A Veterinarian’s Reflection

April 19, 2017
While servicing a veterinary clinic in California I started to cross the parking lot to my car.  I noticed an elderly gentleman getting out of his SUV and raising the rear hatch.  I’d seen this scene a hundred times before at my own office; the rear latch goes up and out jumps a big lab or Golden dancing around their master’s legs.  This time though, the man leaned into the car, his head disappearing.  He remained in this pose and did not move.  As I passed behind him I could see why.  Laying on its side was a rather large dog, not moving.  Then I saw a front paw move and the head lift to look at his master.  The dog did not have long. I have seen this scene all too often as well – owner and pet saying goodbye.  I got into my car and backed up continuing to look into my rearview mirror to see how the man was going to carry the dog into the office.  I waited, looking, and finally parked again.  I got out and walked to the back of the SUV and asked if the man needed any help.  As he turned to tell me “no” I could see the tears  that were running down his cheeks.  This moment showed me the epitome of the human-animal bond.  It was one of the most moving experiences of my veterinary career. Give your pet an extra hug tonight.
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