Most of us knew that we wanted to be a vet when we were children. I did not. I dreamt of being 1. a shepherd in New Zealand 2. a stripper, and then 3. a radiologist. I have since realized that I became a veterinarian as reparations for my family’s sins against animals.
My parents were not responsible with any pet they had and they collected several dogs, snakes and even a raccoon. None of the animals were properly vaccinated, neutered or on any heartworm prevention (obviously snakes need none of this). Their pets ran loose and were frequently killed by cars. I was repeatedly traumatized by my pets’ horrible deaths.
The real trauma was due to my baby sister. She was not a psychopath-in-training but she had a very “experimental” mind. This did not end well for our pets. At six, she made parachutes out of napkins, attached them to her hamsters and threw them from the second story to their deaths. None of their napkins opened. I couldn’t sleep for many nights.
In earlier years, she had tried to lower a dog from the second story by his leash. Leashes didn’t reach from the second story in the ’70s. The poor dog did not survive.
She once caught about four anoles. She has always been fascinated by lizards. I have a weakness for them, myself. She cut all of the blonde synthetic hair from her Barbie dolls, glued the hair to the heads of the anoles and made clothes for them. I later found them dead in a change purse with pieces of hotdog interspersed amongst them; they were all blonde and wearing the latest in lizard fashion.
I am still haunted by the unnecessary suffering that all of these animals endured because of my family. I think about them frequently and hope that they would forgive our ignorance had they survived.
I have to say that my sister developed into one of nicest people that ever lived. She owns a dog and she is a very responsible owner. She even brushes her dog’s teeth daily. I hope that I have been able to educate my family on how to make a pet’s life better.