The Veterinarian – Distortions of the Mind and the Suffering We Impose under the Guise of our Utmost Love

The veterinarian slowly walked through the exam room and then stopped to stand in its outer doorway as he peered into the lobby. Dan was gazing out of a northern window and as usual had a blue tooth device plugged into his left ear. “Hey Dan, can you come in here for just a moment so we can talk?”

“Sure Doctor.” And as Dan walked into the exam room, the veterinarian closed the outer and inner doors, gently sitting down on his stool.  Dan remained standing directly across the exam room table.

“I just wanted to talk to you for a minute and I need to make sure you understand where I am coming from.”
“Sure Doctor.”
“As a veterinarian, it is my responsibility to give you information about your pet and to help you make the right decisions in regards to your pet. It is not my place to force my opinion and foregone conclusions upon you unless that is what you want me to do.”
“Sure Doctor.”
“But sometimes balancing all of this can be difficult. Sometimes I fear that I might not be adequately conveying what I consider to be very relevant information because of my concern that I might be over imposing my personal ethics on another. Do you understand what I am saying? I mean do you understand where I am coming from?”
“Sure….of course I do.”
“Well Dan, I have to just get this out and I hope you take it the right way. Tinker is dying and I really, really don’t believe there is anything we can do for her. I could be wrong and I am not trying to prematurely condemn her to some fate, but I am very concerned that she is suffering and that is not a good thing. The lymph nodes around her left jaw are severely swollen and the abdominal fluid has built up to the point that it appears to be pressing on her chest making it difficult for her to breath. We know that she has feline leukemia and the chances are extremely high that she has cancer. Does that make
sense to you?”
“Yeah, it does.”
“Well, I need to ask you another question and I want you to understand that I am not trying to offend you or force my beliefs on you. Do you believe in euthanasia?”
“Yes…we do. We had to euthanize one of our dogs a while ago. We knew that it had to be done because she was whining and almost screaming in pain. It was hard, but we will consider it for Tinker if we know that she is suffering or that she doesn’t have any chance of getting better. Right now, Tinker seems comfortable. We are giving her water through a syringe and she sits comfortably in a sternal position. I am still giving her the subcutaneous fluids like we talked about and the  prednisone, but I think she is getting a cold or something and I am concerned about some nasal congestion that has developed. Do you think we can give her something to help out with that?”
Inside, the veterinarian did not know whether to laugh or cry. He did not know what else to do. He had to let go. “Dan, I know you think that she is congested in her nasal passages, but I really believe that the congestion is in her lungs. I think the cancer or lymphoma has spread throughout her body and now she is building up fluid in her lungs. If you want me to give you something for the congestion, I would have to pick Lasix. It is the best drug that I have to try and pull water off of her lungs and it also might help drain some of the fluid that has built up in her abdomen. I am going to be truthful with you though and tell you that I don’t think it will help. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that anything I give Tinker at this point is going to help.”
“Well, let’s do that. Get me up some of the Lasix and we’ll try that. Should I still continue with the prednisone and the fluids?”
The veterinarian thought he might choke on the words. “I would just keep doing the same thing with the prednisone and the fluids. You need to watch Tinker very closely and if she deteriorates in any manner, I would strongly recommend letting her go if you are open to the idea. We don’t want her to suffer.” And for a minute he wondered why he didn’t just have the balls to tell Dan how stupid he was being and that if he cared for Tinker in the tiniest, most minute way, then he would stop her suffering now…now, as in this moment. The veterinarian has seen Dan follow this same irrational pattern with many of his other animals. Should his slogan be if you truly care about your pet, make sure it suffers and suffers substantially before you let it go, so you don’t have to face your own fear and deal with your own insecurity about loss a moment sooner than is absolutely necessary. It is such a twisted approach to the inevitable death and the current suffering of a pet you supposedly love, to wrap yourself up in such denial and brainwashing that you actually convince yourself that your best intentions are for your pet, when in reality, as defined by your actions, you don’t give a shit about your pet. In reality, you choose the cowardly way out of letting a loved one suffer as much as is possible. I guess suffering is okay until a pet screams so damn loud you can’t find any peace for yourself anymore. I guess when the suffering gets that bad, you might consider euthanasia then.

The hospital was closed the next day, but around midday the veterinarian received a voice mail. Dan called to say that Tinker had passed at home and that he and his wife were of course sad, but at the same time they were very happy that they had kept Tinker comfortable with the medicine and that she had not suffered.

Cribb          2009

1,000 voices

If you heard a thousand voices, all at the same time, would you believe it the herald of angels or the screams of demons? And what would you think of most of those that surround you, who never hear anything? Are they incapable or do they simply choose not to listen? Which is the greater crime against creation? Which is the greater sin against their God?


But when you can’t hear or you choose not to listen, you get to simply write your own scripture, I suppose.


