As I packed the puppy up into the car with soothing words, the family pleaded with me, attempting to withdraw their consent, asking to keep her in their arms until she died. I asked them if they'd want to die that way, puking and bleeding out from the inside. They decided to let her go but didn't fail to mention that she was their fourth parvo puppy that year and, while wiping away tears, asked me to ensure that the next available puppy at PETA was sent their way. With wide eyes, I said nothing more.
I met my buddy, a trained euthanasia specialist, at the PETA building in Norfolk, and there we softly pet this little puppy, barely six months of age, who could have had so much life left in her had she simply been vaccinated against this dreadful disease. We cooed at her, soothed her, until she took her final peaceful breath. I cried through the night, and my dreams were haunted.
That little puppy received one of the thousand or so dog euthanasia services PETA provided that year. I continued to volunteer on the pager for a couple of years, often seeing feral cats with gruesome injuries - a broken bone, a severed ear, a septic paw swollen to four times its normal size. There is no one responsible for those cats, who would have languished on the streets without PETA.