Bob

Bob had not gotten up for two days. He was a handsome, large tabby cat that arrived at the hospital for blood works and x-rays. Bob did not get up or eat for two days. He was very sick, pale and lethargic.

The test results revealed the worst. He had cancer and it had spread all over his body. His prognosis was grave. I called his human companion and went over the test results. He decided to visit Bob one more time to say goodbye. He cuddled Bob in his arms, hugged him and handed him to me. He said he was not comfortable being present during the euthanasia and asked me to help Bob pass.

I walked the client to the front door and exchanged a few words of condolences. This man was a bachelor and Bob his only companion. They counted on each other every day and now the house would be filled with silence. Bob would never go back home.

I walked slowly back to the room where Bob lay explaining to him that I was going to euthanize him to help ease his suffering. I will never forget what I heard next. Bob shouted, “No, no! I want to die at home!” I want to die on my couch where I belong!” The words were so loud I thought they came from another room in the hospital. I looked into the waiting room, all was quiet. I shut the door and went back to Bob. He said again, “I don’t want to die here! I want to die on my couch!”

Tears trickled down my face. I did not know what to do. Had I gone mad, lost my mind? Was I really hearing what I thought I heard? I was trained old school and this was not part of my training. I always talked to animals, so why not think they could talk back to me? I dashed out of the exam room and ran to the front door. The car was gone.

I felt Bob’s heart break; his sadness was almost unbearable. I sat next to him and cried. I was taught that you respect your client’s wishes. The human was the client and the patient was their property to choose as they wish. I had never had an animal request a different choice. “What do I do”? I truly did not believe I had the right to call Bob’s Companion back and tell him his cat was talking to me and asking me to send him home to die on his couch.