Cribb     2013

The Veterinarian – Love vs Sex 5

 For Layla was the very epitome, the very physical embodiment, of guilty eroticism: the spirit of the peep show, the sly glance up the library stepladder, the thumbed postcards, the denied impulse, the addictively tawdry, the illicitly thrilling. Fortunes had been built upon it in dilution. Concentrated in one form, lines draw by a thousand million fevered imaginations and topped with a face that was all things to most men and a fair proportion of women, the effect was nothing short of devastating. Men came to her, and afterwards they found that they had been lessened. Less dignity. Less self-respect. The complex roadmap of the average intelligence was reduced to a one-way highway with no off-ramps and no U-turns in her presence. Everything became dangerously simple.


Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer

J. Howard 2009

The Veterinarian – A Cat and Falling Dominos

So today, one of the founding members of a rescue group the hospital is closely associated with brings in a stray cat that she found to be examined, sterilized, and essentially made ready to be adopted out. The staff appropriately performs a combo test on the cat even before I arrive at the office. The test is negative and even without me ever having looked at the cat, knowing this result, is a positive beginning to my evaluation and makes everyone feel good for the cat. This includes me. I meander through a few of the normal tasks I perform in the morning for an hour or two before I ask a staff member to get the cat out of the cage and bring him to the exam table so I can look at him.

At my first close and direct glance of the cat, I see the things that most do not. I see all of the dominos lined up in some artistic and detailed rendition of a feline silhouette, and then I see the first domino fall into the next, and the next, picking up speed, until the dominos begin falling so quickly they meld into one clear image. Sometimes, it isn’t so fun to be ten moves ahead of everyone. Sometimes, it isn’t so fun to see into the future.

I wait until I place my hands upon the patient before I speak…something about touch. “How old did she say this cat was or how old does she think he is?” The normal assumption under these circumstances is that the cat is young to middle aged and no one has given me any indication to think otherwise. The staff knows me well enough to know the question is only rhetorical and they also know something has upset me. They wait. “He looks like he is about twenty-nine.” A little playful sigh escapes from my mouth, but I know on the outside, a sad you-can-laugh-or-you-can-cry gentle frown has now captured my expression.

The cat is emaciated. He weighs half of what he should. He is not twenty-nine, as I see it in my satirical world, but probably more like sixteen or eighteen in non-fictional years; still very old and very near the end of his time. Several of his teeth are gone and many of those that remain are falling out. His eyes are sunken in their sockets and the lenses in his eyes have turned opaque. The markings of his grey tabby and white coat, which I am sure were once very cute and maybe even beautiful, are now subjected to abnormal hair that is rough and musty and full of dandruff; a product of  metabolic imbalance. I am surprised when I auscult his heart and find it to sound completely and utterly normal. And it is at about that time, as I am finishing my exam, that he begins to purr.

I look at him and as I look directly into those opaque eyes, I know he suffers from debilitating chronic kidney disease and perhaps diabetes and maybe even cancer as well. Whatever it is or whatever combination of diseases lurks inside of his whiskered body doesn’t really matter. He is in bad shape, near or past the end of his normal life expectancy, and the rescue resources necessary for diagnostics and treatment should be applied towards treating patients who are younger in their years and who have disease states that can be cured or significantly improved. This is just the reality of the situation. It is what it is. I’m not really trying to break the rules, that usually doesn’t work very well. But sometimes it hits me and this crazy, geriatric cat, who is almost nothing more than whiskers and bone, is purring. Purring…..and all he seems to want is some attention, for someone to pet him and give him a little love. So I scratch his back and stroke his fur, feeling every bone in his body, and I give him a gentle head butt and he thanks me with more purring and a profoundly stiff little cat dance.

I know that I will be playing god in the very near future as I inject death into his veins.  It will be tomorrow and I am sure of it. The rules will not be broken…. and down deep, I am aware that it is the right thing to do, that it would be much worse to pass on the responsibility to someone else or play the “God’s will card” allowing the further unnecessary suffering of this innocent and helpless creature until his impending death.

After a short while, he goes back into the cage. I tell the staff to give him plenty of rich canned cat food to hopefully spoil him a bit and help him enjoy his existence more profoundly during his short respite.

Later that night, after the staff has gone, I walk over to his cage and I let him out so I can play with him. Head butt, purr, pet, eat, purr, dance, eat, all mixed with walking slowly in circles with the gait of a drunken, stumbling fool. After play time, I say good night to him, contentedly knowing that he has eaten all of his food. I turn off the lights and tell him “to dream the kitty dream” in baby talk.

The next day, the last three dominos fall.

Three…”Okay, it’s time. Can you please get the cat? Let’s do this.” and a staff member sets him on the table. I pet him and decide to take a picture. He keeps moving and all the pictures are coming out blurry, so finally we pick him up and suspend him gently and he turns and looks straight at the camera and at me. I take the picture.

