You may recall that I used to be a vet tech in a past life. With that job came some pretty crazy stories, most of which never wanted to be heard over dinner. I guess people I know are squeamish. Whatever. Well, as you know, I share personal humiliation and tragedy for your enjoyment (I'm a giver) and I have quite the little nugget for you.
At the vet's office where I worked we saw all kinds of animals, not just dogs and cats. It wasn't uncommon to see birds, snakes, guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs and rabbits in addition to your standard fare. With each different species came specialized problems. Bunnies can break their own backs by kicking out too hard so we always had to support their spine and back legs in case they flipped out. Guinea pigs can't be housed with rabbits or they could die because of a disease passed back and forth. And birds stress easily and can just stop breathing. FOREVER.
Ah, birds. Birds scared the crap out of me for that very reason. They also don't have diaphragms so when holding them you have to be careful not to restrict their chest. Again with the breathing thing. A LOT OF PRESSURE.
Well this one particular day a mama bird came in egg-bound. She was already stressed and we needed to get the egg out. I assisted the doctor and we did what we could but after the egg was removed she was still stressed and in pretty bad shape. We couldn't handle her and agitate her even more, so we covered her and put her in a quiet room to let her do her thing and hopefully make it through. The egg was left in the cage.
I checked on her a while later and she had died. We figured she would and we felt horrible. The doctor went out and told the owners who had been standing vigil in the waiting room. They were crushed. Apparently this was the first bird they got together when they first got married and she was their life. They were crying, but after a bit they calmed down and told the doctor that they could make it through because the egg survived. A piece of their beloved bird would live on and that is what they would go home and focus on.
The doctor came back and told me the story and I was moved. That poor couple. With that in mind, we went about the task of packing up the egg. It needed to be secured and in a small container. The doctor quickly decided on a pill bottle filled with cotton. Perfect! Being the lovey assistant I was, I went and got the bottle and cotton while she got the egg. I stuffed the bottle lovingly and made sure I had enough in there but not too much so the egg wouldn't fit properly. It was just right. I told her I was ready and she turned around to put the egg in and. . .she dropped it on the linoleum floor.
We both froze. Our eyes got as big as saucers. She threw her hands up and covered her mouth in shock, and I looked down at the floor then back up at her. Then down at the floor and back up at her. Her eyes filled with tears and she stood there unable to move. I had no idea what to do or what to say, but the silence was deafening. Not even a single dog was barking in the kennel. So, being the wise-ass that I am, I blurted out, "So. Are you going to charge them for a euthanasia or give it to them on the house?"
She just stared back at me but then I saw the corners of her eyes start to crinkle. Then she started chuckling. And before long we were both laughing and crying at the same time because OMG did that just really HAPPEN? When she was finally able to speak she said, "Yeah, I guess it's not a good practice to kill future patients huh?"
Yeah, probably not.