One of the most important things we look for when hiring a new team member at Hannah is a true, sincere dedication to the well-being of animals. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Why work at a Pet hospital if you don’t care about Pets? It’s what we have in common; what connects us.
Kaetlin, one of our service coordinators in Portland, has that dedication … and it doesn’t end with the Pets we can still hold and see.
A few months ago, a Pet on the Hannah plan passed away and was cremated. As per usual, the ornate wooden box containing the Pet’s ashes arrived at the hospital for pick-up. Unusually, however, the former Pet Parent was unable, or possibly unwilling, to bring the box home. No judgment here, by the way; grief can take any number of forms, and Pet Parents make the final decisions as for what’s best for both their families and their mental health.
After a few weeks of seeing the same small box in storage, though, Kaetlin had an idea.
“They said they did not want [the ashes] and that we should just throw them away. I couldn’t live with that … I figured, why not just take him with me and spread his ashes there [on the beach]?”
With a trip to the Oregon coast already planned for her weekend, Kaetlin decided to make the journey special not only for her, but for a Pet she never got to meet. No one asked her to do this. In fact, her co-workers, myself included, didn’t hear about the trip or the gesture until it was long over.
Kaetlin’s family has a house near the water in northwest Oregon, and a general route that they walk along with their dogs during visits. That route leads down through the brush, and to the beach.
She drifts off at the end of the story, remembering. We smile and laugh with wet eyes, knowing how many Pets we will meet at Hannah, and how many we’ll naturally lose, and how many have already, unexpectedly, enriched our lives. As it turns out, our co-workers have a way of enriching our lives, too.
She concludes, “Although I didn’t get to know him, I wanted him to know, in the end, he mattered to me.”