That must be the worst part of your job ……

sad dog image

… is something I hear all the time. People are, of course, talking about euthanasia. They imagine it must be really hard putting pets to sleep. Well, it isn’t. I see it as a kindness, a gift, the final act of love for our pets.

Only very occasionally is euthanasia hard for me and that is usually when I am forced to put an otherwise healthy animal (almost exclusively dogs) down because of behavioural problems.

Very, very rarely is this their fault, the blame lies at the door of those who bred them and denied them the early experiences and socialising they needed to cope with life, or of those who abused them, or never bothered to train them.

However, it is myself and my colleagues who have to push the needle. Take that final, horrible responsibility and it is hideous.

Thankfully though, for me at least, it is not something I do often. Shall I tell you what actually are the worst bits of my job…….?

sad dog image

People complaining about the costs…

Veterinary care can seem expensive. Actually we are great value but I know, and completely accept, that sometimes treatments can be out of an owner’s budget. I am very used to discussing various options for a pet’s condition and tailoring them to make them affordable.

However, what I absolutely hate is when I am blamed for the expense and told I am callously profiting from the animal’s illness. I am not. I charge fairly for the work I do but medicine of any kind is costly. Shifting your lack of ability to pay onto me and trying to make it my problem and responsibility is not fair, and is incredibly stressful, please don’t do it.

Poor pet choices…

I see this ALL the time.

The single rabbit bought as a child’s pet.

I just know that soon the kid will lose interest, the bunny will be too flighty to be the cuddly companion the parents naively were hoping for and it is destined to live a lonely existence locked in a tiny cage at the bottom of the garden.

The young dog bought for an elderly person.

Whether it is a Yorkshire Terrier or a Labrador, they all need lots of exercise and socialising, something which often an infirm older person just can’t provide. Which leads to a frustrated, bored and potentially badly behaved pet, rather than the loyal companion they need. A much better fit is a more senior pet, happy with short walks and lots of sofa cuddles.


Did you know the biggest killer of exotic pets is poor care? They are literally dying, or need to be euthanised, because their owners simply have no idea what they are doing. Thankfully I don’t deal with these animals but I know my colleagues who do find it profoundly frustrating and depressing.

The neutering refuseniks…

Oh my goodness, this is SO frustrating! People who think neutering isn’t ‘natural’, or who don’t think their pet will ever leave their sight, or who think a litter might be a good idea.

It’s fine, they will and it isn’t.

The truth of the matter is neutering, in general, is hugely beneficial for your pet’s health, there are far too many unwanted animals in the world already and it is a damn sight cheaper than the treatments and surgery they could need if they develop complications related to their reproductive organs.

So yeah, there are some fairly crappy bits to my job (not many!) but putting your pet to sleep isn’t one of them.


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