The veterinary profession has unique responsibility, pressure and power built into it, that few other professions do. We perform euthanasia. Frequently, as a normal part of our day. The pressure in these situations from the initial discussion about euthanasia, to the pet's ultimate passing and the grief that follows; we endure it from beginning to end. We console, council, comfort and remember that beloved pet with our clients as they proceed through their grief. We then have to keep it together enough to carry on with the rest of our day. Almost immediately afterward we proceed to the next appointment and carry on as usual. This can be very difficult for veterinarians and it happens almost every day in our hospitals.
This got me to thinking one day about whether God is present in the exam room when our pets pass away. As someone that has been in hundreds of these final exam room visits, I can say that I think God is often there. I have had situations that seemed impossible to handle with overwhelming grief and even anger of clients that are saying goodbye to a best friend and sometimes child substitute. Times when I was searching for just the right thing to ask or say to ease someones mind and many times the words come, or the clients feel some calm and relief just being there with the pet. Not that we hear any audible voices or anything supernatural. It is just a feeling of pure love between a pet and its owner that reminds me of God's love, non verbal and non judgmental. I have even had the honor of being asked to pray with clients over their pet at those last moments. Being involved in something so personal always feels a little intrusive, but in a way is glorious, because I know that others do not get to do this in their work lives.
Whether you believe God is in our exam room or you don't, I can say that I feel truly blessed to work doing something that has deep meaning and the power to help people navigate one of life's most difficult moments.