I recently had to make a very hard choice. I could stand my ground about something I feel passionately about or I could throw my ethics aside and keep my job.
Today I am living with my choice and it means that I am seeking new employment.
I have to live with my choice and at the end of the day, I know I made the right choice for me. Although it means that financially I am quickly going down the drain, I really feel like I had no other choice to make.
So what was the cause of my dilemma? My employer, knowing full well that I was against de-clawing cats, insisted that I put my feelings aside and suck it up and participate in assisting the doctor to perform this cruel procedure.
Probably the only people who will understand how I feel are those who are either employed in the veterinary field or are pet owners who have researched the procedure. Once upon a time I was naive and uninformed about what de-clawing a cat means and then I learned differently.
This procedure is outlawed in Europe and even in the U.S., many veterinarians do not perform the procedure. Unfortunately the vet I worked for didn't have a problem with it.
I was told when I was hired that I would never be expected to do anything that made me uncomfortable. This was one of the many lies I was told. I made it very clear that I felt de-clawing a cat was cruel and I wouldn't schedule the procedure at my previous job and I certainly would never assist the doctor in actually doing it.
I was shocked when I saw that the procedure was booked because I was told that it was rare that we did them. Much to my horror I realized that they were expecting me to be the one to actually help perform the surgery.
I was so excited to get the chance to learn how to be a vet tech. I knew a lot of what was expected of me, but many times there were surprises that made me uncomfortable. This, however, was a big one.
I asked the tech who was off that day to work for me but she declined telling me she had only done it twice and it made her ill. I knew that the office manager would not be sympathetic to my feelings even though she knew how I felt. Talking to the doctor was not an option either being that she still had bad feelings towards me because I had stepped in and "saved" a cat that she had suggested should be "put down" for behavioral issues. (by the way, several weeks later the former owners of the cat discovered that it wasn't this cat that had behavioral issues it was a different pet in their home- the cat would have been killed for no reason!)
(below is Madison, a beautiful 8 year old Himalayan that now has a second chance at life!)
I was in a no-win situation and I felt trapped. Living with the stress of this made me ill. Physically my entire body hurt and to top it off I aggravated my chronic back problem while on the job and had to seek treatment.
Now many people might say that as a tech it was my job to assist in surgeries whether or not I believed them to be ethical. The problem is that the average person who schedules a de-claw is completely unaware of the risks of the procedure. They also have no clue what de-clawing is. It is more than removing the claw and in my opinion it is mutilation. I'm pretty sure that the client who brought their cat in was not told any of the risks or what the procedure actually entails. I was told by my office manager that she wished she could inform the client and hopefully they would change their minds about it. Not giving the client all the details is disturbing but it happens all the time.
Many vets are in "it" for the money and the welfare of the pet is not on top of their list. That is the cold hard truth whether or not anyone wants to admit it.
Knowing that I was working for a woman who suggested putting a cat down instead of finding a new home where it's needs would be better served how could I possibly think she would understand how I felt about this procedure?
Yea, I was in a no-win situation.
So now I frantically search the want ads, hoping to secure something quickly as I was the bread-winner in my household since my husband has been unemployed for the last few months. Leaving a job without having another freaks me out but really, what choice did I have?
What would you have done faced with the same situation? Would you have been able to put your feelings aside in order to keep your paycheck or would you have stood up for what you believe in?