It’s easy to blame the vet tech, Sandy, at Roswell Animal Control for euthanising dogs and cats, and I’ve read unnecessarily cruel comments about her “heartlessness.” But until someone stands in her shoes and has to clean up the mess that irresponsible owners have created, they have no right to judge or comment. There’s a side to Sandy that many people don’t see because they’ve already pre-judged her.
Since I’ve been making regular visits there, I’ve become quite fond of her and her sense of humor that often camouflages the discomfort and pain she feels when an animal has to be destroyed. Any veterinarian will tell you that euthanasia is emotionally draining, especially unnecessary ones. She does her job because she has to, but she makes every effort to get as many animals out of the building so that they don’t have to be destroyed. This past Thursday was a perfect example of her efforts.
I arrived there to pick up a mama cat with newborn kittens and deliver them to Dr. Becky. While I was there, Sandy pointed out some of her “favorite” and/or most at risk dogs, as she always does. We tagged some of them for pulling the following week and then went to the “cat room”.
No one was adopting cats or kittens, and the room was full of adorable kittens. A little orange one reached through the bars to grab my arms. Another little baby sat all by himself in the middle of the cage . . . looking smart and adorable. A full room, whether cat or dog, means that some are going to be destroyed, because the intakes and surrenders never stop.
So she packed up the mama and babies in the kennel I had brought, and then said, “I’m going to give you another kennel and send these mama and kitties, too.” They were nearly ready to be weaned. Then she saw me looking at the orange kitty that was holding my arm and said “If you take him you have to take his friend.” She could read my face that I was not going to say no. Then she reached for the petite, single kitten and pulled him out and said, “And you can go, too. You can just ride with this mama.”
The crates I had were clearly not big enough to transport all of them so Sandy instructed one of the attendants to get a box. She packed the orange and black kitties in a Petco box and taped it up so that they could not escape. The box was barely larger than a “happy meal” box and I could see the orange kitty’s eye through the breathing hole . . . a little wild-eyed and frantic and they were not quiet about their discomfort. When I got to the truck, I commented to Amanda that I better buy another crate because I didn’t think the boxed kitties would make it the 80 miles home and I had visions of kitties bouncing around loose in my truck cab.
Amanda graciously loaned me one of her crates and we “transferred” them from their “happy meal” box which is never an easy task . . . it always amazes me how cats can hang on to nothing but air. We had to turn the box upside down and “shake” them into the crate.
So, it was a little different trip home. I usually have 2-3 canine “freedom riders” . . . this time, crates full of kittens, but we all arrived safely.
We could all make Sandy’s job and life much easier if we would adopt more, find alternatives before surrendering our pets, discourage backyard breeding and spay/neuter our pets. And let’s not jump to conclusions about someone’s alleged “heartlessness.”
Thank you, Sandy, for all your recommendations . . . on that day, many of us got to breathe a sigh of relief.
If you are interested in adopting any of these adorable kittens, please contact Dr. Becky Washburn-Brown at her clinic in Capitan, NM 575-354-2311