organizations and not hearing back, or being told no over and over.  And I was at a loss not knowing of some low-cost spay and neuter clinics, but I did give her the names of some foster care programs if she could trap the cats.  Being a former librarian, that just didn’t sit right with me!!

I went to an outdoor festival on Saturday and met a volunteer with Animal Protection of New Mexico.  Their literature states that there are about 40 different spay/neuter programs in New Mexico alone, so I made a note to find that information and spread it on here.  Please note I’m not intending for these few paragraphs to be all inclusive of every single organization that helps out with low income spay and neuter clinics — that’s impossible to do for the entire globe.

For those of you reading this in New Mexico, click here for a list of spay and neuter programs listed by county, in alphabetical order.  Also, check out the SpayNM spay and neuter program website for another listing of spay and neuter clinics.  SpayNM also provides information on TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs to help deal with feral cat colonies, and PACA (People’s Anti-Cruelty Association) is also helpful in the area of TNR.  And in case those don’t have enough information for you, then check out Love That Cat’s listing by state of spay and neuter programs (note that some only work with pet animals and some only work with feral cats).

Not in New Mexico?  That’s fine.  Here is the link to the ASPCA’s website that has a listing of clinics and programs which you can search for within 50 miles of your zip code.  Not in the US?  That’s ok – go to this listing compiled by the HSUS that includes TNR programs in Canada too!!

If you are reading this from outside of the US or Canada and know of similar type programs in your country, would you kindly drop a comment below so I can share that information on your behalf?  I’m thinking of creating some pages on this blog with helpful resources like this.  It could be a lot of work but the librarian in me will be happy to be kept busy and have her brain engaged. Do you think something like this would be helpful? Please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

And enjoy this video below of my two nut job dogs (Morgan and Snuggles) playing!

 

 

 

 

Comforting animals at the end: a plea for them

 

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Capturing Snuggles mid-shake, enjoying his walk in the cool mountain air

I would like to ask a favor of you, the reader.  As you read through this, if you feel like it’s touched you in some way, or you think that there is someone out there who can benefit from reading it, I would ask you to share it with them.  Thank you.

I came home from work yesterday and said to my roommate, “I need to go somewhere with Snuggles and feel the sun on my face.”  You see, right before I left work, some folks brought in their 14 year old dog to have her euthanized.  She was a total sweetheart, and I could tell that they loved her.  But when it came time to be with her at the end, they decided they couldn’t be there through the procedure with the doctor.

I brought treats into the visiting room for her, and she eagerly gobbled them up.  (Chicken and yogurt, in case you’re wondering.) When her parents left the room, she tried to scramble after them.  She thought she was leaving too.  But her arthritic legs wouldn’t let her move fast enough. It broke my heart.

I took her into the back to our treatment area, and offered her treats again.  She had no interest in them whatsoever.  She kept staring at the door toward where she had last seen her family.  Why weren’t they with her?  I could see the confusion in her eyes, and knew she was afraid.  I petted her all over her back and hair was just shedding off of her nonstop.  A coworker got her some water in case she was thirsty.  But no, her panting was stress panting.  I kept hugging her and kissing her head on the head.  It’s all I could do.

One of the nurses said it used to bother her when owners wouldn’t be there during the euthanasia procedure with their pets, but she’s gotten used to it.  Me, I NEVER want to get used to that.

I wished I could offer to take over her care and let her live just one day longer.  But I couldn’t, and maybe it was truly her time to cross over.

 

snuggles profile.jpgA few times, when we have not been busy out front at the desk, I’ve asked my coworkers to cover for me so that I can comfort an animal at the end.  I tried to do this for this pup, whispering to her, “it’s okay, it’s okay, shhh, shhh,” but the doctor was having problems with her veins, and finally the pup lost her patience and nipped at her.  So I had to leave as she was muzzled.  If she bit me, my doctor would get into trouble for it.  I’m a receptionist who loves animals, not a veterinary technician.

Imagine at the end of your life, you’re scared, you don’t know who any of these people are with you, but you see a white coat and it scares the crap out of you.  So you lash out and for that, you get a muzzle put on you.

I understand why they had to muzzle her.  I do.  The human part of me does, anyway.  But that inner child that has always felt like I sometimes understand animals better than I do humans — that part grieved for her.   I wanted to be with her, to tell her that she was loved, that she was going to be okay, and wouldn’t feel any more pain as she slowly fell into a very deep, never-ending sleep.

The vet that performed the procedure is amazing when it comes to her love of animals, and that is why she is my vet.  She’s been a vet for many, many years, and I’m sure it doesn’t get any easier.  I’m sure that’s part of why she tries so hard to heal them and keep them alive.

Here is my plea to animal parents out there.  I know it’s hard to say goodbye to your pet.  I know, believe me.  I’ve comforted so many of you in our visiting room as you make that difficult decision.  And each time, it touches another part of my heart.   To many of you, I know they are a member of your family.  Please think of how it would feel to you at the end of your life, to not have one familiar face around you.  You’re not sure why you’re being stuck with needles, and you’re confused.  No one can explain it to you in a language you understand.  Please rethink not being with them at the end.  Your pet has given so much love to you during their (comparatively) short stay here on this earth.  Think of this as your last gift that you can give to them, to be with them at the end.

And if you still cannot bring yourself to do it, then just know that there is at least one person who will love them and hug them and comfort them at the very end.  That person is me and the countless other “me’s” that just wear other faces. We will do the best we can for your baby, but just know it’s not the same as feeling the comforting hands and kisses and words from you, their parent.

Please know, I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty or sound like I am lecturing.  I am simply trying to give a voice to those who can’t speak in our language, but who definitely feel many of the same emotions as we do.

Please enjoy the pictures of my little Snuggles enjoying his “mommy and me” time as well as the beautiful flowers I saw the other day at the ABQ BioPark.   Take time out to savor the little things in life.

Thank you, as always, for reading.  And if you think there is someone out there who should read this, please do share it with them.  Thank you.

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