Wednesday, November 10, 2004

And I thought the cow was cool

Yes. I've been so happy with my cow. HOW EXOTIC, a cow! Do you know what my colleagues had? Do you? I've just found out. An ostrich. Yes. AN OSTRICH! I've always wanted to take a closer look at them. And do you know what my colleagues got just yesterday? Go on, try and guess: green, very big, evolutionarily very old, with scales. Yes, a croc. They got a CROCODILE!!! Do you know what we're probably getting tomorrow? Cats and dogs. AGAIN. Bah.


If you find this little outburst odd, chances are you are NOT a vet student. Because if you were, you’d find what most would describe as “revolting” fascinating as well. And if you don’t, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING!

And if you think I don't care, rethink it fast. I desperately do. But there's heavy learning to be done and desensitising is a very needed and cherished survival tool. Otherwise we'll be no good, and the animals will be no better off, and more of them will end up right there, on the necropsy table, and some of them will end up there too late, after unnecessary suffering. And fun as it may be - and both sadly and luckily, it is fun - it's so much better to send them home to their owners whole or as close to it as possible. Knowledge brings power and I mean to have as much of the former as I possibly can so I'll use the latter better.

Think about this: I will often have to decide to put an animal to sleep - I have already, actually. A speck of sorrow lodges in your soul and settles there, comfortably. And then I will have to do it, myself. I will be requested to kill many, many animals so they don't suffer. I will fight to be allowed to kill many, many other animals so they don't suffer because their owners are too selfish to let them die with dignity and quality of life.

And that's why we can laugh and talk about how hungry we are while opening the omasum (we cook a dish with it and we WERE hungry). Because crying and mourning can always be done at home (a schizoid personality is the trade mark of a well-adjusted veterinarian, I believe). And in my case, it often is. I've thought about that cow a lot. I never take the animals for granted. I am always grateful (even if it's "just cats and dogs"). I always remember they have owners who loved them (the lucky ones, at least) or people who depend upon them for their livelihood. I am fully aware of how easy it is to go from alive to very much not so. You may mock me but I always thank the animal before I start cutting, I say a quick bracha I invented just for this because no Orthodox Jews I talked to could help me.

And just so you see how deeply ingrained it is, how deeply it resonates, I simply wanted to complain about not having got the really cool animals. And here I am writing in all seriousness again. We may be the bringers of life and relief but we are also the angels of death. And I am never allowed to forget it. And nor would I want to.

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At 10/11/04 17:47, Blogger Noorster said...

An ostrich, a croc... is that some lethal outbreak in a zoo, or what?
And saying a bracha over a necropsy table, what a lovely idea. I didn't mean to sound sarcastic. I really think it's a lovely idea that you thank the animals.
I wish you many happy professional years free of having to put animals to sleep.

At 10/11/04 21:58, Blogger annemathilde said...

Re: Hippogriffs. Griths. Whatever. Dude, you made my day today. Thank you so much.



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