"But All You Do Is"

But all you do is play with puppies and kittens.. then why am I here breathing for your pet as they try so desperately to leave this earth. If all we do is play then why is it so common to need a break during a shift to recollect ourselves. You see your pets at their best, tis us who see them at their worst. If our jobs were easy then why is there an increasing rate of burnt out workers, how do I ask this animal what is wrong when we don’t speak the same language?

Somewhere along the lines in life humans found themselves at the top of the world, where everything else falls below us in importance, we as workers stand for the animals, they have voices too and words are merely words, they are not the language we listen to. If all we do is pet your puppies then why am I sitting on the floor beside your pet as it calls out for you? As you leave them behind and walk out the doors but they’re left here. They’re scared, I’m the one to hold your animal and tell them “it’s okay” when we are strangers and are poking them to get our results. They don’t know that this sharp thing going in their cephalic vein is actually going to help them, but how can I tell them that?

If the job was so easy, then why does it feel like drawing the short straw when dealing with euthanasias, who even decided that we can humanely put to sleep animals instead of humans? Is this our way of saying humans have more of a right to live, don’t get me wrong but some definitely need this pain to end and this may be their only way. If I should be grateful, then why do I hold back tears every time we place a heart on the bandage for the reason “they can not justify paying”. Money is tough, especially in this day and age, but would you treat your son or daughter this way? I’m the one to hold your pet while they feel the drugs enter their arms, their eyes are beginning to gloss over, where are you? You had the luxury of finding it too difficult to watch them go through this but I’m going to be the last face they see. I’m so glad you want something from your animal to keep them close to your heart, but what you don’t know is each time I get to place a paw print on the rainbow bridge a piece of me gets left with it. “But all you do is” then why am I a mortician, helping your fur child look their best before I place them in this zippered bag before being transported. You don’t see that with each lettered stroke of their name is a tear I have left behind because the world can be so unfair in how they live so short but have the most innocent hearts.

“But all you do is..”, I am the voice for your animal while they are within these four walls. I am the voice that you hear that says “I’m so proud of you” when your little one takes their first bite of food in 3 days because they are finally beginning to trust me. I’m the one with cuts and bruises while holding your animal that just go attacked, I’m the one sitting in a dark empty room calming them down when the treatment is scaring them.

This job is coming into work and seeing the same patient’s faces though you haven’t been in for 3 days. The job is an animal being there so long and still never leaves the clinic. ACA’s are the ones whom interact with the animals the most, we care for them and grow bonds with each one. “But all you do is..” then why am I in the bathroom on the floor crying, why do I wake up in panic about possibly forgetting to write something down. A simple mistake can cost an animal their lives, it’s something you take home with you.

If all I do is that then why is the suicide rate in this industry so high? Should my serotonin not be expressed, yet here I am popping pills to relieve what was once a stable body but now is suffering from a disease. You tell me to “screw you” when all I wanna do is help you with what you are going through. If all I do is.. then why am I here in an empty room with tears in my eyes because that patient didn’t get better and I watched it decline before you answered the phone to hear our voices.

All I do is hold puppies then why am I sitting here while you cry. I see anything but a dry eye.

If what I do is easy, here’s my stethoscope, go on give it a try.

-l.m. fawcett

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