I have a second very part-time job at an animal hospital, (yet they are family). I have worked there for almost 8 years. Seeing death over those 8 years has made me very numb. Is that a bad thing? I’m honestly not sure.
I lost a family member last night. A furry family member. He wasn’t attached to me, but he was still family. When your whole family isn’t equipped to dealing with the loss of an animal, who do they turn to? The one who has dealt with it for 8 years. The unstable one who is surprisingly stable during death. Strange right?
I pretty much have a sixth sense for death. I knew something didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know my step-dad was taking our family dog to the vet yesterday morning. However, when my mom told me he was going, I knew. Apparently, Jeffery, (our dog), knew too. I learned that yesterday was the first and only time he never wanted to step foot in the animal clinic. That place was literally like his second home like it was and still is mine. He loved everyone in there, but not yesterday.
We got news that his blood glucose was over 600 mg/dL and I knew that was it. It’s so hard to regulate a younger dog with diabetes, let alone an old dog with other issues. A quality of life discussion ensued and decisions were made.
I left work early yesterday and saw Jeffery laying in front of my stepdad totally defeated and tired. He looked at me as if I were his own Angel of Death because that’s exactly how I felt. We both looked each other in the eyes and I knew he was ready. We both had this mutual understanding that I knew would be hard for others who hadn’t seen it or worked with it for so long to understand.
I knew my family was hurting with this decision, but I was at peace and had to remain strong. It was the right thing and I made sure they knew that too.
When it was time to take him up to the clinic, I felt my vet assistant instincts/OCD kick in and I had to help and make sure everything was perfect. I had to make sure a blanket was on the floor and go back and help as they but the IV catheter in his arm. I stared in his eyes as they put the catheter in and let some tears out; some weakness. I had to be strong for the family, but not in the back. Jeffery and his angel of death could have a moment. He looked at me with his tired, droopy eyes and I looked at him with my teary eyes. Our mutual love and affection for all those years we spent together. We may not have been bonded, but in that moment he needed me to be there for his people.
I took him back in the room and we spent a little more time with him. I noticed at one point I walked around the room and Jeffery started to worry where I was going. As if he didn’t want his angel of death to leave him. I sat down next to him and assured him that I wouldn’t leave him throughout the whole process and I would be there until the very end. And his angel of death was. She knew the moment he passed before the doctor knew. She could feel it. Sounds crazy right? Is it weird to have a special gift of feeling that? Or is it a curse? All I know is that he is at peace and Hampton and Max was eagerly awaiting his arrival in Heaven to give him a hard time.
My family was exceptionally brave yesterday. They made a big decision. A hard decision. They have huge hearts and Jeffery loved them more than himself. He was my stepdad’s dog and he will be anxiously waiting to see him again someday.
Rest in peace Jefferson. You were literally the best hound dog ever created. It was a blessing to have you in our family.