Who am I??

Anyone who knows me knows I cannot bear animal harm in any way, shape or form. If an animal is harmed in a tv show, movie, or book, even though it’s fiction and NOT REAL, I have to immediately turn off the show, leave the theatre, or throw down the book. On Echo, posts that contain descriptions of animal harm are prefaced with NSFS: Not Safe For Stacy.

Which makes what I did yesterday all the more astounding. I’m working at the ASPCA’s Animal Hospital now, and we treat animals who have been harmed (animal cruelty cases being investigated by the NYPD come to us for care) or have had accidents, or are sick and need procedures. I see animals in distress all the time, which has been hard, but I can deal with it because I feel like I’m helping, and every day I’m learning more about how to be a even bigger help to the animals.

But surgery is something I really feared given my temperament. I’m currently being trained to be something like a vet assistant, and I’ll be expected to help to help with surgeries, among other things. I figured the sooner I confront this part of the job to see if I can deal with it the better, so yesterday I asked if I could “shadow” a splenectomy that was about to be performed on a sweet pit bull who’d been in a car accident. “Sure,” they said.

I was fine!! I was so worried that I would cry, or faint, or have an anxiety attack, or throw up, and I never came anywhere near doing any of that. I was uncomfortable for sure, but nothing unmanageable. Even better, the dog’s spleen was fine, and they couldn’t find anything wrong with him internally, so they closed him back up, and he was okay when I left last night. (Please still be okay when I get back.)

Personally, I’m shocked at myself. I never would have predicted this.

The boys. My little shadows. They are still on the small side. I wonder if they will always be small due to being taken away from their mother at birth? (Quick backstory: These are former neonatal kittens that I helped raise and adopted from the ASPCA’s Kitten Nursery.)

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “Who am I??

  1. Rosie, my former feral FIV+ cat, is on the small side compared to my other three. She’s also quite food aggressive and growls if any of them come near her when she’s eating; which is why she’s fed far away from them.

    My guess is she’s smaller due to not getting enough food the first months of her life (she was trapped when she was around four months) which would also explain the agreesion. But you fed your guys so my thought is probably mom and dad were on the small side. I had a cat years ago that never got any bigger than a six month old kitten. No health issues; just a tiny cat.

  2. Those “sweet pit bull”s kill about two dozen children a year in America but I guess you’re all right with that.

  3. It’s so discouraging to see how commonplace it has become to talk to people like this. I’m very sorry if you have lost someone due to a pit bull attack, or if you yourself have had a bad experience with a pit bull.

    Karen, we did feed them, but nothing is better than mother’s milk for the first few weeks, so that was what I was thinking. But I’m just guessing. I’ll ask a doctor!

  4. I’m so happy to see a picture of your darling kittens. In a year they will probably be average size. I doubt they are stunted in any way.

    I’m glad your experience in the operating room went well. I have just enough curiousty in me to want to see everything going on. Yet when the outcomes are bad, I’m not sure I could keep from bawling. 🙁

    Thanks Stacy for your courtesy to all on this blog. It warms my heart.

  5. I just learned that the pit bill didn’t make it. He died the next day. This is going to be a hard job. I was able to learn to live with kittens dying at times so I’m sure I will learn to deal with this.

  6. Dogs are so devoted to their people, so it’s really sad to lose them. I’m sure you are right; as you become more experienced, the job will get more sustainable and rewarding too. The good outcomes will outweigh the sad ones.

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