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In a recent episode of “The Supervet” a cat was brought in having been badly run over by a car. After X-rays and consultations, the outlook was bleak for his recovery. The vet, Padraig, one of Noel Fitzpatrick’s colleagues, bravely sat down with Gandalf’s family to explain the prognosis. All the family were there, Mum, Dad, a little boy and a little girl, Eleanor. She was probably no more than 8 years old. As she sat listening to Padraig, with tears streaming down her face, she never took her eyes off him. As he gently explained how much pain their little cat was suffering and how difficult it would be to make him better, this little darling girl said, ” We can’t do that. We have to do what’s right for him.”

You could see that Padraig was astonished and relieved by her reaction and he actually said that many adults wouldn’t have been able to respond as she had.
After everyone had said their goodbyes and their little friend had passed peacefully away, Eleanor looked at Padraig and asked him if it was hard being a vet. ” Yes it is sometimes, ” he agreed. At that she stood up, walked round the table and gave this big bear of a man a huge hug.

I remember when I was her age, I announced that I didn’t want to be a vet because all they did was put animals to sleep and I couldn’t do that every day. At her age, I lacked her understanding and wisdom. I think that Eleanor would be an amazing vet if she chooses that route. Her grief was real but her empathy and the love she had for her best friend, Gandalf, was unconditional, far outweighing her own needs. What a treasure she is and what an example to all of us as we live with and love our own animal families.