09 July 2012

The grossness of work

Warning: some rather gross details to follow.

My job is pretty messy. I mean, I work with animals. I am constantly assaulted by all sorts of smells coming from all orifices of a variety of animals. I can deal with it though. I guess I've got a talent for breathing through my mouth. I wear boots and gloves to protect me from the worst of it. I've got all sorts of tools to use while cleaning kennels.

However, during my euthanasia shifts, things are often a different story. Firstly, death is not clean even though we aim to make it as painless as possible. Animals (and humans I'm sure) usually urinate and/or defecate when the systems shut down. But as I said, I can deal with that. The thing is, old animals tend to smell. Often it's because they've defecated, urinated or vomited on themselves. But also their fur tends to smell because they are generally unable to groom themselves well. And then there are the ones with cancerous lumps. Occasionally, those tumors ooze. That combination of smells just doesn't wash off easily. I've had it haunt me all day and deter me from dinner because of its tenacity. It was from an old dog who had many tumors, most of which had ruptured. She was actually dripping bloody pus (not the other way around, I'll touch on pus in another post.) But besides the disinclination to eat, none of these things make me physically ill. Not even the simple fact that I hold animals as they are injected with a fatal mixture.

There have been two really horrible incidents though. And I'm not sure if I should share them. Or even if I'm allowed. Just writing this much has eased some of my pent up tension.

1 comment:

Abby said...

You see the side of "pets" that many are unaware of. Of course we all like to think that being "put to sleep" is a very peaceful passing for all, but there are realities. I've sometimes wondered what it's like to work behind the scenes at a zoo.

I hope you keep up with regular writing. Blog looks a bit different too, I like it.