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14 September 2018, 14:05 | Updated: 14 September 2018, 14:15
A vet's post telling pet owners to stay with their animals until the very end has gone viral.
Pets often become a valued member of our families, equal to, and sometimes put ahead of, our nearest and dearest.
So, of course, when we have to say goodbye to them it's always a very difficult process.
If they're being put down at the vets, many people leave the room unable to deal with witnessing their beloved pet dying in front of them.
But a veterinarian in South Africa has issued a stark warning telling pet owners that they should stay in the room while the pet is given a lethal injection.
A post shared by the Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital tells owners they must not leave the room when their animal has reached its final destination.
The highly emotive post was shared by Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital
“When you are a pet owner it is inevitable, the majority of the time, that your pet will die before you do,”
“So if and when you have to take your pet to the vet’s office for a humane pain-free ending I want you all to know something. You have been the centre of their world for THEIR ENTIRE LIVES!!!! “It is devastating for us as humans to lose them. But please I beg you DO NOT LEAVE THEM."
"Do not make them transition from life to death in a room of strangers in a place they don't like. The thing you people need to know that most of you don't is that THEY SEARCH FOR YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE THEM BEHIND!!!!"
The vet continued: “They search every face in the room for their loved person. They don’t understand why you left them when they are sick, scared, old, or dying from cancer and they need your comfort.
"Don't be a coward because you think it is just too hard for YOU, imagine what they feel as you leave them in their most vulnerable time and people like me are left to try our best every time to comfort them, make them less scared and try to explain why you just couldn't stay."
The post, from the vet who calls themselves a “tired broken-hearted vet” has since gone viral and been shared more than 91,000 times.
Tapping into a very emotive subject, the post highlights just how difficult it is to say goodbye to a pet and the effect that fear and anxiety can have on the pet, the owner and the veterinarian.
But animal charity Blue Cross says you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if you feel you’re unable to stay in the room while a pet is put down, as it's such a difficult thing to go through and vets are trained to make it easier for all involved, including the pet.
The anonymous vet said pets look for their owners when they leave the room
The charity said: "It may be a comfort to you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process, but try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch - if you are very upset then this may upset your dog.
“Vets and nurses choose their profession because they want to help animals. You can rely on them to treat your dog sympathetically even in your absence."
Earlier this year, Jessi Dietrich, a woman from Tennessee, posted a tweet about a chat she’d had with her vet where she asked what he found most difficult about his job.
She wrote: "Asked my vet what the hardest part was about his job and he said when he has to put an animal down.
"90 per cent of owners don’t actually want to be in the room when he injects them so the animal’s last moments are usually them frantically looking around for their owners and tbh that broke me."