The difference a compassionate vet can make
The unexpected death of a beloved pet prompted Nicole Hernandez, Elanco EMEA HR lead to reflect on the importance of compassion at a veterinary practice.

It started like any other Sunday. I went for a run with our miniature pinscher Dexter (“Dex”), my usual exercise partner.

Dex was as full of energy as ever, and it was a beautiful day. But as we turned a corner close to our home, two dogs – without leash or owner – came bounding towards us. Without warning, one of them grabbed Dex, shaking him heavily before dropping him to reveal a missing patch of fur on his back.

When the dog caught Dex a second time, I managed to free him before throwing him over a neighbouring fence – it was all I could do to protect him. I was left alone facing this vicious dog, but it had no interest in me.

What followed were three very long nights spent with Dex in our room, hearing him suffer because of the infection from the wound on his back.

Dex had to go to an on-call vet. She was fantastic, from the moment we’d rushed Dex to the practice and it was probably clear he wasn’t going to make it. She spent hours of her Sunday treating him, which gave us four more days with Dexter and time for our children to say goodbye to their buddy.

At no point did our vet challenge our request for treatment, and she gave us regular updates in a professional, yet empathetic manner.

After four days, she told us that Dex’s condition was beyond her capabilities and we reluctantly had to make the decision to end his suffering.

She didn’t make any judgment and acknowledged that we had gone as far as we could.

She also set the right scene for us to spend the last few minutes of Dex’s life with him; we were given a cosier room with a couch and a candle and the blinds drawn.

We were told we could stay in the room with Dex for as long as we wanted, and the whole team at the clinic did an exemplary job in showing us care and empathy.

I wouldn’t want anyone to experience the circumstances that led to Dex needing treatment. But I would absolutely wish for every pet owner to be treated as we were at this practice.

This experience taught me just what a difference the right vet can make, and how the smallest details can make such a huge difference.

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