I’m going to step up on my soap box for a minute and talk about something that bothers me, and probably anyone else who works in Veterinary medicine. I had a phone call yesterday from a guy who told me he found a kitten, but its leg was dislocated and it looked like it had been in a fight or hit by a car because it was scraped up. So I told him he needed to have it seen by someone as soon as possible, the kitten was probably in pain, and the longer its leg stayed out of joint the harder it would be to get it back in. He then started telling me about how he watched a you tube video that a vet had posted of him getting a cat’s leg back in its socket, and he started asking me about it! Like if we were going to do it that way, how we would do it, all kinds of things. I told him I was really uncomfortable because I felt like he was trying to get tips on doing it himself. I explained to him that that was inhumane, and also inhumane to let the kitten stay as is. I also told him the leg may have to be amputated, if it had been out of socket too long, or if there was any infection in it, as he said it was very swollen. Then of course the inevitable, “Well, I don’t have any money.” I told him he needed to relenquish the animal to a rescue group or animal shelter, and he asked me if after they fixed it, if he could have it back. You just told me you didn’t have money to take care of it, why would they let you have it back? I didn’t say that to him, but I wanted to. But the answer is no, their policy is that they will not give it back to you. And to be totally honest, it may be more humane to put the animal down rather than fix it, depending on how long it has been injured. I offered to let him come in and have a consult with our doctor, to at least asses the situation, I told him I wouldn’t charge him for a full exam, just a consult, and he didn’t want to do it. He kept asking me what to do for the cat, and I told him, I have given him every option I know of, and none of them were what he wanted to do, I couldn’t help him any further. When I hung up, I felt bad for the kitten, but I was pretty angry at the guy. Not because he didn’t have any money, I totally understand that that is an issue for anyone, but that he was letting this poor animal suffer because he didn’t want to give it up.
Listen, I am all for rescuing animals. Anyone in my family can vouch for me on that. Including my husband, who also will pick up any stray he sees. But we have the resources to care for a stray, injured or not. And not necessarily financially, but because I work for a vet. I also know what is in the realm of possiblity as far as saving an animal verses what cannot be saved. But if you are going to pick up an injured animal (or any animal for that matter) you need to be prepared to take on financial responsibility. Otherwise leave it, or take it to an animal shelter. We can’t save every single animal. That’s why there is over population of dogs and cats in our country. Not only because people don’t take the time to spay or neuter, but also because so many people want to save every animal they see.
I obviously work in veterinary medicine because I love animals, and I love helping them. I have wanted to work with animals for as long as I can remember. I love being able to see people with their new animals, and helping them with their older pets to keep them healthy as long as possible. I have an older dog, she will be 16 in December. She has just started having seizures, and the reasoning side of me says she is old, it isn’t fair to let her go through violent seizures just because I’m not ready to let her go, but at the same time, I’m not ready to let her go! The more likely problem is that it is a lesion on her brain rather than epilepsy, so unfortunately, we need to make our decision sooner rather than later. But thats me, I see people who let their pets go way too long, where the pet is clearly miserable, just because they are not ready to be without them. It is more fair for us to be sad sooner, than to let your animal suffer for a long time. But that is only my opinion.
So know what you are getting into before you do so. Pets are a huge responsibility, and not to be taken lightly. An injury or illness is serious, and if you choose not to treat them for whatever reason, make sure the animal isn’t suffering. Think about what you would like someone to do for you if you were going through the exact same thing. We are their caretakers, and they love us unconditionally. They depend soley on us for everything; food, clean water, shelter, medical attention. As their doctors and nurses, we in veterinary medicine are their advocates. We aren’t just trying to sell you something. We genuinely care about the health of your animal. I saw this once and loved it. It goes for all pets. I think everyone should have to live by these.