Years ago, during a staff meeting, my practice manager said, "Jen, I can never tell if you're having a bad day because no
matter what's going on up front, you're always cool as a cucumber." In my years as a receptionist, I've always tried to present
myself professionally and keep my emotions in check. But since I said goodbye to my sidekick Cleo, I find it difficult to
suppress my sadness.
Keep calm and carry on
It's not easy to ask a client to sign a euthanasia consent form or explain the process. Before I lost Cleo, I was polite and
compassionate but able to speak with a certain detachment. I felt for them, but I didn't really know how they felt. The other
day, after rooming a euthanasia appointment, for only the second time in my career, I wondered if I would be able to continue
to do my job.
The first time I had doubts, I was only a few months into my receptionist gig. A young couple brought their puppy in, and
radiographs revealed that both of the pup's front legs were broken. They couldn't afford treatment and thought euthanasia
was their only option.
I went into the kennel and stared at the little brown puppy in the cage—and cried my eyes out. The doctor found me and asked
what was wrong. "I don't know if I can do this," I said. She replied, "Give yourself a few months. If you still feel the same
way, you can leave. I'll understand."
When caring hurts
The loss of my furry friend and the emptiness I feel isn't something I can fix by myself. So I've been reading about the grief
process and have reached out to friends. Knowing I'm surrounded by people who understand helps. And I'm going to give myself
some time and see how it goes.