The first voice

“Could you please come here?’ the voice asked. The voice seemed to come from directly behind me. I turned to see who was talking to me. No one. ” Please!” I heard the urgency in the voice this tine. Perplexed, although busy, I went about my job. At the time I was working as a veterinary technician in a large exotics hospital in Pasadena, California. The duties were plentiful and so were the technicians, so it wasn’t unlikely for another tech to need assistance. I looked around. Everyone seemed to go about their duties with no requests for help. Puzzled although busy with my own job preparing animals for surgery, I continued with my tasks. “Please come here” the voice insisted. This time I actually felt the urgency. I stopped what I was doing. I questioned who was talking to  me. I followed the direction in which the voice was coming from. It led me to an observation cage in the treatment area. Within the small confines of the cage was a terribly ill Chihuahua by the name of JJ. I found her laying on her side shaking all over. “what’s the matter JJ?” I asked while stroking the dogs long salt and pepper coat. “I’m scared” she replied. I looked around searching for answers from anyone. Could they hear what she was saying? JJ shook harder. I covered her with a blanket and rubbed her body and spoke softly to her. “it’s okay JJ, I’m here, it’s Okay.” I felt her body relax, and as I stroked her, she fell into a soft sleep. I didn’t want to leave her side. She had talked to me and I had heard it.

I questioned, why me? Why had I heard what she was saying. I quickly located an pulled my friend Tanya into the bird ward. Seeing the look on my face, I am sure she thought I was about to clue her in on the latest office gossip. I explained that JJ had just spoken to me. Tanya never blinked. She had experienced this with other animals so what I was telling her seemed no more foreign as if I had said I heard a person talking. I asked her why she thought I “heard” JJ. “Easy” she replied ” You are with JJ the most and she feels comfortable with you.” It was true. Tanya and I both worked at an emergency veterinary hospital as well as our regular 50 hour a week job at the large exotics hospital. I had been the one to transport JJ and all her IV’s, blood transfusions, and medicines from one hospital to the other daily. I held her for all her treatments and I had been there from the minute she arrived in the hospital. Most importantly I helped with her transition to the emergency hospital every night for observation. Often JJ’s owner would drive as I held the little dog in my lap. I could have easily handed her to one of the techs, but I always felt a sense of responsibility to her. JJ had been through so much and her elderly parents had done everything in their power to help her.

It made sense, but at the same time, it was so foreign to me. Days would go by and JJ didn’t speak again. Perhaps she just knew I was there for her and she needed no more requests. I longed to hear her. Then just as I convinced myself it was all my imagination, I heard her once again. ” PLEASE!” her urgent cries came from the incubator she now slept in. I rushed to her side. She was dying. She shook so horribly that she started to seize. I yelled for a doctor. We had strict orders not to euthanize her unless the owners were present, but she was increasingly getting worse. I was joined by another tech as we both tried to hold onto her through the seizure. ” Please” JJ cried ” Just let me go!” I felt every ounce of emotion, mine and hers. I cried as if she was my own. The other tech cried too. I called out for the doctor as several techs ran to get him. They couldn’t reach the owners by phone. JJ was releasing urine and feces now as she seized again. ” You can’t let her suffer!” I pleaded. The best thing we could do now is grant her wish.

The motion of the little dog was still now. Somehow I expected JJ to come to me, to thank me, to tell me she was okay, but instead I heard nothing. I was drained. Not only had I communicated with this little dog, but I seemed to have felt everything she was going through.

Although this story happened over 20 years ago, I will never forget that time.  Hearing JJ’s voice impacted my life and now career, even more than I could have possibly imagined.

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