Fear and pain are real, but are not a reason to quit - Albuquerque Journal

Fear and pain are real, but are not a reason to quit

Editor’s note: This is the third in a four-part series. 

Without warning, our homeless cat went crashing, mouth wide open, into the cage door. She clamped her freshly operated jaws around the bars and howled. It was horrible. In the blink of an eye, she had not only completely undone the surgery; she had created yet one more jaw fracture.

Veterinary hospitals are staffed by good people with generous hearts. But tragedy can be frightening. I untangled our in-pain, agitated and delirious patient from the cage door. Doing my best to comfort her, I looked up at what seemed like a hundred glares. Our attempts at helping this badly injured homeless cat had gone badly. I championed her cause and I was being held responsible for the failure. Later that afternoon, aided by more pain medicine and sedation, our kitty slept, but she looked worse than ever.

Among the young and passionate members of our nursing staff was Bruce. A natural leader, this tall, handsome fellow had just finished his undergraduate degree and had recently been accepted to veterinary school. As I was charting “No Name’s” most recent calamity, I looked up to see Bruce, Martha and a cadre of six other staff members standing in front of me, confrontation style. Dr. Gilman, who had also worked hard for this cat, was in the background. Clearly, they’d been struggling. They hadn’t signed on for this kind of duty. And, in no uncertain terms, they demanded euthanasia. Nobody was having a good time.

Despite our cat’s compounded problems, I still knew we had a winner. The unknown was the staff. Half of our group was united by the strength of their own convictions. They were threatening to walk out rather than stand by as I made the case, again, for turning this disaster into a success.

I told my people that our work was not finished. Fear and pain were clear realities, but those were not good enough excuses to quit. I’d been patching broken pets together for as long as some of my staff had been alive. I told them that I needed them to have faith.

Next week: In the end, Faith wins.

PET BEHAVIOR ADVICE: For help with behavior problems, sign up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Fear and pain are real, but are not a ...
Fetch!
Sometimes, we just have to have ... Sometimes, we just have to have faith that things will work out
2
'No Name,' later dubbed 'Faith' had close call on ...
Fetch!
Editor's note: This is the second ... Editor's note: This is the second in a four-part series The injured homeless cat, we later named Faith, had already became special to us. ...
3
Badly injured homeless kitty got care, brought faith
Fetch!
Faith was important not just because ... Faith was important not just because we loved her but because she taught important lessons. She has ...
4
'Back to normal' boosts pandemic pup costs
Fetch!
Some 23 million US households have ... Some 23 million US households have acquired a pet
5
Dazzling dog destination
Fetch!
New pet resort will treat your ... New pet resort will treat your pup like royalty
6
Study: Pets can catch COVID from their people
Fetch!
We can help protect them by ... We can help protect them by getting vaccinated ourselves
7
Free music returns to the Plaza, other venues
Entertainment
AMP Concerts' series opens this week ... AMP Concerts' series opens this week in Santa Fe
8
Keeping our fur kids calm on the Fourth
Fetch!
Prescription Sileo gel works well, with ... Prescription Sileo gel works well, with no sedation or side-effects
9
Healing trauma and feline politics
Fetch!
A reliable plan helped heal the ... A reliable plan helped heal the rift between a resident cat and a pair of kittens recovering from injuries