Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Heartless Robots R Us"

Last week I promised to write about my experiences at the local vetrinary hospital, so let me do that now. About 2 years ago, my school sent the students in my year on "Take Your Kid To Work Day", where we got to job-shadow our parents for the day. I was already very aware of my parents' jobs (I frequently visited my mom's workplace, and my dad works out of the home), so I job-shadowed someone at the animal hospital instead. Mistake?
When I got there, I was immediately thrown into the hectic and uncaring atmosphere of the back rooms at the animal hospital (the rooms that the clients don't get to see). One vetrinarian (or vetrinary assistant/technician-- you can't really tell) was talking about "knocking out" a dog, which I learned meant putting him under anasthesia. The vetrinarians were like the worst heartless robots I have ever met-- not like I have had the pleasure of meeting any real heartless robots, but still. They were so overworked and pressed for time that they could not allow themselves to look on each animal with kind eyes and a gentle touch. Instead, they would pick up the animal as though "it" was a fax machine or a squirming water balloon.
It all resembled so much of a factory-- the focus was on quantity, not quality. I started to feel ill, as I often do when I see animals suffering needlessly from violations of dignity and respect. As two women pinned down a dog and started shaving his neck I felt queasy. When a large black dog who I had started to grow to appreciate was dragged away to be euthenized, I felt as though part of me was being dragged to die along with him. And, as I observed the vetrinarian I was shadowing carve away part of the skin inside a little white dog's mouth for a "tissue sample", I collapsed-- yes, collapsed!-- on the ground. (At which point the vets made me get up and sit in the hall, threw a bag of chips at me, and got back to work.)
Before you say that I'm just overly sensitive, let me continue to explain. True, the vetrinarians did, at times, physically fix (I am hesitant to say "heal") their charges, but they also caused them unnecessary suffering. Can you imagine how it must feel to be roughly picked up by a severe-looking stranger and put in pain by them? If you went to the hospital with a strange growth on your gums and the doctor came and shaved it off (collecting a "tissue sample", of course) and sent you home with a bloody mouth and in no better condition, would you ever go back?
It is importatnt to keep our companion animals from getting ill, of course-- but be wary of vetrinarians taking your furry friend out of your sight. They may just transform into the worst  heartless robots you have ever met!

  • Independent vetrinarians (no back rooms!)
  • Alternative Vetrinary Hospital in the UK:
  • Keep your animals healthy so they won't have to go to the vet as much.

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