Two…we restrain him on his side…I say to use soft restraint and I try to clear my mind as I spray alcohol over his vein while I spread the hair. I insert the needle in his vein and play god.

One…there is a very short window of time after I finish the injection before he will pass, and oddly, this window might be longer than normal because of his poor health. I make an active effort to move quickly; I let go of his back leg and I sit him up in a comfortable, sternal position and I pet his head and I say good bye brother. I am holding him when his body goes limp and as that last domino falls, so does a tear.

Maybe I would rewrite the rules if I could. I might even argue that I have rewritten a few of the minor ones, but that is the limit of my capacity. Rules are rules, it is what it is. But I can love, and I can cry, and I can do everything possible to prevent suffering in another creature, even if it means I must do the deed myself in complete and utter awareness. Even if every day, I see thousands and thousands of dominos, that you can’t see, that you don’t want to see. It is all worth it to me; it is how I touch the world. The tears do hurt like hell and they are felt so intensely as they well up and form out of my awareness, but those tears and those dominos are a worthwhile trade for having an innocent creature look you in the eye and purr in expectation of the love you will offer.

Cribb       2012 

The Veterinarian – Love vs Sex 4

                “Remember,” he went on earnestly, “remember the point that Freud was always harping on.”
                “Which point? There were so many.”
                “The point about the sexuality of children. What we’re born with, what we experience all through infancy and childhood, is a sexuality diffused throughout the whole organism. That’s the paradise we inherit. But the paradise gets lost as the child grows up. Maithuna is the the organized attempt to regain that paradise.”…

                …”Make the body capable of doing many things” she recited. “This will help you to perfect the mind and so to come to the intellectual love of God.”
                “Hence all the yogas,” said Ranga. “Including maithuna.”
                “And it’s a real yoga,” the girl insisted. “As good as raja yoga, or karma yoga, orbhakti yoga. In fact, a great deal better, so far as most people are concerned. Maithuna really gets them there.”…

                …”What I’m wondering,” said Will, is why we aren’t all enlightened—I mean, if it’s just a question of making love with a rather special kind of technique. What’s the answer to that?”…

                …”Attention, ” it was saying. “Attention, Attention…”
     “That bloody bird again!”
                “But that’s the secret.”…

                …”And that’s the whole point of maithuna. It’s not the special technique that turns love-making into yoga; it’s the kind of awareness that the technique makes possible. Awareness of one’s sensations and awareness of the not-sensation in every sensation.”
                “What’s a not-sensation?”
                “It’s the raw material for sensation that my not-self provides me with.”
                “And you can pay attention to your not-self?”
                “Of course.”                                                                                                                                                                                       “To myself,” she answered, “and at the same time to my not-self. And to Ranga’s not-self, and to Ranga’s self, and to Ranga’s body, and to my body and everything it’s feeling. And to all the love and friendship. And to the mystery of the other person—the perfect stranger, who’s the other half of your own self, and the same as your not-self. And all the while one’s paying attention to all the things that, if one were sentimental, or worse, if one were spiritual like the poor old Rani, one would find so unromantic and gross and sordid even. But they aren’t sordid, because one’s also paying attention to the fact that, when one’s fully aware of them, those things are just as beautiful as all the rest, just as wonderful.

                “Maithuna is dhyana,” Ranga concluded. A new word, he evidently felt, would explain everything. 

                “But what is dhyana?” Will asked.   

                “Dhyana is contemplation.”                                                                 




Huxley 1962

The Veterinarian – Love versus Sex 3

Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual Puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war fever and leader worship. The way she put it was:

“When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?”

That was very true, he thought. There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.

Orwell 1949

Cribb Comment:

The “Party” obviously is representational not only of government in this instance, but also different religious sects/churches, and any other entity, including parents, trying to exert control over an individual. Interestingly enough, debasement of making love or having sex and turning it into “just a dirty sex act” has the same effect of destroying a spiritual union of epic proportions that unites people and amplifies our humanity, thus weakening the will of the individual spiritually and priming them for manipulation by other forces.

So, where there is only “dirty sex” or abstinence, you can still be easily controlled by your “friends” or the collective.

Oh but what happens, if you make love and develop a spiritual union with an individual, that takes precedence over your “friends” or the collective. That is the question and the answer.

Cribb     2012

The Veterinarian – Beauty

Do not ever kid yourself.
Beauty will consume your essence and destroy it before you ever have the slightest clue about its intent.

The babe will suckle at the soft warm breast of the mother as the pith is driven deep into the base of his brain.

He will die with the thoughts of satisfied hunger and maybe, at that last infinitesimal moment of consciousness, a moment not long enough to contemplate in entirety or reflection, he will wonder what he did wrong.

What he did that forced her hand to tighten its grip on that spit.


Cribb – in younger years